The Expository Files


Our Adequacy is From God
"Such confidence we have through Christ"

2 Corinthians 3:4,5

There was a movie several years ago about the early days of NASA and the men selected to be astronauts. The movie was called "The Right Stuff", the title referring to the qualities needed to be successful as astronauts. We, too, want to have "the right stuff" for our lives: for our loved ones; family and friends. For our jobs. For the various problems we face in life. Hopefully, most important of all, we want to have "the right stuff" in relation to our God and our souls and eternity. In fact, many of these other concerns in life relate to whether we have "the right stuff" with respect to God. Note the source of confidence for early disciples of Jesus, as expressed by Paul: "Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God," (2 Corinthians 3:4,5).

We do not like failing. We do not like to feel insufficient. This is especially so concerning the things most important to us. People sometimes fail to act because they are afraid of failure and its consequences. We want to have "enough" of all the things in life that matter. The fear of failure is really the fear of insufficiency or inadequacy.

Thank God, the only time the Christian really needs to fear "failure" is when he or she fails to trust God for his or her adequacy - when he tries to "go it alone" and distance himself or herself from God. This may not be a complete falling away from God. It could be that a regular "church-goer" keeps God too distant from the daily routines of his life.

Notice Paul's attitude - especially remarkable in view of the hardships in his life -(2 Corinthians 1:8-11; 12:7-10; Philippians 4:12,13). In these passages we learn that our adequacy does not come from an absence of problems and obstacles we must face in life. But rather, and even in the midst of trials, our adequacy to survive and ultimately to conquer is from God. This principle applies to many important needs.

"I Need That!"
Financial "security" is important - we do not want to be destitute or to have to be dependent on others. Anxiety is both physically and spiritually unhealthy. In fact, it is sinful. God has promised to supply our needs - "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33; see vss. 25-34).

This promise is a truism; something that is ordinarily the way things work. Righteous living means hard and honest work, and that is usually rewarded with adequate compensation. Of course, there are exceptions. A righteous person could be thrown into prison for his faith. He could be deprived of life's basic needs as a result of persecution. But under normal circumstances, righteous honesty promotes a good measure of financial security.
Most of us have much more than what is necessary. Even if we complain about bills and not all our plans turn out, we must admit that. Faith in God helps us to defeat anxiety in good times and bad. That is good for us in every way.

Health and a Long Life
God cares for His people - (Philippians 2:25-27; 3 John 2). Notice this truism: "Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth." (Ephesians 6:2-3). Again, there are exceptions. An obedient child can be involved in an accident. There are horribly bad parents in the world that actually hurt their children. But those are exceptions. Usually, it is the case that parents love their children, want what is best for them, and will help them make good decisions for themselves.

Faithful men and women have lost their health and lives for their faith Even this does not take away our sense of adequacy from God! Why not? Because of the resurrection and hope of eternal life (Matthew 10:28-31; John 5:28-29; 11:25).

They Like Me!
Some are driven by a desire for fame, while others aspire to power and influence. Some much too much!

All of us, however, want to be respected by those who are important to us. None of us wants to be a "nobody" - we all feel sorry for the fellow whose funeral no one attends. Right away, a joyful fellowship with others in Christ as expressed in the local congregation ought to be an esteem builder. To be surrounded by caring brethren who value you is helpful. We should all desire and work to build one another up, and to be built up in Christ.

Those of faith are those to whom the Lord grants "favor" - (Genesis 39:2-4; Exodus 3:21). God will see to our "exaltation" - (James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6,7). This will be the most important moment in history; as eternity begins. When the Lord chooses those who have lived by faith with whom to share His glory, all the esteem will belong to His chosen ones, from that point, and forevermore.

Adequate for Life and Death and Life Again!
There are so many facets of the adequacy with which the Lord grants His servants. There is strength to resist temptation. If one is concerned about being adequate to live the Christian life, be assured of God's help! There is nothing God wants us to do that He will not help us do. He is on our side - (John 10:28,29; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Jude 24).

We have the ability to serve in God's purpose for our lives. God will supply our wisdom - (James 1:5). Remember our text! God will supply our adequacy - (2 Corinthians 3:4,5. Cf. 1 Corinthians 3:7). God will bestow His grace upon us to do His work - (2 Corinthians 8:1,2; 9:6-11; Philippians 4:19).

We are adequate to make a response to God that will result in His saving us by grace. God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves - (Romans 5:6; 8:31,32). Through Christ, the Christian overcomes - (John 16:33; 1 John 5:4,5; Revelation 12:7-11; 19:11-16)

We will never have a genuine need that God cannot fill. Most of us will not really learn that God is all we need until we are faced with a situation in which God is all we have. We worship a God who is "able" - (Ephesians 3:20,21). We must be willing to trust Him!

By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 15.12; December 2008