By Pastor Enoch Ofori Jnr
The Gospel is a message of grace (Acts 20:32); the calling is a calling of grace (1 Tim. 1:9); and the Kingdom is a kingdom of grace (Heb. 12:28).
The Lord Jesus Christ represents God’s grace—which is His unmerited favour and help—freely bestowed on us(John 1:16). And it’s all because we are inherently weak, imperfect and helpless!
In the synagogue on that notable Sabbath in Nazareth, Christ took the Book of Isaiah and began to read:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19).
God intervenes in our lives because we are weak and vulnerable men, short of His glory (Isa. 41:14)! That is why the gospel of Christ gives POWER to weak men that believe (Rom. 1:16). And that is why the Kingdom of God is not in word only but in power (1 Cor. 4:20, 2:4-5; 1 Thess. 1:5).
Because we are weak and can’t help ourselves, we will always be in need of God’s grace. The Lord said to the apostle Paul: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).
God’s grace in the lives of believers is never overwhelmed by human problems. Indeed, the exact opposite is true: the problems we encounter as believers provide the opportunity for God to display His superior, all-conquering power in our lives!
His grace—that is, His unmerited favour, His kindness, help, strength and power—is sufficient and infinitely capable in the face of human problems and difficulties. (Read Eph. 3:20). Thus the apostle continues: “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong [because of the grace of Christ](2 Cor. 12:9-10).
Bro. Paul’s rejoicing brings to mind Ps. 27:3 and James 1:2:
“Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.”
“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.”
We are to rejoice with confidence in time of trouble because God manifests His grace and strength most powerfully at this time. In fact, for many believers, it is at such times that we feel a desperate need for God’s help and draw closest to Him in prayer, etc. And then He grants us His grace profusely so we get strength to overcome.
When we are physically weak, therefore, are we strong courtesy of God’s power, because we turn to Him at this time. In our humility before Him with prayer and fasting, He gives us more grace to overcome (Jam. 4:6; Ps. 35:13). In this posture of humility and dependence on God’s strength is our strength (Isa. 30:7).
Surely, “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
“ But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint”(Isa. 40:29-31).
In a time of trouble, temptation and challenges—we being weak—God is our strength, our Rock, our Deliverer and our High Tower (Ps 18:1-2). He will deliver us from those who are too strong for us—Satan and his human and demonic agents (Ps 35:10; Matt. 12:29; Eph. 6:12). He promises in Ps. 12:5:
“For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety [from him that] puffeth at him”.
He assured Zerubbabel of His abundant grace when he was faced with the challenge of completing the rebuilding of the Jerusalem Tewmple in the face of fierce opposition:
“This [is] the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
“ Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it” (Zech. 4:6-7).
God has not called us that we might prevail by our weak human strength; He has called us that He might empower us to overcome (1 Sam. 2:9-10). The unimpressive background of the called itself accentuates this fact:
“Consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;
“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,
“ and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are” (1 Cor. 1:26-28 NAS).
“Jehovah is everlasting strength” (Isa. 26:4). Through Him we can do all things (Php. 4:13). He’s the strength of our life (Ps. 27:1). In our weakness He causes to triumph continually (2 Cor. 2:14), so we are able to say “when I am weak, then am I strong”. Halleluiah!