THORNY LIFE? THERE'S A GRACE FOR THAT.

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By: Tony Mancina

A dear friend of mine told me of a dream she had while preparing to speak at an event. She shared that in the dream, “I was approaching a window at a loading dock, carrying a shopping bag with GRACE written on the side.  The woman at the window said, looking at the bag, is this all you want?  Suddenly I heard a noise and turned to see a large semi-truck backing up to the window!  How much Grace do you want?  It's without measure!” Grace without measure, that's how our Father gives it to us. Paul states it this way to the Corinthians - a very carnal, fleshly group of believers, "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound in every good work."  

He told them that God has the authority, capability, and desire to give us as much grace that is needed; to abound or overflow with it at all times having everything needed to live a life overflowing with good works.  It was God's grace that was going to give them the tools to overcome the carnal nature that was in opposition to the nature of God.  Unfortunately many of us have been exposed to a grace theology that allows us to come as we are and receive salvation by grace, but then from that point on, it's up to us to clean up our lives and present ourselves acceptable. That's not what Paul was instructing the Corinthian CHURCH. Yes! Paul was talking to Christians who needed the work of grace not just as access for eternal security but as a means to live victoriously in every facet of life.  

In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul speaks of how access to grace without measure impacts some of the difficult relationships in his life.  Lets face it, relationships are some of the most trying places of our lives and where the biggest messes are made.  We will always have people who both love and hate us, or those who are simply well meaning in their perspective of us, but lack understanding due to jealousy or immaturity. Paul described them as "thorns in the flesh". Satan uses them to aggravate, stir up, and even puff up our flesh. It was so evident to Paul that he asked the Lord three times to remove these types of people out of his life. God's answer: "My grace is sufficient".  God was telling Paul that His grace  (God's given ability to help us become someone we are incapable of becoming) was Paul's power to conquer the attack. God’s perspective about any situation is that grace without measure will always be the solution. Paul continued by saying “as a result of that I will rejoice when that attack comes because I can count on the fact that God's grace will be present to deliver me from the frustrations of the thorns.” Paul refers to this as “glorying in his infirmities”. By a conscience act of his will, Paul embraces grace to help him to rise above the "thorn”. This grace is available at any given moment when the flesh is being tempted to react to these situations.

Remember as we continue to release the Kingdom to the world around us, there will always be those relationship "thorns" to navigate through. This is exactly the time we need to be reminded that grace is always without measure, which leads us to know that "His grace is (and will continue to be) sufficient". 

Just a thought, 
Tony Mancina