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Not That We Are Adequate In Ourselves

January 24, 2012

Not That We Are Adequate In Ourselves

People vary greatly in their confidence or lack of confidence.     Some seem to think they are the world’s gift to mankind, capable of doing most anything — all by themselves.     They take great pride in their accomplishments  and full credit for all of their successes.     Then,  there are those, who are so lacking in confidence,  that they are afraid to do anything.     Consequently, they don’t even try to do what they should be doing.

Neither of these are thinking  of their life situations  rightly.

The apostle Paul,  a great preacher  in the early church, had been educated  by the best Jewish teachers  and proudly knew the Old Testament very well.     Consequently,  when he became a Christian,  he was able to see  and thoroughly understand  how the Old Testament  verified that Jesus truly was  the promised Savior.     His bank of knowledge  not only gave him  a very strong faith — it also made him a good teacher,  preacher, and writer of much in the New Testament.

But,  Paul didn’t let any of that go to his head,  because he realized another great truth in God’s word.     In writing  about his preaching and teaching, Paul noted in 2 Corinthians 3:4-6,

And such confidence  we have through Christ toward God.     Not that we are adequate  in ourselves  to consider anything  as coming  from ourselves,  but our adequacy  is from God,  who also made us adequate  as servants  of a new covenant,  not of the letter,  but of the Spirit;  for the letter kills,  but the Spirit  gives life.

Paul did not claim  any  talents or adequacy as his own.     God alone is the one who made Paul adequate for the job.     God had worked through all of Paul’s life, so that he would be thoroughly trained for the job of preaching and teaching about the  “new covenant“.     When Paul was a zealous Jew  learning all the laws of the Old Testament — God was preparing him to be a good teacher.     When Paul  strictly disciplined himself, trying to keep all the Old Testament laws,  and felt his imperfection — God was quietly showing him the impossibility of our being perfect.

Paul needed to feel how  “the letter kills“,  i.e.,  how trying to keep the law perfectly  is so totally impossible,  it just makes a person want to give up.     And then,  Paul needed to experience how  “the Spirit gives life“.     When Paul put his faith in Jesus’ perfection,  he realized he had a whole new life  through the Spirit of God.     It was awesome to be free from the law.

Paul saw how God had been working in his whole life preparing him for preaching.     He couldn’t take any credit for what God had done.     It was God who was adequate in preparing Paul and helping him be all he could be.

Those with no self-confidence also need to see that their adequacy comes from God alone — not from themselves.      Instead of thinking only of themselves,  they need to be looking to God and depending on Him to carry them through what they should be doing.     God is adequate to care for us throughout our whole lives.     Therefore, we willingly praise God for His ability in helping us serve Him  in whatever situation  God has put us in.

It’s good to know  that God is lovingly guiding us  through this life,  so we say,  “Hallelujah!     Lord,  Your ways are so far beyond our imaginations.     Thank You for being so close  and making all things work out  to Your glory  in the end.”

Love,
Margaret

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Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus by the Yupiq Eskimo village of Quinhagak, Alaska

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Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus

A Christian devotional to glorify the LORD of lords and GOD of gods

Pray for our country

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The LORD made this day, let us rejoice and be glad in Him.

Psalm 118:24

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The word of the LORD is tried;

He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.

Psalm 18:30

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Sing for joy in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;

Praise is becoming to the upright.

Psalm 33:1

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How blessed are those who dwell in Thy house!

They are ever praising Thee.

Psalm 84:4

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Just as a father has compassion on his children,

So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.

Psalm 103:13

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O give thanks to the LORD,  for He is good;

For His lovingkindness is everlasting.

Psalm 107:1

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Glory in His holy name;

Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.

Psalm 105:3

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