Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 48 : Receive God's Power | Day 331

Perfect the Power of Grace!

Coughing and sputtering, his arms flailed wildly as he fought desperately to stay afloat. His strength waned while he continued to struggle, not noticing the life preserver that had been thrown to him by an attentive lifeguard. Meanwhile, the lifeguard kept his eyes fixed on the struggling man, ready to spring into action the moment the life preserver was grasped. Nothing could be done to help the drowning man until he stopped struggling, took hold of the life preserver, and allowed himself to be pulled to safety.

This illustration is analogous to our lives. God knows our struggles and our inability to overcome them on our own. He has extended to us His powerful grace. Yet, we must first stop depending on our own efforts before He will demonstrate His power and might in our lives.

Only when we recognize and acknowledge our total weakness can we ask for and receive the power of God's grace.

If we were totally honest with ourselves, most of us would probably acknowledge that we try to live for God to the best of our abilities, and then when special problems come we ask God for the strength to get through them. However, herein lies the problem! Living for the Lord is not our works plus God's grace; it is completely a work of God's grace in our weaknesses. In order to remind us of our inability to do any acceptable work for God apart from His grace, He gives us inborn weaknesses.

Three times the Apostle Paul appealed to God to remove his particular weakness, which he called a "thorn in the flesh." However, God explained: “... My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness ...” (II Corinthians 12:9). The Greek word translated as strength in this verse is dunamis. It means "force ... power." The phrase is made perfect is a translation of teleioo, which means "to complete ... accomplish." It denotes "to bring to the end (goal) proposed."

When Paul comprehended the great potential of God's power being perfected in his weakness, he exclaimed: “... Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power [dunamis] of Christ may rest upon me” (II Corinthians 12:9).

The Greek word translated may rest means "to tent upon." It carries the idea of abiding and dwelling with. As long as we are in the "tent" of God's grace, we are enabled to accomplish great things for Him. However, if we try to live the Christian life in our own energy, frustration and failure will be the results.

Paul discovered that when he became weak, he was strong in the power of God. (See II Corinthians 12:10.)

God's grace is His divine favor toward us, and it gives us the desire and power to do His will. Jesus declared, “I can of mine own self do nothing ...” (John 5:30). Yet, He was "full of grace and truth" to carry out His heavenly Father's will. (See John 1:14.) Paul stated the same thing: “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (I Corinthians 15:10).

Let's recognize and embrace our total inability to do anything for God apart from His grace, and “come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

“And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard