11 April 2020
Corinthians 12:9

In Christ Alone

(Read Corinthians 12:9)
by contributing author

in Christ aloneWe are going to continue with our study of Hebrews next week. Considering that we are wrapping up the holiest week of the year with Easter this Sunday, we thought it would be fitting to write a devotion about the sufficiency of Jesus Christ.

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

If there is anything in the Bible that is more humbling and direct from God, I’m not sure what it might be. This day is observed by many Christians as “Good Friday.” Jesus was beaten, whipped, scourged with sharp bones, chards of glass and metal, and forced to hoist his own heavy cross uphill to the place where he would be crucified. Many scholars believe he may have bled to death from the scourging if he hadn’t died from the crucifixion. Paul, the writer of Corinthians, pleaded with God to be relieved from the pain of the thorn. Jesus told him that His grace was good enough.

When we look at our own struggles, we usually internalize them. We wonder why this is happening to me? It’s not fair, I’m never supposed to struggle. When we feel pain, we sometimes feel that no one else ever feels pain. No one around us suffers. Well, Jesus made it abundantly clear to Paul that we’re not alone. Christ was telling Paul that he understands, that he has been there and will always be there.

“In Christ alone! – who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe.”

A week ago, my son and daughter-in-law had a spectacularly beautiful baby girl. While I’m biased of my first Grandchild, it’s the honest truth. Because of the Coronavirus we have not been able to see her in person yet. But from all the pictures and videos we’ve seen, she is a happy, healthy, and blessed little bundle. Mom and Dad (especially Mom) have been extremely busy with the craziness and stress of a first baby and had a bit of a rough day yesterday.

I wrote a short message to my family this morning as a reminder to the depth and power of Christ’s suffering this day. I just wanted everyone to reflect upon what Christ has done for us. The torture. The humiliation he suffered for something we brought on ourselves.

What else did Jesus mean by, “My grace is sufficient for you?” Maybe in Christ, we have everything we need. Maybe we have wisdom, his righteousness, and we have the backing of someone who has experienced the lowest lows. Maybe we have something even better than just getting by our temporary hardships and pains.

About an hour after I sent my morning message to the family, I got a reply that stopped me in my tracks. It was a reply from my daughter-in-law. I was writing them about Jesus’ painful last three days on earth. I got a reply that spoke to the meaning of those horrific days.

“This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live.”

It was a blinding flash of light. Cut me to the core of my worries. In Christ, is the answer, the safety, the resolution of all things. Nothing more is necessary. He is sufficient. In Christ alone.

Highlights:

  • Do you have a struggle that is overwhelming you?
  • Do you try to resolve all your own problems?
  • Are you ever surprised by the awesomeness of a friend or family member when you least expect it?

Applications:

  1. Faith in Christ will not eliminate problems or pain. Faith in Christ will help align us with his plan for us. Pray hard about your situation. Look from above and think about how God sees this challenge. Sometimes seeing a challenge from another perspective will give you a solution, an idea, or maybe just patience.
  2. God gave us tools to fix a lot of things. Of course, we can’t fix everything ourselves. Sometimes, we need a friend or battle partner. When you’re up against the wall with a challenge, find a trusted partner and seek their assistance.
  3. We were never made to walk this walk alone.
    Today, I was surprised and amazed by the brilliant and insightful light shined on me from my awesome daughter-in-law. Love comes to us from all places in a million different ways.

Where else in your life can you live out the teachings of Christ? Look for next week’s Devotion.