Who Is Sufficient?

A few nights ago Linda and I were in our living room when we heard a “bang”! The electricity in the neighborhood went out, so we lit some candles. A while later the electric company fixed the problem and on went the lights. When we lose power it reminds us of how important power is.

The apostle Paul’s life and ministry was a testimony to God’s power. In Galatians 1:15,16 Paul recorded God’s calling: “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood…”

Notice that salvation involves more than missing hell and gaining heaven. God intends to reveal His Son in and through the believer (Rom. 8:29). This process of sanctification should not be limited to personal development. God has commissioned us; we are to be disciplemakers. Paul accepted this mandate, “…that I might preach Him (Christ) among the Gentiles” (v. 16b). We are to be growing in spiritual maturity and faithfully using our gifts and opportunities to spread the gospel. When we grasp this high calling, how can we help but sigh, “And who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor. 2:16).

Scripture also testifies that the apostles were energized to fulfill God’s will: “He (the Holy Spirit) who worked effectively in Peter for the apostleship to the circumcised also worked effectively in me toward the Gentiles (Gal. 2:8). Paul and Peter had tremendously fruitful ministries because they were clean and yielded vessels for God; they were empowered for His sovereign purposes.

How can we fulfill God’s plan for our lives? We must learn again and again that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. Selwyn Hughes, of Crusade for World Revival, echoed this vital lesson: “It is noteworthy that throughout the ages God’s greatest servants have made clear that their success was due not to their own efforts but to the grace that God imparted to them … I have seen Christians suffer a breakdown as a result of trying to live the Christian life in their own strength. We live dangerously when we try to do Christ’s work using natural energy alone. On one occasion I was present at a dinner given in honour of a certain bishop. During the after-dinner speeches I heard a layman make a terrible blunder when he declared: ‘Bishop, we are both doing God’s work; you in your way, and I in His.’ Question yourself at this very moment and ask: Am I doing God’s work in my own way or in His? ‘A Christ not in us, imparting His grace to us,’ said the great preacher William Law, ‘is the same as a Christ not ours’ … Is this why so many of us fail to go as deeply with God as we ought? We have received Christ but we do not allow Him to diffuse Himself through all our faculties, to animate us with His life and Spirit.”[1]

Have you been you frustrated by a “power shortage”? Acknowledging your inability is a huge step toward counting on God’s strength in and through you.

Our Father, we join the ranks of our brothers and sisters who have confessed their lack of spiritual power. Teach us to claim Your truth and trust Your promises. We choose to abide in Christ so that Your Spirit may supernaturally bear fruit through our lives. In Christ’s mighty name, amen.


[1] Selwyn Hughes, E.D.W.J., 1/14/95. Crusade for World Revival

Second edition of this article.

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Copyright, John Woodward. Permission is granted to reprint this article for non-commercial use. Scripture quotations (unless indicated otherwise) are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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