This is part of what I’ll be presenting tonight in our Wednesday study of James (God willing).  What is presented below is a side study to James 3:16-4:4.  What is found below is from my teaching notes.

brat.jpgOne of the easiest ways to determine if you are walking with God and maturing in the faith is CONTENTMENT.  Before we look in depth at this passage, let’s take a look at contentment.

  2 Corinthians 12:7 So to keep me from being too elated by the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Vs 7.  Note the reason for Paul’s difficulties.  Note Paul’s description of the source.  Application: The situations God allows into our lives (He has veto power over Satan’s desires) are always for our good!  This is an important perspective to keep in mind about everything that happens to us.  They are always for our good (Ro 8:28-29).  “Just because we don’t see how something can be good doesn’t mean it isn’t good” (Tim Keller).

Vs 8.  Note that God doesn’t always answer our prayer the way we want.  Note that a “no” answer to prayer does NOT mean God is displeased with us.  Compare this with Ro 8:32.

Vs 9a.  Note that God gives us what we would have asked for if we knew everything He knows.  God loves us too much to give us anything that isn’t for our ultimate good! 

Vs 9b.  “My grace IS sufficient.”  Not “was,” the past is over & nothing can be done about it.  Not “will be,” tomorrow may never come.  The word is “IS.”  What we need, when we need it, in the amount we need will be given.

Vs 9c.  The weaker we are, the more of God’s power we receive!  It’s like a thermostat.  The colder life treats us, the more heat God generates in our life to sustain us.

Vs 9d.  If we want God’s power to be greater in our lives, then we must learn that it comes through weakness, trials, difficulty, and problems.  THAT is when we realize, see, & experience God’s power.  We usually recognize God’s sustaining power IN RETROSPECT… after the event is over.  Paul had the ability to recognize God’s power in his life IN THE MOMENT.  And that should be our prayer… “God, let me see your hand in the midst of hardship!”

Vs 10a.  “For the sake of Christ.”  Life is not about us!!  It is all about God & Jesus being glorified IN and THRU us!  This happens as WE experience God’s power AND as others see God’s power in us they are drawn to the one who sustains us.  This is the evangelism of pain & suffering.  Those things aren’t fun (See Heb 12:6, 11), but they are the means God has chosen to use to encourage us and conform us into the image of Christ.

Vs 10b.  “I am content.”  Content b/c Jesus is being glorified.  Content b/c thru weakness strength is multiplied.  Content b/c weakness is the only way to strength!

May God help us to have His perspective on our difficulties.  May we be content with Christ alone for He is our life!