I want to end my series of posts on 2 Cor. 12:7-10 by telling you a funny story about me. Now I grew up around people who loved playing golf. My Dad gave me a set of clubs when I was a kid and I would often find myself in the front yard playing with them. When I married Holly, I married the daughter of a golf pro, and because of his grace, Holly and I can play whenever I ask. One time recently I was out there playing a round with some friends and I was having a great time. After the first six holes I was beating my friends with a score of 3 over par, and I was astonished at how good I was playing. But then, the next 12 holes came and I found myself getting an 8 on one hole, 9 on the next, and so on until the end when I finished with a 125!
My game went from awesome (in my rookie opinion) to rock bottom when I ended the 6th hole and began the 7th. What happened! I always want a trouble-free round of golf and I got a trouble-filled round that day. I was seriously frustrated at myself for playing so poorly when I know I can play so much better. It wasn’t until later in that round that God began to teach me a lesson through this golf outing.
He began to impress upon me that my spiritual life has a strange resemblance to my golf game in that they can both be summarized by the word “inconsistent.” My mind went immediately to Romans 7 where Paul speaks of his own personal struggles in holiness and godly living. In that chapter Paul describes what we all know is true of ourselves in 7:19, “For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” What do we do with such a life of inconsistency before God? I so often feel I am the man James 1:6 and Ephesians 4:14 describes being a wave of the sea, tossed to and fro. How can someone like me ever be confident before God? Well, I am confident that I’m not the only who feels like that either. I’m sure most of you feel this too. David Brainerd the Puritan missionary said it like this: “No poor creature stands in need of divine grace more than I, and none abuse it more than I have done, and still do.” Paul answers Romans 7:19 later in 7:24-25, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Why praise God for Jesus? Because He became what He was not (sin) so that we could become what we were not (rightoues). Because we who are inconsistent can be consistent before God because Jesus was consistent before God on our behalf. There’s no confidence more solid.
Friends, I really do want you to be confident people, but I want you to confident in a Biblical manner as oposed to an vague Western confidence rooted in self-esteem. Paul was made weak by God so God could be seen as strong through Paul’s life, and he rejoiced at this. My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. When I am weak, then I am strong. He knew his own weakness, he knew his Savior’s strength. Do you?