This weekend I had the tremendous privilege to get away to spend time reflecting, praying, writing and meeting several wonderful new people on a similar journey. I am thankful to God for clarity of direction and encouragement.
Before I left for the weekend, I read 2 Corinthians 3 as a part of my daily Scripture reading. Verses 4-6 say,
“Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (ESV)
My natural tendency is to take pride in my self-reliance and independence. I take pride in being a sufficient, independent and responsible woman. And in many aspects of life, those are amazing traits that I am so thankful were instilled in me. But, when it comes to pursuing a call God has placed on my life, those prideful feelings can be detrimental.
The negative side to those tendencies is to jump into something God has called you to head on and in your own strength. The results of that is often burn out, frustration, fruitlessness and failure. But Paul says, “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God…”
Of all people, Paul could claim sufficiency in himself. He was a chief Pharisee, an intellectual, skilled in the law, a successful church planter and a deep theologian who could clearly communicate God’s message. He, of all people, could have easily fallen into the trap of thinking that he was sufficient and competent because of his own strength and gift.
But, that’s not his attitude as he approaches the Corinthians in this passage. In the previous verses, he explained that he had written the Gospel on their hearts and that they were a living testimony of the Spirit’s work through him, among them. He could easily have left the explanation there. Instead, he goes on to explain that the confidence he has to do the work of the Gospel among them doesn’t come from something he’s conjured up in himself, but the confidence he has came through Christ.
He goes on to explain that not only does his confidence come from God but that his sufficiency and his ability to complete the work has nothing to do with him. His sufficiency, his competency, his ability comes from God who has made him sufficient through the Spirit.
I know what God is calling me to do. What is He calling you to do right now? Do you feel completely incompetent to complete the task? Or, do you feel like you can muster up enough moxie and strength to do it on your own? Neither ends of that spectrum is going to allow the Spirit to do God’s good work in you.
Until you and I remember that our sufficiency comes from God alone, we will never be able to obediently and successfully execute the tasks to which He’s called us. My prayer is that I would sink deeply into God’s ability to make me competent and able. I beg as the psalmist does in Psalm 90:17, “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!” (ESV)