Here’s another devotional written by my wonderful friend, Patricia Knight. I know you’ll appreciate this one as much as I do!
By Patricia Knight
“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” —2 Corinthians 12:9, NAS
At the end of his life and his remarkable career, the apostle Paul turned his responsibilities over to Timothy, his friend and co-worker for Christ. Paul expressed self-satisfaction with serving God and promoting His Gospel; he had totally depended on his Lord’s leadership and power. He carried God’s love throughout most parts of the known world, on four missionary journeys. Paul’s ministry work for His Lord was impeccable.
After being stripped and beaten, then thrown in a dark, dank jail where his feet were secured in stocks as an added measure of security, Paul gave thanks and sang hymns. From inside another jail he wrote letters to encourage fellow Christians, the same Gospel letters that minister to us today in God’s Word.
Paul asked God repeatedly to remove his “thorn in the flesh,” a particularly burdensome physical problem. Instead of curing Paul, God answered that He would convert Paul’s weakness to His sovereign strength. We do not know to what extent Paul’s physical problem interfered with his endurance, but we are aware that Paul remained steadfast in his faith and service to His Lord, daily buoyed and empowered by God’s strength. Paul was determined to boast about his own weaknesses so that Christ’s power could be glorified in his life. Today, God is faithful to convert our weakness into His strength, just as He did for Paul centuries ago.
Humble obedience is God’s intent for us. Whatever our plight in this life, we are commanded to enthusiastically accomplish God’s work. Using our unique abilities, God delights in custom designing a personal service plan for everyone who loves Him.
“Few Christians finish well” is a haunting prediction. Let us not allow that warning to come to fruition in our lives. By maintaining tenacity of faith and service to God throughout our lives, in the end, like Paul, we can claim, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Though Paul readily identified God as his Source of strength, he also persevered during hardship, allowing God’s power to burst through his circumstances.
Our gift of eternal life is secured by grace, not by works. As a result, our good deeds for God and our fellow men spill over as a natural outpouring of our faith. “Faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26). Paul knew that truth and so do we. Why not practice with discipline that which we know to be true, and finish our life well, with a remarkable career for Christ?
Thank you again, Pat! What a blessing you are in my life!