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Not That We Are Adequate in Ourselves

February 5, 2020


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.”




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


see the calendar in the right hand column

for past devotional posts.


Pray for our country.


This is the day which the LORD has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24


The word of the LORD is tried;
He is a shield  to all  who take refuge  in Him.
Psalm 18:30


Sing for joy in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;
Praise is becoming  to the upright.
Psalm 33:1


How blessed are those  who dwell in Thy house!
They are ever praising Thee.
Psalm 84:4


Just as a father has compassion  on his children,
So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
Psalm 103:13


Oh give thanks to the LORD,  for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 107:1


Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad.
Psalm 105:3


Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that
I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12






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