Heroes of Faith: “Sustaining Grace”
Message by Pastor Kent Munsey - October 7, 2018
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” -2 Corinthians 12:8-10
We are saved by grace, not kept by sweat. The same grace that saved us is at work within us - and it is empowering us to stand. (Romans 5:1-2). Our desire as is not just to make it into heaven by the grace of God, but that we would stand in this all-sufficient grace and do all that God has called us to do.
The Apostle Paul, the author of 2 Corinthians, must have felt like quitting sometimes. He prayed that God would remove the “thorn in his flesh” three times, but God said, “My grace is sufficient.” We know that this thorn was a physical ailment. Some believe that he never fully recovered his vision after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Some believed he suffered from epilepsy. We don’t know exactly what it was, but what we do know is that Paul would have felt tired, troubled and tempted to quit.
If we are going to live out this faith life, we have to stand in God’s grace, and it’s more than enough. The Bible says that when we are tempted, God always makes a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). Temptation is not a sin--even Jesus was tempted. When we are tempted, God empowers us to stand firm by his spirit (Philippians 2:13).
When you live the life of faith, you will get tired sometimes. In life, you’re either climbing or you’re coasting. We often have uphill desires with downhill habits. Climbing requires effort and energy. Coasting doesn’t take much energy, but it leads us downhill.
When we are tired, or exhausted, it is God’s grace that will help you to stand. It is more than enough. Jesus said we can expect to experience hardships in this world, but to take heart because he has overcome the world (John 16:33).
We have not only been saved by grace, but we have also been kept by grace. When we are facing temptation, exhaustion or trouble, it’s not about our will power to stand against it; it’s about God’s power. The life of faith is impossible if we rely on our own ability and our own strength. It is only by Christ’s power in us that we can live the life that God has called us to live.
God has more power available for you. God is all powerful and he doesn’t get tired. Through grace you have access to his power when you feel weak.
What do we do when we are tempted, tired or troubled?
Call out to God. When we call out to him, he will answer us. Scripture says that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Let’s humble ourselves by asking God for help when we need it.
Fill our minds with God’s word. When we know what God says in his word, it strengthens our faith and enables us to stand against temptation and trouble.
Accept support from God’s people. We are not meant to do life alone. When we face hardship, we may be tempted to withdraw from community. Let other people strengthen you and hold you up when you are tired. None of us can do this faith life alone.
Hold onto God’s promises. There are over 7000 promises of God in his word. Lean into his word--it never fails and never returns void (Isaiah 55:11). We can count on God--he is always faithful.
Look up to where our help comes from. David says that he looked up to the hills, to where his help comes from (Psalm 121:1-2). Our help comes from the Lord. He is there to strengthen us, to empower us, and to give us grace when we are tempted, tired or troubled.
We are all recipients of God’s divine grace--the same grace sustains us and empowers us to stand when we are tempted, tired or troubled.
What do you do when you are tempted? Has God ever opened a door of escape for you when you were tempted?
What do you do when you are tired or facing trials in your life of faith?
Have you called out to God in our trouble? Take a few minutes to be honest with God and cry out to him if you’re feeling weary, tempted or troubled.
Have you allowed the people around you to support you? How can you start letting people into your faith-life and allow them to give you grace and strengthen you?
How can you take steps to fill your mind with God’s words and hold onto his promises in the midst of weariness, trouble or temptation this week?