Summary: We must learn to lean on God even when things are difficult and we do not like them...
The illustrations in this sermon were found here on Sermoncentral.com.
2 Cor 12:7b-12 (NASB)
7b for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!
8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.
9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
In our passage this morning, God informed Paul that His grace was sufficient for him to survive and for him to lean on God for strength and that even in Paul’s weakness, he is made strong through the grace of God and the sufficiency of God.
This morning I want to ask the question… Are you living a life that is leaning on the sufficiency of God? Or do you only trust in what you can see or touch? Let me give you an example…
A college student was assigned to give an illustrated speech to his class. He knew that he was going to be graded on creativity and ability to drive home a point in a memorable way. So he chose a subject and the title of his speech was, “The Law of the Pendulum.”
He spent 20 minutes carefully teaching the scientific principle that governs a swinging pendulum. Basically he told them that the law of the pendulum is that a pendulum can never return to a point higher than the point from which it was released.
This is because of friction and gravity! When the pendulum swings back, it will always fall short of its original release point. And each time it swings the arc will grow smaller and smaller, until finally it stops. This stopping point is called the state of equilibrium, where all forces acting on the pendulum are equal.
For his illustration the young man attached a three-foot string to a wooden block and secured it to the top the blackboard with a thumbtack. He pulled the top to one side and made a mark on the blackboard where he let it go.
Each time it swung back he made a new mark. It took less than a minute for the top to complete its swinging and come to rest. When he finished the demonstration, the markings on the blackboard proved the law of the pendulum.
At this point, the student asked how many in the room believed in the law of the pendulum and that it was true. All of his classmates raised their hands and so did his teacher. Thinking the young man was finished, the teacher started to walk to the front of the room.
But actually class had only just begun! In this classroom hung a large crude, but functional pendulum weighing about 250 lbs. The student invited the instructor to climb up on a table and sit in a chair with back of his head against a cement wall. Then the student brought the 250 pounds of metal up to the teachers’ nose.
Holding the huge pendulum just a fraction of an inch from the teacher’s face, the student once again explained the law of the pendulum he had explained before.
He said, “If the law of the pendulum is true, then when I release this mass of metal, it will swing across the room and return short of the release point. Your nose will be in no danger.”
The student looked his teacher in the eye and asked, “Sir, do you believe this law is true?” There was silence and beads of sweat that were forming on his upper lip and then weakly the teacher nodded and whispered, “Yes.”
The student released the pendulum. It made a swishing sound as it arced across the room. At the far end of its swing, it paused momentarily and started back.
The student later recalled that he had never seen a man move so fast in his entire life as the teacher dove out of the chair and onto the floor (Ken Davis, How To Speak To Youth, pp104-106).
It was easy for this teacher to believe in the law of the pendulum when it was all theory. But when his life literally depended on the law of the pendulum he showed that his belief was only theoretical.
Is that not how many of us are when it comes to living the life God has called us to live?
It is SO easy for us to believe in God’s sufficiency in the church on Sunday morning or in a Bible study. It is easy to say YES I rely on God, fully and totally when things in life are going well…