Thursday, August 25, 2016

August 26, 2016

"Three different times I begged God to make me well again. Each time he said, “No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.” Now I am glad to boast about how weak I am; I am glad to be a living demonstration of Christ’s power, instead of showing off my own power and abilities. Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite happy about “the thorn,” and about insults and hardships, persecutions and difficulties; for when I am weak, then I am strong—the less I have, the more I depend on him." II Corinthians 12:8-10
One of the reasons golf is such a difficult game is that everything about it is counter-intuitive.
For instance, if you want to hit the ball further it seems you should swing harder at it. But in fact, when you try to swing harder it causes your muscles to tense up which makes the muscles contract and it slows down your swing.
To hit the ball further you actually need to grip it lightly so you can swing it faster. Club speed develops distance not club force.
Being a follower of Christ, like golf, is counter-intuitive. That is precisely what Paul is expressing to the Corinthian Christians.
As we were reminded at the beginning of the Summer, if you want to be great you must learn to be third.
Today we learn that in order to be strong you must be weak. To know God's sufficiency you must dwell in your insufficiency.
A great illustration of this truth is seen in the life of Abraham (Abram at the time).
After he and Sarai had decided it was time to help God fulfill His promise by having a son with Hagar, things got very complicated for the next thirteen years. God went silent while they grew older and weaker.
But after 13 years God came calling and everything changed! God introduced Himself as "El Shaddai" - the "all-sufficient One". Essentially, God was telling Abram, "My grace is sufficient for you!"
"El Shaddai" gave him a new name "Abraham" and a new covenant sealed by the ritual of circumcision. 
Fully aware of his weakness and newly reminded of God's sufficiency Abraham embraced his weakness and discovered "El Shaddai"! All of Him!
When you loosen your grip on the club as you swing it to the ball, the club is free to do what it was designed to do - release powerfully through the ball to launch it high and far!
That's what "El Shaddai" did for Abraham once he loosened his grip!
And it's what "All Sufficient God" did for Paul when he learned to loosen His grip.
Whatever you are facing, "El Shaddai" is waiting for you to loosen your grip and declare your insufficiency. When you do it will release Him to apply His "All Sufficient Power" through your problem.