When I was growing up, my dad taught me how to become a self-sufficient man. He had started out with very little—in fact, our first home was a small one-room house—and he went on to become a successful business owner. He believed that when the going got tough you just needed to work hard to succeed and “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.”
My grandfather was a denominational minister who taught me that God was man’s sufficiency. He knew that God had the ability to meet our needs, but he was also taught that we needed to be tested with hardship in order to appreciate the future blessings of heaven. He believed that when the going got tough, you endured your lack of sufficiency as part of God’s plan.
Both Dad and Grandfather were wonderful men that I looked up to. I learned the value of hard work from my father and the value of looking to God from my grandfather. But when the going got tough, I wondered, Is God our sufficiency, or are we just supposed to figure out life on our own?
It wasn’t until I took The Way International’s foundational Biblical research class that I realized the truth about the sufficiency of God. I learned that the Word of God is the will of God—He means what He says and says what He means. I learned that to receive God’s sufficiency, we do our part: we find the promise of God that meets our need and we believe it. Then God does His part—He brings His Word to pass. We receive His blessings in the here and now as well as in the hereafter.
God is our sufficiency in every realm of life. Not only does He supply our need, He blesses us with an abundance from which we can give to others. Living with this quality of life begins with learning what is available from God and then how to receive it.
That’s what we’ll do in this article. First we’ll see what things God has made available to us both spiritually and physically. Then we’ll explore practical keys that will help us to receive those benefits. II Corinthians 3:5 sets the foundation for our study and establishes the truth regarding the origin of all sufficiency.
II Corinthians 3:5:
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.
“Sufficient” means “enough to meet the needs of a situation or a proposed end.” To say we have sufficiency in a category of life implies that the supply actually meets the need. Identifying a need is one thing, but getting it met is quite another matter. This verse gets to the heart of the issue and establishes the truth that our sufficiency is of God. He’s our Source of supply!
God has given us all things necessary for a more abundant life. As my dad taught me, working hard and being a self-starter are truly admirable qualities. But the world’s concept of self-sufficiency is a misconception. On this point, Grandfather was right. When we recognize God as our Source of supply, we can be confident that His resources and abundance are available to us in any and every situation. II Corinthians 9 sheds more light on the extent of God’s sufficiency.
II Corinthians 9:8:
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.
Note how many times the words “all” and “every” are used in this verse. This repetition is a figure of speech. It calls our attention to the magnitude of the blessings of God that will abound toward us as we believe His Word. This promise of God’s sufficiency is set within the context of giving and receiving. God makes all grace abound toward us so that we, in turn, can abound to every good work. That seems good in theory, but what about in practice? Let’s go to the Word and see what God’s sufficiency includes.
The first thing I do when studying the Word of God in detail is to check The Way International Publications Scripture Index. With it I can quickly locate anything in the ministry’s publications related to a specific section of scripture. For example, when I looked up II Corinthians 3:5 to begin my research on the sufficiency of God, I was directed to Volume IV of Studies in Abundant Living, God’s Magnified Word. This book contains a wonderful chapter entitled “God Is Our Sufficiency,” where we learn that God’s first priority is giving us a spiritual abundance. Let’s see some of the elements that make up our spiritual sufficiency.
And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.
When I think of completeness, I’m reminded of an incident with my mother. She loved jigsaw puzzles, and I remember the time she bought one with 3,000 pieces. It was a picture of a mountain scene that when assembled covered an area larger than ten square feet. She even put a special table in the guest room so that she could work on it undisturbed. Weeks passed, and slowly it began to take shape.
Then one evening, she called the family in so that we could watch her put in the last handful of pieces. She snapped number 2,999 into place and reached into the box to get piece 3,000 when a concerned look came over her face. The last piece of the puzzle, the one that would complete her masterpiece, was nowhere to be found! We looked everywhere, but in the end that big, beautiful mountain scene was incomplete. It had a jagged hole in one of its peaks because one piece out of 3,000 was missing.
What if God told us we weren’t complete? We’d be like that defective puzzle. If we lacked even one thing spiritually, we’d be deficient in Christ, but thank God that’s not the case! When we are born again of God’s spirit, we receive Christ in us, the hope of glory. Everything that God is in Christ is in us—that’s the basis of our completeness. In fact, the Aramaic text of Colossians 2:10 says, “We are completely, completely, absolutely complete in him!” We certainly aren’t lacking anything spiritually….
This is an excerpt from the July/August 2007 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2007 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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