It is not uncommon that Christians feel troubled about their struggle to fulfil their Christian calling to live a holy and God-pleasing life. Are you also feeling inadequate and helpless to be a faithful and fruitful Christian? Do you think Christian life and ministry surpass your human abilities and powers? Do the challenges and goals of Christian life and ministry appear daunting before you?
Feelings of inadequacy, resulting in doubt and anxiety, are typical of everyone who cherishes a genuine desire to do the will of God and please Him. Such was the apostle Paul’s concern. That great hero of faith made repeated assertions about his insufficiency. He asked in 2 Corinthians 2:16b, “And who is sufficient for these things?” He also wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:5, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God”.
Paul’s sense of his personal insufficiency was an all-pervasive view of his life. When he said, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves” (cf. 2 Cor. 4:7), he was attesting to his total inability in the matters of Christian life and ministry. Brethren, there is no greater folly than to think that we possess the power to attain supreme spiritual heights within ourselves. Wise is the man who readily acknowledges – “O, how little is my sufficiency!”
“But our sufficiency,” says Paul, “is of God.” (2 Corinthians 3:5b). So, the answer to the question, “Who is sufficient for these things?”, is all who trust in God, who is our sufficiency. In God, we have all sufficiency. In Him is all the wisdom, all the thoughts, all the love, all the power, and all the conquering energy which every devoted and serving Christian needs. His own inadequacy and lack of human resources turned Paul into an empty vessel that is to be filled with divine power and goodness for the blessed ministry of the Gospel. Paul did not rely on his natural abilities to accomplish his ministry. Instead, he ministered, trusting in divine empowerment. So, he wrote, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Cor. 2:4).
That our sufficiency should be of God is infinitely better than if it were of ourselves, for then our sufficiency cannot be questioned, doubted, interrupted, or depleted. If we had to bear all the burdens and challenges, we would soon be undone. But now, we are like a child who travels with his father, and his father pays for everything. Like a child who draws all his needs from his father’s constant provision, we must draw upon the inexhaustible resources of God so that we may be well-furnished to fulfil all our Christian responsibilities and duties.
We can now expect to live a peaceful and princely life; our heavenly Father will provide for us from His all-sufficiency. Our sufficiency is of God; let us practically enjoy this truth. Like Paul, let us also learn to live by drawing on the Lord’s ever-sufficient grace. Consider Paul’s testimony in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
“We are poor, leaking vessels,” Charles Spurgeon wrote, “and the only way for us to keep full is to put our pitcher under the perpetual flow of His boundless grace. Then, despite its leakage, the cup will always be full to the brim.” Our sufficiency is of God! When it comes to God’s work, such as evangelism, we know we have no power to reach souls and save them. One might cry, “I feel it is a work too hard for me. I do not feel I’m able to win a soul.” Let him also continue to remember the truth that “our sufficiency is of God.”
Brethren, if God sends us, He will go with us to help us accomplish His work. When God calls a man to preach and gives him a message to deliver, He will also prepare the ears and hearts to hear and believe the message. He, who has called us, is able to fulfil the work He has begun in us (Phil 1:6). O, how blessed are those words for every servant of Christ working for His dear name: “Our sufficiency is of God!”
(William Lee’s testimony of God’s gracious work in the salvation of his mother, Mdm Kong Mok Kum, before calling her home on 19 Jan 2024.)
When my mother was hospitalised in July 2020, she told me she wanted to have a Christian funeral service when she died. I explained to her that before a minister can conduct a Christian funeral for her, she must first accept Jesus as her Saviour. I also told her it would be a burial and not a cremation. She understood, agreed and accepted the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She reaffirmed her faith when Pastor Koshy and Pr Daniel Lim visited her in the hospital, and she was baptised on 1 Aug 2020.
Over the next three years, she grew spiritually from faith to faith. When told she had cancer in September 2023, it did not devastate her because her faith was strong, and she knew that this was the beginning of a journey towards her eternal home in Heaven. She knew she must persevere through the suffering of pain as her body grew weaker physically. But God has been merciful to grant her grace to endure and hope to look towards the day when she closes her eyes for the last time on this earth and enters Heaven with joy unspeakable, beholding Jesus Christ, who loved and saved her. Revelation 21:4 says, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
She has gone to a place that the Lord Jesus has prepared for her (John 14:3), where there will be no more darkness, suffering, pain and death. Up in Heaven, she shall join my father, and all who like them have accepted Christ as their personal Saviour and Lord, and have gone ahead much earlier to glorify Him in ceaseless praise.