Monday, April 1, 2013

PAUL'S SECRET DISCOVERY! HOW TO GET THROUGH THE STRUGGLES OF LIFE

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“I have learned the secret!” exclaimed the Apostle Paul. What secret? Was it something Jesus revealed to him on the Damascus road? No. It was something Paul discovered 20 years later after his conversion. This secret enabled him to survive hardships, shipwrecks, beatings, hunger, discouragements and calamities of all kinds—even those things he considered impossible. At first thought you might say he accomplished the latter simply because he had strong faith and pressed on. Partly right and partly wrong—wrong because it occurred long after he was years into his ministry, so it was something he hadn't known before as a Christian. Maybe, like Paul, some of us haven’t discovered it either. Fortunately, Paul shared this remarkable secret in one single word. Yes, just one word—which is probably why so many haven't picked up on it.

                                                 Now, don’t you want to find out what that one word was?



PAUL'S SECRET DISCOVERY!
How to get through the struggles of life


What this article will cover:
  • Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and the idiosyncratic effect of words.
  • The problem with interpreting words and sentences on the printed page
  • The problem with interpreting scripture on the printed page
  • Paul’s one-word summary description of the secret revealed to him 20 years after his conversion.
  • The secret’s four-fold aspect.
  • Paul’s prerequisite experiences that enabled him to comprehend the revelation and its potential
  • Paul’s discovery on how to activate the benefits of this secret endowment.
  • The greatest of the secret’s four-fold aspects that fulfills Paul’s life-long quest.
  • Paul puts the secret to the test.
  • Your challenge
    (To see previous March article, “The Mormon Priesthood,” scroll down below this article.)

Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and the idiosyncratic effect of words

Before we delve into Paul’s secret discovery, we’re going to turn first to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. “Now, what on earth,” you ask, “do they have to do with this subject?” Well, hang in there and you’ll find out.

In 1937, Astaire and Rogers popularized the song entitled “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.” Some of you may recall that in that song he’s singing to his girlfriend who comes from a very sophisticated background that is much different than his. Because of this she pronounces her words differently, making the dissimilarities between them all the more evident. Poor Astaire wonders if he and his girlfriend will really be compatible with each other. In frustration, he laments: “I say either, you say eye-ther; I say tomato, you say tomawto, I say potato and you say potahto—lets call the whole thing off.”

Albeit humorous, it indicates the power and effect words and the personal complications that can result. But Fred and Ginger aren’t the only example of illustrating how words can be perplexing.

Take the curious way Canadians talk. Instead of pronouncing the word “about,” they say “aboot.” Instead of “house,” it’s “hoose.” When I first encountered that, I said to myself, “Why don’t they pronounce it the right way, like I do?” And to this day I’ve never figured out why those in the Eastern U.S. say “ideer” instead of “idea.” I mean, can’t they see there’s no “r” in the word? And Southern Utahans are just as guilty. They say “warshrag” instead of “washrag; also, “Lard” instead of Lord.

Of course, all these words regardless of how they’re pronounced still mean the same. A to-mah-to is still a tomato, a hoose is still a house, ideer is still an idea, and Lard is still Lord, unless a Utahan is talking about the ingredients for making laundry soap.

But there is another unique problem with words that goes even further than pronunciation.

The problem with interpreting words and sentences on the printed page.
The silent reading of words and sentences on a printed page versus hearing them spoken aloud by the author can prove problematic when interpreting the meaning. Why? Because the sentence we silently hear in our mind comes across as a monotone with no emphases on particular words to relay the exact meaning.

When people speak, they instinctively accent a particular word in a sentence by changing the pitch or loudness of their voice. They do this in order to put across the intent of their message. Emphases are also necessary for those listening, so they won't misinterpret what the person really means to say. Because of this necessity it is always better for us to hear the writer declare his or her sentence instead of silently reading it to ourselves.

For example, what if you read the following in a letter:

Pastor John didn’t say that.”

It’s up to the reader to assess the real meaning. You might think you know what the person means, but listen to the different ways that sentence could be interpreted if the reader heard it spoken with emphasis put on different words:

“Pastor John didn’t say THAT.” (Meaning, it’s totally shocking.)

PASTOR John didn’t say that.” (Meaning, whatever was being attributed to him was actually said by someone else.)

So, emphases are necessary to relay meaning. The same principle applies to scripture.

The problem with interpreting scripture on the printed page
If we read a scripture on the printed page without knowing which word Paul would have emphasized if we could have heard him say it aloud, we could come up with an entirely different interpretation of what he intended to convey. For example, take Paul’s statement in Romans 12:6—We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If read silently in our mind, it will come across monotone-like. Yet, even hearing it spoken aloud with emphasis could be interpreted a variety of ways depending on which word is emphasized: 
WE have different gifts, according to the grace given us.” (Comes across as Paul boasting and elevating himself over those who don’t have gifts.) 
Or . . .
"We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.” (Meaning, our gifts are better than your gifts.
Considering Paul’s character, I believe the word he would have emphasized would have been “grace.” 
“We have different gifts, according to the GRACE given us.” (Meaning, that he and other Christians have nothing to boast about in themselves because it’s only by God’s grace that they have any gifts at all.)           
Reading scripture in print, versus hearing the author speak it, can definitely be a disadvantage. Since we can’t hear Paul say the passages he wrote, we have to figure out what the key word is that he probably would have emphasized. This will apply to the sentence, mentioned earlier, containing the one-word summary (key word) Paul uses to reveal the “secret.” Once you discover this same secret, it will make all the difference in your life. It will get you through anything you have to face—all of life’s difficulties, unexpected crises, hardships, calamities, you name it.

Paul’s one-word summary description of the secret revealed to him 20 years after his conversion.
The scripture that summarizes his discovery of the secret, and which contains one key word that he would have emphasized if speaking it aloud, is found in Philippians 4:13. Most of us can quote it from memory.  (Since this is Paul’s summary statement, we’ll eventually cover the passages where Paul fleshes the key word out in more specific details).

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (kjv)

Now . . .  before you say “ho hum” and think you know which word it would have been, ask yourself which single word in that sentence do you think Paul would have emphasized? Would it be “can do,” meaning “able,” or “all things,” meaning nothing is impossible to him?

While you’re trying to decide, let me give you 3 optional ways to emphasize that scripture, and how the interpretation based on those 3 words would change its meaning. (Speak them aloud, and you’ll see.)

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”  (With the emphasis on “I,” Paul is boasting about himself.)

“I can do ALL THINGS through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (With this emphasis, Paul is feeling pretty grandiose about all the great things he can accomplish.)

“I can do all things through CHRIST which strengtheneth me.” (Meaning, he attributes his ability to Christ—which is correct—but . . . even though Christ was always Paul’s focus, “Christ” isn’t the key word to be emphasized here.

For example, if the inflection were put on “Christ,” there are 2 ways it could be interpreted:
  • Paul’s faith in Christ is what strengthens him (but what happens when he becomes discouraged and his faith is low?)
  • Paul views Christ as a cheerleader, who gives him the strength to muster up more of his own strength to get through a trying situation—sort of like Jesus is cheering him on . . . “Come on, Paul, you can do it!” 
Obviously, Christ doesn't wave pom-poms; he didn't intend to be a cheerleader. I believe Paul meant to emphasize another word in that passage.

In that Philippian passage, the key word is “strengthen” Why? Because that’s the result of the secret he's summarizing. Further, there is a TON of meaning behind that word that Paul understood, but we may not.

Strengthen,” in the Greek, is endunamoo. It comes from dunamis, from which we get the word dynamite. It means to be empowered with an increase of explosive strength. But the 3 questions are: (1) Why did Christ wait 20 years to reveal it? (2) What does it really mean? And (3) How can it be activated?

To answer these questions, we need to step back in time, before Christ revealed the secret to Paul, and look at the experiences Christ knew Paul would need first in order for him to fully discern the secret and understand its potential. 

Paul’s prerequisite experiences that enabled him to comprehend the revelation and its potential
Discovery of anything, even a revelation from Christ, is best discerned after the build up of prior life experiences so that when the new revelation is received it will resonate more deeply. Being told something before one needs it never sinks in as well. Therefore, without Paul’s prior experiences, what Christ spoke to him could very well have passed over his head with less meaning. The following were his experiences that occurred 20 years prior to the revelation:

Paul made long journeys to preach the gospel and set up churches. (He traveled 17,285 miles, comparable to half way around the world.) During that time, he suffered reproaches, persecutions, hunger, thirst, nakedness, beatings, shipwrecks and other discouraging situations that would bring the best of us down. Here’s how he put it in 2 Cor. 11:23-28:

I've been flogged five times with the Jews' thirty-nine lashes, beaten by Roman rods three times, pummeled with rocks once. I've been shipwrecked three times, and immersed in the open sea for a night and a day. In hard traveling year in and year out, I've had to ford rivers, fend off robbers, struggle with friends, struggle with foes. I've been at risk in the city, at risk in the country, endangered by desert sun and sea storm, and betrayed by those I thought were my brothers. I've known drudgery and hard labor, many a long and lonely night without sleep, many a missed meal, blasted by the cold, naked to the weather. And that's not the half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches. (The Message Bible)

And if all that wasn’t bad enough, in the midst of it Paul discouragingly tells us, in 2 Cor. 12:7-9, that he also had a “thorn in the flesh,” and asked the Lord 3 times to remove it. It plagued and discouraged him so much that he said it was Satan's tool that “racked, buffeted and harassed him” (Amp). It was almost too much for him to bear. 

Many have speculated on what his thorn was. Some have guessed his personal looks, based on the Epistle of Paul and Thecla, which describe him as “small in size, bald-headed, bowlegged, meeting eyebrows, and a large red and somewhat hooked nose.” Paul himself said, “his bodily presence is weak and his speech of no account” (2 Cor. 10:10). But his thorn in the flesh could not have been his stature or looks because he was born with them, which would make no sense for him to pray to have them removed.

Others have speculated, based on Paul's remark to the Galatian Christians, that because of their love for him they "would have plucked out their own eyes and given them to him" (Gal. 4:15), that his thorn was epilepsy, malaria, a stigmatism, or at least a severe eye disease called ophthalmia (deep conjunctivitus of the inner eye). But as a kind viewer recently pointed out, Paul's remark about plucking their eyes out for him was probably a figure of speech similar to, "You'd give me the shirt off your back if needed." This sounds reasonable. So, if not his eyes, what was his thorn?

The answer lies in the question: "What was it that made his mission so extremely difficult for him? The answer . . . those who continually persecuted him. Indeed, what a thorn that had to have been!

Persecution from enemies in the Old Testament was usually described as a "thorn." (My thanks to the same viewer for this.) These 3 references (Num 33:55, Joshua 23:13 and Judges 2:3) use the word in the context of saying: If you don't drive out the inhabitants (enemies) of the land, then they "shall be pricks in your eyes and thorns in your sides and shall vex you." (vex = tsarar, meaning "afflict, besiege, distress, enemy, etc.)

Did the Lord grant his request and remove it? No. In that refusal, did Christ say, “Tough bananas, you're going to have opposition—deal with it?” Of course not. Although he declined, there was a special reason for the refusal. Surprisingly, it led to the greatest secret Paul ever discovered, and at the same time fulfilled a life-time quest he had been seeking. 

The secret’s four-fold aspect
When the Lord turned Paul down, he stated the reason in only 6 words. His 6 words contain the key, one-word, that summarizes the secret. If we could have heard Christ say it aloud, we would immediately pick up the word he would have emphasized, but reading it we might quickly skim-read over the 6 words without realizing their implication:

“My grace is sufficient for thee." (2 Cor. 12:9)

Some could interpret it as Christ saying, “Don’t sweat it Paul. I’m aware of everything you’re going through. Just rest in my grace.” But let’s look at the 2 words we could vacillate between:

Some might guess, “grace” or “sufficient.” While one of them is indeed the key word, we still may not interpret it correctly.

Grace: We understand this word to mean “undeserved kindness,” and when someone is miraculously healed of a sickness, we say it was by the grace of God; that is, in His kindness he condescended to do that person the favor of healing them. But if “grace” were emphasized, we might mentally respond with, “Yes, Lord. I know you are full of grace and truth” and still miss it.

Sufficient: This can be interpreted as Jesus meaning, “It’s enough that you simply believe in me. Just know that I am with you.” This is true, but . . .

While the correct key word out of the two is indeed “sufficient,” what lies behind that word holds a lot more meaning to it then given above. After all, Paul certainly had to derive something else from the sentence since he already knew Christ was full of grace and truth.

So, what did Christ mean?

To explain it requires a visual aid. So . . . put your “visualization cap” on.

Imagine an empty jar that has a capacity to hold 10 cups of water. (The jar will represent Paul’s body; yours as well.) Draw a line around the waistline of the bottle, at the mid-way point where 5 cups of water would come up to. Below the line, on the bottom half of the jar that is filled with only 5 cups of water, write on it “Paul’s own strength.” That amount of water means he has 5 cups worth of his own strength, and the line represents the limit where his own strength will give out. (Physical and emotional strength is included in this.)

Above the line, in the top half of the jar, write, “Paul’s weakness.” It is empty, not filled with anything because Paul’s strength can only carry him up to the line. He would need 5 more cups of strength to fill up the jar to its 10-cup capacity. Picture a trying situation hitting him that requires 10 full cups of strength. He will need 5 more cups to get through it but can’t muster up any more because his own strength, physically and emotionally, has run out—not to mention the accompanying discouragement that may weaken him further.

Above the line, in the empty space, is where Christ, through his grace, will pour his sufficiency in (supernatural strength sufficient for the occasion). So, when Christ said to him, “My grace is sufficient for thee,” he was saying:

“Don’t worry, Paul. Where your strength leaves off, I will fill you up with MY sufficient, divine strength (to the top of the jar, or Paul’s body) so that you’ll be totally full of strength and able to bear what you are going through.”

With the loving grace and compassion of Christ’s sufficiency pouring into Paul, he’s going to end up with 10 full cups of strength—5 more than he had of his own—enough to see him through beatings, hardships, his thorn in the flesh and eventual martyrdom.

But Paul learns something else as a result of wondering, “How is this provision to be activated?”

Paul’s discovery on how to activate the benefits of this supernatural endowmentTo activate Christ’s grace, and gain the miraculous provision of additional strength that is beyond his own, Paul learns that he has to first acknowledge his weaknesses, and then ask for help. How did he figure that out? Christ told him:

My power shows up best in weak people.” (LNT) Or, as the Ampliied says, “My strength and power are made perfect—in [your] weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9.

By doing that, Christ would then fill him with divine, supernatural strength to take up the lack. Paul is all for this, anxious to possess Christ's strength:

For when I am weak (in human strength), then am I [made] strong—able, powerful in divine strength.”(2 Cor. 12:10b Amp)

Paul, comprehending the secret hidden in the summary key word, “strengthen” in Phil. 4:13 (I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me) and in 2 Cor. 12:9's, “sufficiency,”  Paul understands four facets—two of which he knew but now grasps in a fuller way:
  1. The amazing efficacy and boundless capacity of love contained in Christ’s grace to do this for him. (Rom. 8:35,39; Eph. 3:18-19)
  2. The immeasurable capability of Christ’s sufficiency (to put his own divine, supernatural strength into all believers).
  3. He discovers how to activate it (acknowledge his weaknesses and asking for help).
  4. Christ's  reason for this provision—to put more of Himself into Paul so He can be experienced  more fully.

The greatest of the secret’s four-fold aspects that fulfills Paul’s life-long quest
Regarding the fourth aspect—Christ's reason—what better way could Christ reveal Himself than setting up a provision where He could come into Paul in a new and fresh way by putting his divine strength into him? If Paul could have mustered up the full 10 cups of strength on his own, what opportunity would the Lord have had to show how effective, gracious, sufficient and powerful He could be on a personal level? Christ would have stayed hidden to Paul and would never have had the chance to reveal this loving aspect of Himself.

Why is Paul particularly impressed with this facet? Because desiring more of Christ had been his long, sought-after goal. During his ministry, up to this point, he makes this evident in his writings. He continually said that he wanted to gain a "deeper" knowledge of Christ and to become "more intimately acquainted" with Him, admitting that he hadn’t yet achieved this. When he realizes that Christ wants to put more of Himself into him, his long-held dream is realized and as a result he will have a deeper relationship with Him (although I’m sure he probably continued to still want more), and his joy of having this given to him is revealed in the following:
“Yes . . . I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege—the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth and supreme advantage—of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly. For His sake I have lost everything, and consider it all to be mere rubbish in order that I may win (gain) Christ, the Anointed One. 
[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him—that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding [the wonders of His Person] more strongly and more clearly. (Phil. 3: 8,10 Amp)
This should blow a Christian's mind! Why? Because here is a man who probably received more inspiration than we’d ever receive in our whole lifetime, saw the risen Christ on the Damascus road, was taught by God in Arabia, was caught up to the third heaven, and yet still felt he didn’t have as much of Christ as he wanted.

Christians should pursue the same goal. Many haven't even uncovered the surface yet, nor plumbed the depths of, as Paul describes, the “unending, boundless, fathomless, incalculable, exhaustless, riches of Christ.” (Eph. 3:8 Amp) (Much of this will occur when on your knees.)

Paul puts the secret to the test.
Paul’s continuing experiences afterwards puts the secret to the test. His excitement over knowing “how” to activate it is evident in the following:
I have learned in any and all circumstances the “secret” of facing every situation (v.12 Amp) . . . For I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith, to be content [because] I know both HOW to be abased, and I know HOW to abound; HOW to be full and HOW to be hungry; and HOW to suffer need. (KJV Phil. 4:11-12) 
(How? By acknowledging occasions when he is weak [Lord, I can’t do this on my own] and asking Christ for help.) 
Unfortunately some, when reading the above passage, entirely miss the meaning by thinking the key word is “content.”

For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith, to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound; to be full and to be hungry; to abound and to suffer need. (American KVJ)

Interpretation: “Poor, but brave Paul. When he’s in those awful situations, he’s learned how to resign himself to being content. Boy, he sure went through a lot—but you sure got to hand it to him. What will power! What mind over matter! 

Christ's sufficiency does not mean he is empowering Paul's own strength.
Christ empowers Paul with His divine strength, not Paul's. In Phi, 4:13 (I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me), the Amplified version (which is closer to the Greek) describes the power of this additional infilling of Christ's divine and explosive strength (dunamis) by associating two words: "empower" and "infuse":
 I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me. I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who INFUSES inner strength into me.”
Empowered: to receive ability and dynamite-like strength from a source other than yourself.
Infuse: to introduce or be filled with something NEW as if by pouring, as with a certain quality. 
Christ, therefore, is not triggering an inherent ability within Paul so he can muster up a few more cups of his own physical and emotional strength. Paul is being empowered from a source other than himself. It is something additional and new that is poured into him—the infusion of divine, supernatural strength.

When I get my annual flu shot, they “infuse” me with something that wasn’t in me until I got that shot. Once I’m infused, it gives me additional power to prevail over viruses that might attack my body. Left to my own strength, I might not have enough to fight an illness off.

Similarly, Christ infused into Paul power and strength that was in addition to his small 5-cup capacity of strength, so he could prevail in anything he had to face. With Christ’s infusion, Paul now has 10 cups of strength—5 cups of his own and 5 cups of Christ’s—however much is needed.

This, to me, is an absolute, mind-blowing miracle. Paul certainly realized this:

“Hurray,” he says. “I don’t ever have to worry about any situation I face again. I’ve learned the secret! I can do all things because Christ will enable me by empowering and infusing me with a strength and power that is not my own. Further, I know how to activate the process—all I have to do is acknowledge my weakness, ask for help and He’ll give me the extra of what I need and it will be sufficient regardless of how big the problem is. Therefore, through Christ who strengtheneth me, I can do all things!” (Phil. 4:13 paraphrased)

Paul is so elated over this that he now changes his tune and decides that he has a good thing going for him with his thorn in the flesh, any weaknesses, inabilities, infirmities and difficulties. Because, if they were removed, he would miss out on experiencing more of Christ inside him and miss out on seeing another side to Christ’s love and enablement that he never experienced before. For this reason, he says in 2 Cor. 12:10:
Most gladly will I rather rejoice in my infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distress.” (Amp) 
He also realizes another benefit of his thorn--to keep him humble:
And to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness of these revelations, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to rack and buffet and harass me. (2 Cor. 12:7)
I like, even  better, how The Message Bible puts it:
Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty!
Paul shares his secret with other believers
After receiving this new revelation, Paul naturally wants to share it with the Saints because, after all, Christ's grace, sufficiency and infilling of divine strength is promised to all believers. Christ loves all of his children and wants to reveal himself to them in every way possible. When Christians truly understand the four-fold aspect of the secret Paul discovered—that Christ, in His grace and loving kindness will infuse His own sufficiency of divine strength and fill them up to capacity in situations where they lack strength, like Paul they will also say:
 “I never have to worry about facing any kind of situation again, for when I am at the point where I can’t muster up any more of my own strength, physically or emotionally, I will be made strong and enabled to do all things through Christ who will strengthen me. An added bonus is that I will have a fuller experience of Christ within me that will bring me into a deeper relationship with Him. This is what Christ wants to do in me.” 
If you remember nothing else from this article, remember the jar that illustrates that when your 5 cups of strength leaves off and you acknowledge your weakness and inability to Christ (I can’t do it on my own), God will infuse the additional strength needed into you, and empower you to get you through whatever it is you must deal with. 


SUMMARY

In Phil. 4:13, Paul used one word to summarize the secret that Christ revealed to him—strengthen. (I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.)

In 2 Cor. 12 and Philippians 4, he provides the details of what Christ revealed to him, what it would do for him, and how to activate the infilling.

Comprehending the secret gave Paul a greater understanding of the loving capacity of Christ:
  1. The amazing efficacy and boundless capacity of love contained in Christ’s grace to do it. (Rom. 8:35,39; Eph. 3:18-19)
  2. The immeasurable capacity of Christ’s sufficiency (That His strength is sufficient to enable one to get through a trial.)
  3. The capacity of Christ’s strength to infill all believers when they acknowledge their weaknesses and request help.
  4. Christ’s real reason for this provision—to put (reveal) more of Himself into believers so His love can be experienced more fully. 
Through it all, Paul learned the following:

  1. He learned the secret of facing every difficult situation he couldn’t handle on his own.
    “I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach or hunger, plenty or want. For I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.” (Phil 4:12-13 Amp)

  2. He discovered that by acknowledging his weaknesses and asking for help, Christ’s empowering sufficiency would be given him.
    “For when I am weak (in human strength), then am I [truly] strong—able, powerful in divine strength.”(2 Cor. 12:10b Amp).”

  3. He realized the reason Christ wanted to do this—so he could put more of Himself into Paul; that is, reveal another facet of his love, grace and power. He told Paul that He does it best when Paul acknowledges his weaknesses.
    My power shows up best in weak people.” (2 Cor. 12:9 NLT)

  4. He knew that he wanted this infilling of Christ's power more than anything.
    “I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, so that the strength and power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

  5. He acquired confidence knowing that he was self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency.
    “I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency. (Phil. 4:13b Amp)
How can you activate this same grace of God’s sufficiency in you?
  • Believe in Christ.
  • Acknowledge your weaknesses in situations (Lord, I can’t do it on my own).
  • Trust in Christ, knowing He will help you in difficult circumstances.
  • Realize that His grace is entirely sufficient for you (not just for other people)
  • Know that at the point where you are unable to muster up more of your own strength, Christ will infuse you with his all-sufficient, divine and supernatural strength, taking up where you are lacking. 
As a result, you will . . .
  • Learn, from experience, the same secret Paul discovered about Christ’s sufficiency.
  • Learn how the process is activated (by acknowledging your weaknesses and inabilitie and asking for helps)
  • Be infused with the extra strength you need when your own strength runs out.
  • Be empowered to get through tasks, difficulties, sorrows, or whatever you face.
  • No longer feel like a failure, thinking you can’t get through something.
  • Be enabled to do all things through Him.
  • Develop a deeper relationship with Christ (which is why He revealed this secret in the first place). 
Your challenge
The first, of course, is to become a Christian. If you are not, you can become one by prayerfully asking Jesus to come into your heart and life, fully believing in your heart that he is the Son of God who died on the cross in your place to forgive you of your sins. Also, begin reading the Bible. If you are a Mormon, I suggest reading the books, Romans, Hebrew and the Gospel of John first.

Next, try experimenting with various scriptures by speaking them aloud and emphasizing different words, and see what you come up with. This might also require doing an exegesis—that is, looking up the Greek words (for the New Testament) or Hebrew (for the Old Testament) in Strong’s Concordance for the full meaning.

What a remarkable provision God makes available for us!

Until next time,

Janis

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2 comments:

  1. You have given me much to ponder. God's ways are opposite of human understanding--when I am weak, then He fills me with His strength and I become truly strong. When my own strength is sufficient for a situation, I tend to rely on it instead of God's superior strength. Thanks for these thoughts. I need to remember this.

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  2. Thank you for your comment, Arlene. I send you a message.

    ReplyDelete

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