"9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (2 Corinthians 12: 9-10)
I admit that I do not like to be attacked. I want to be loved and accepted.
Those two desires are man's greatest needs, by the way. Fame and forture are cliched to the end. I want to know that I am OK, that I owe no man anything.
The sense of reproach in all of us, however, cannot be removed with all the effort and well-wishing of other people.
We need life, and that more abundantly.
"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10: 10)
This life comes from one Person: Jesus:
"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14: 6)
I want to be loved and respected, and if I do the attacking, I want to get away with it.
Jesus has given us this acceptance:
"To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved." (Ephesians 1: 6)
"But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: (Ephesians 2: 4-6)
I have spent a long time trying to understand this passage.
God's grace is sufficient for us.
In fact, we have everything because of His grace:
"But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." (1 Corinthians 15: 10)
This grace is not a one time deal, but something which Jesus invites us to keep receiving:
"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive [lit. are receiving] abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Romans 5: 17)
This grace is not a one time deal, even when we first lezrn that Jesus came bringing grace and truth as one within Himself:
"And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace." (John 1: 16)
Literally, we have received "grace against grace" or "grace in place of grace," like the waves of the ocean gently hitting against a beach coastline.
This grace is more than I can take in in one day. I am not expected to coast on the grace which I received in times past, either, but we are all invited to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 Peter 3: 18), and the grace of God increases in our lives as we know Jesus more (2 Peter 1: 2)
This grace indicates clearly that everything we have, we have not earned, but we receive as we believe on Him whom the Father has sent, not only to die for us, but to be the Mercy Seat (1 John 1: 7), the forever payment for our sins (1 John 2: 2), and that we may live through Him (1 John 4: 9)