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. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
We traveled to Scotland and saw this Scottish mist hanging over Loch Ness. In the foreground, and to your right, was an old Scottish castle.
Imagine trying to gather that Scottish mist and build a new castle out of it. That’s what it’s like to try to use what is inside of ourselves to build up our own faith.
During a podcast on Ephesians 1, Bryan Chapell said some powerful things about how faith can increase. He explained how futile it is to try to conjure faith on our own when our faith is suffering a blockage.
How does blocked faith get released? We start by thinking that it’s mainly our responsibility. If only we could figure out what kind of thing inside of us needs to change. But – here’s the secret – we are in desperate need of something outside of us.
Think of a stream that until very recently has been blockaded by a beaver dam. If I were downstream from the dam while it was blocked I would be quite dry. If I tried to dig a deeper channel on that side of the dam it would do no good.
Yet, just upstream is a huge reserve.
What is the remedy? I need someone to come and bust open the dam.………Look at the picture below: someone has exploded some breeches in the dam!
See the sluices of water coming through now? This is a picture of what happens when there is a grace breakthrough in our lives.
It symbolizes how we are ineffective unless God does something to fix the problem. God, acting by grace, opens a channel of grace into the foundation of our hearts. That’s not faith we build up– instead we say “I can’t do it! You have to do it!”
A bad circumstance? A trial? Something happens that makes no sense? A common reaction: “If I am strong enough, then I can bear it.” Not true! I need to see God’s power.
Once we have our grace breakthrough, we might think that grace and faith means God must fix the circumstance. Sometimes he does. But even more important is what our response is, how we react even if God does not fix the circumstance. So, a huge paradox of increased faith is that I see my own insufficiency —- and once I see that I get filled up with even more grace! Then I appreciate more deeply how his grace is sufficient for me.