“This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord. I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows. Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell. That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time He said, “
My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”
So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:1-10 NLT
If you have studied the life of the apostle Paul, you’ll discover that he met Jesus at the height of his career as a Pharisee of Pharisees. He had studied at the feet of the best scholars of the law, kept them perfectly as he has stated, had a zeal for the law and God that was unmatched. Persecuted those who refused to see the law his way, and was determined to wipe them out. Then Damascus happened. He came face to face with the One he was aiming to scrub from the lives of those he opposed. See Philippians 3 & Acts 22
That encounter not only changed Saul of Tarsus, it has resulted in a third of the New Testament writings on grace, mercy and forgiveness, ever to be written, changing and transforming countless millions of lives and pointing them towards a gospel he once wanted no part of. Paul was brilliant in his arguments concerning the law. But, in his new role as apostle of Jesus Christ, all that was necessary to be considered successful, was Grace, God’s Grace.
In the passage above we hear him rehearsing his out of this world experience. Then we read these humbling words, and we should take heed if we’re given to promoting our experiences and credentials as qualifiers for a position in the Kingdom of God. God believes in qualifying the ones He calls. This way as Paul puts it. “So that the excellency of the power will be of God and not of us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7.
After the boasting we read. “So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.”
2 Corinthians 12:7 NLT
He acknowledges that he received the revelations from God, but to prevent him from being arrogant, Jesus allowed him to experience a thorn ( maybe a reminder of the things he wanted to forget) by Satan, who takes pleasure in bringing up our past failures. The tormenting was so great that he sought the Lord’s intervention thrice, but to no avail. The Lord wanted him to get to a place of total reliance on the grace of God, and not in his experiences. If we can live off our educational prowess or use the gifts God has given us for our own promotion, then the excellency of the power will be of us, we’ll receive the glory that belongs to God. Paul had to learn that lesson.
As anointed and gifted as he was, he couldn’t pray this attack off, he needed to learn what the apostles did walking with Jesus, Saul had died, the old mindsets had to be submitted to Jesus. Grace alone was now the new accreditation. The qualifier for service to God, was total dependence on His grace alone. Jesus knows that the flesh likes to boast of great things. He also knew that it would produce no lasting effect in the Kingdom of God. Paul, like Peter, had to learn that even though he may step out on the water, he still needed Jesus to walk on it. Paul discovered that to accomplish great things for God, he didn’t need intellect or great revelations, all he needed was Grace through faith, in the person of Jesus Christ. He wrote this:
“Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
He penned these words also: “I know what it means to lack, and I know what it means to experience overwhelming abundance. For I’m trained in the secret of overcoming all things, whether in fullness or in hunger. And I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty.” Philippians 4:12-13 TPT WOW!!
What has brought about this change?Grace happened. What trained him? The things he suffered. Grace is our empowerment to do great things through Christ for Christ. We shouldn’t build tabernacles for our experiences to draw attention to ourselves. The attraction is Christ not us. The Bible says the humble will be exalted and the exalted will be humbled. Luke 14:11
The reason why the Church isn’t experiencing the Acts of the apostles is purely spiritual. We have drawn attraction away from Christ to ourselves. God will not share His glory with flesh. Just listen to some preachers, all you hear is “my” and “I” they are the stars. Nebuchadnezzar learned a hard lesson when he tried to credit himself for what Jehovah had done. The Lord Jesus had great plans for Paul, and He wasn’t about to let him be derailed by selfishness and pride. Superstars rise and fall, kingdoms come and go, but the Word of the Lord endures when all flesh ceases to be.
God through Christ has great plans for us. But we’ll find them at the feet of Jesus as we rely totally and completely on Him. He told Paul His grace alone was sufficient. We have been given all sufficiency in Christ. This means all joy, peace, value, purpose, hope, fulfillment, by faith to accomplish all His plans for our lives. We’ve been given grace upon grace for all things spiritual, physical and financial.
“And now out of His fullness we are fulfilled! And from Him we receive grace heaped upon more grace!” John 1:16 TPT
Colossians 2:10 supports this truth. Let’s read: “For He is the complete fullness of Deity living in human form. And our own completeness is now found in Him. We are completely filled with God as Christ’s fullness overflows within us. He is the Head of every kingdom and authority in the universe!” Colossians 2:9-10 TPT
Only someone who has experienced the sufficient grace of Jesus Christ could make such a bold statement. What Paul experienced through the buffeting and consequently discovering the all sufficiency of Jesus, transformed his life, teaching and ministry. We too can live with the boldness and authority derived from free falling on His grace. If we find ourselves struggling to overcome the buffeting of the enemy, maybe like Paul we have been relying on our self effort or will. Submit to His grace and walk in victory.
In 1 Corinthians 1:27-31 we read; “But God chose those whom the world considers foolish to shame those who think they are wise, and God chose the puny and powerless to shame the high and mighty. He chose the lowly, the laughable in the world’s eyes—nobodies—so that He would shame the somebodies. For He chose what is regarded as insignificant in order to supersede what is regarded as prominent, so that there would be no place for prideful boasting in God’s presence. For it is not from man that we draw our life but from God as we are being joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. And now He is our God-given wisdom, our virtue, our holiness, and our redemption. And this fulfills what is written: If anyone boasts, let him only boast in all that the Lord has done!”
And this: “Every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm has already been lavished upon us as a love gift from our wonderful heavenly Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus—all because He sees us wrapped into Christ. This is why we celebrate Him with all our hearts!”
And this: “And by his one perfect sacrifice He made us perfectly holy and complete for all time!”
Hebrews 10:14 TPT
Isn’t the Word so yummy? There’s no room for boasting or self reliance. His grace is truly sufficient. Proverbs 3:5-6 one of my all time favorite scriptures comes to mind. Go ahead and say it. It’s a very familiar chapter, alright I’ll write it out 🤦♀️
“Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on Him to guide you, and He will lead you in every decision you make. Become intimate with Him in whatever you do, and He will lead you wherever you go.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 TPT
And I’ll add the following verses for they fit succinctly here.
“Don’t think for a moment that you know it all, for wisdom comes when you adore Him with undivided devotion and avoid everything that’s wrong. Then you will find the healing refreshment your body and spirit long for.” Proverbs 3:7-8 TPT
O the wonderful and matchless grace of Jesus! Sufficient in every situation we face. Be it buffeting, trials, persecution, hunger, sadness, loneliness, whatsoever you’re in need of, Grace has you covered. I shared with you awhile back how the Lord helped me get over anxiety over things I can’t control. He said His grace is sufficient for today. Anxiety comes from going into tomorrow, there’s no grace for tomorrow today. Get it? Whenever you need it (Him) He’s there. You can’t exhaust it, the supply for today is limitless. Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!!
Pause, stop your fretting, get out of your head. Hear Him whisper ever so sweetly. Son/daughter, My Grace is sufficient for you. You’re empowered to accomplish great things for Me. 🙏
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit