2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)
"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.""
Grace is one of those TRUTHS that can appear to be elusive and strictly conceptual, almost impossible to bottle up and save in the pantry for a rainy day. But actually, grace is (simply put) need. When we think about need we don't think of great things. To be a person in need or to have a need (as we understand it in Western Civilization) is embarrassing, is low level, is humiliating, is humbling, is failing, is losing. We don't want to be that person who finds themselves in need, we want to be the person who helps the needy, we like that position because it's higher up and makes us feel secure, confident, proud, successful and like a winner; not because these things are true, it's likely because somewhere in our lives we were told and we saw first hand that this is what is acceptable. As Christians, not much is different. We have those needy people who are always behind on their rent and need some money, who are always in and out of the hospital and need prayer for healing, who are struggling with things and need another counseling appointment. We (the church) have adopted the philosophy that those people are our burden or that being a needy person is not in line with the Word. And we would be wrong to continue with this philosophy.
Genesis 1:1-2 (NKJ)
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters."
The word void in the second verse of Genesis 1, is the Hebrew word 'Bohu' which means emptiness. From the start God created all things to have a need. From this place of emptiness, God filled the need and He has been doing so ever since. From Genesis to Revelation, our Father is pretty clear that He desires to be the center of our lives. Not in the center, THE CENTER. And throughout all of the stories and the lessons learned in His word He continually makes our access to all of Him easier and simpler, but for what purpose? Because as mankind has progressed to where it is today, our NEED FOR HIM has increased and has become truly the only constant that we have. So GRACE became THE FINAL and most important part of the story, thanks, of course to Jesus.
Romans 5:20-21 (NKJ)
"Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
See, where we see grace we also see need. Grace abounds because sin abounds and the need for forgiveness and sanctification abounds as well. Grace is divine intervention and the TRUTH is that need is equally divine. From the foundations of all things we are introduced to needs that God easily and readily fulfills. In those early days of earth we read that God supplied humans with dominion and authority over all things, yet their need for Him never left and in fact as life continued and mistakes were made and separations occurred, the need only grew greater; because the more chaos the more we need Him. When all the systems of the world in which we live scream for our acceptance of a lie that says having needs is not a good thing, all that God says and all that Jesus made possible for us speaks quite the opposite. Ephesians 2:8 (NET) “For by GRACE you are saved through FAITH, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God;”
We can see this beautiful concept of Faith and Grace being activated right at our jump into God’s Kingdom. This means that we’ve had this steady divine ebb and flow at our disposal when we were spiritual babies, which also tells us that these things are rudimentary and very simplistic to get into sync with; like learning how to walk, ride a bike or eventually spell our own name. From day one we are introduced to our needs being met by God's supplies as a major part of His Kingdom's principles and if we are introduced to Grace. without the presence of need, lack or weakness we would have no use for it. This takes us straight back to what the Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9 (above, paraphrased), "I celebrate my weaknesses because when I am weak His strength is perfected in me". We, as imperfect humans shouldn't feel ashamed or embarrassed by our neediness, but rather we should see it as a necessity to having the full experience of our loving Heavenly Father's complete supply of all our needs being met. This in turn makes our needs the inspiration for God's Grace in the first place.
Matthew 6:2-4 (NASB)
"So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. but when you give to the poor do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be done in secret.; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."
This of course is Jesus giving instructions on how to do things, that sounds basic to us now, but actually was quite revolutionary back when He said them. This particular instruction sounds real similar to how He operated and the instructions that He gave to those who had received a miracle at His own hands. We mostly view this particular instruction (regarding the poor and needy people) as the way in which it applies to us. We don't want to be seen as bombastic floating around on an air balloon of blessings while tossing our couch change down to people who haven't ascended to our current heights. But this instruction has little to do with us, and that is the point. God is in the business of needs. He loves meeting them, supplying and fulfilling them. So in this particular instruction, Jesus is dropping a major hint our way by pointing out that when it comes to needs being filled, it's NOT US FILLING THEM, it has been, it still is and it always will be Him.
This concept of meeting needs is serious business to God. In fact, He knows our needs before we even have them and grace is abounding at the same rate as the same. Now, we must point out that God can, will and does use anything and anyone to supply those needs and so we aren't advocating that if we have a need we shouldn't tell anyone about it (unless God directs us not to), we also aren't advocating that we should tell as many people as we can so that at least one person can help us (unless God directs us to); so what is the middle ground between the two? GRACE. That's it. Grace. It is sufficient (enough) for anything and everything. Grace is our constant connection with God every minute of every day. We need Him for the duration of our lives and at all times.
Ephesians 4:7 (NASB)
"But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift."
Think about it like this; wouldn’t it be a crazy thing, if God was so far out in front of us that He would provide the impetus of a need, to keep the dynamic tension between supply and demand working in rhythm with His purposes and promises? Then by Him supplying us the actual need (void) that it takes to get His Grace flowing, we learn that He can be counted on to follow through by also supplying that actual fulfillment of our need by His glorious Grace. Philippians 4:19 (RSV)
“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
It still takes a healthy portion of simple child like Faith to access His Grace, so it makes perfect sense that our unique Heavenly Father would either put something Himself, or use one of life’s little somethings, in our way in order to challenge us with a need to obey Him in faith; calling us out of our secure complacency into a wild and woolly first step. Listen, there is an intricate yet surprisingly simple balance between Faith and Grace that must be understood, appreciated and applied so that our transition from need to supply is as smooth and pleasant as God designed for it to be..
Romans 5:1-2 (WEB)
“Being therefore justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; through whom we also have our access by faith into this grace in which we stand. We rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
God has, is and will continue in His quest to bring us closer to Him through many, many ways and this includes EVERY SINGLE NEED that we have. Whether through our own doing or through the seemingly 'luck of the draw' that life dishes out onto us; God is WAITING on the other side with ALL THAT WE NEED and His GRACE will get us there without a doubt. After all, God's original design for all of creation (and especially us humans) was to be fruitful and multiply, thus creating more need for Him and much more GRACE, GRACE, GRACE, GRACE, GRACE.