Why Grace? Why Not Strength?

7:21 AMHeather

I have some mad super powers when it comes to majoring on the minors.  Oh, how I can work myself up over the tiniest of details!  And, MOST of the time--I use this super power for evil and not good.  But, when it comes to meditating on a Scripture, this super power can be channeled in a good way.

9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, 
for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about 
my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 
2 Corinthians 12:9

I have read this verse a million times.  I've heard sermons on this verse--including a rather life-impacting message on seeing our weaknesses as God's opportunity to show up.  And, lately, this verse keeps popping up everywhere.  Which is God not-so-subtly telling me to PAY ATTENTION.  I've been pondering a detail about this verse for a couple weeks and debated blogging about it.  Then, last night, as I completed my homework for my Bible study on Jonah--guess what the main Scripture was?  Um, yay.  Okay, Lord--got the memo!

So, when I read this verse and think about my weaknesses, it seems to me the natural response might have actually read that his STRENGTH is sufficient for our weaknesses.  You know--the whole opposites attract.  So, why grace?  Why not strength?  Why did Paul choose that wording?  I believe every word is God breathed--so this particular word was chosen for a reason.

After chewing on this these last couple weeks, I pulled out my Bible dictionary last night.  Grace in the Old Testament is translated from hesed--or loving kindness.  As in, exceeding and abundant kindness, or way above and beyond.  Which makes me think of the verse about how his loving kindness draws us to repentance (Romans 2:4).  That is some powerful hesed!  And, in the New Testament, grace comes from the Greek charis--yes, as in my youngest child's name.  Charis is summed up with the idea of favor upon favor.  The embodiment of charis in the New Testament is the gift of Jesus Christ.  How God loved us so much that he gave his gift of grace--his son Jesus Christ.

In light of all this, it brings me to these conclusions.  When I am weak--or wrestling with a weakness--it's like a big empty hole in me.  A hole that he fills up with his loving kindness, his favor upon favor, his son, Jesus Christ.  Strength seems so one-dimensional in comparison.  But, GRACE--now that took God's love, strength, and favor to give us grace because it cost God so much to grant.  I, for one, find it much harder to pour out grace sometimes than to muster up strength.  Grace requires more of a change in my heart attitude than strength does.

INTENTIONAL challenge:  Writing in my prayer journal last night, I asked God to show up big.  I was reminded of that very powerful lesson on this particular verse, and how our weaknesses are a time to call out to God to just show up.  And, not just show up--but show up big.  Where are you weak?  Where do you need to ask God to show up, NOW, please--and BIG?  With some loving kindness, strength, favor upon favor, and the power of Jesus Christ?!

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