Transformation Garden - August 26, 2011

 

“And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter….”
Judges 11: 33
King James Version

EXPLORATION

“A Daughter Remembered” Part VI
“When You Think You’re Sufficient”

“I clearly recognize that all good is in God alone, and that in me, without Divine Grace, there is nothing but deficiency…The one sole thing in myself in which I glory, is that I see in myself nothing in which I can glory.”
Catherine of Genoa

Do I ever believe I have the sufficiency to carry myself through the problems I have each day?

Is there a time in my life when I didn’t feel “sufficient” to meet the task I faced?

“The first step to self-knowledge is self-distrust.”
J.C. and A. W. Hare

INSPIRATION

“I plant geraniums.  I tie up my hair into loose braids, and trust only what I have built with my own hands.”
Lorna Dee Cervantes

As I read these words, I thought back upon the many times in my life that I put my trust in the things I did myself.  I’ve got this very independent nature, and I have often said, on more than one occasion, “Don’t help me – I can do it myself!”

Yet, at just the moment when I felt I was on the pinnacle of sufficiency, BOOM, I fell flat!

Yesterday in our continuing study of “A Daughter Remembered,” we learned how selfishness is often at the root of the missteps in our lives.

Today, we will look at another characteristic that can totally undermine our lives. It is the quality of feeling we are totally self-sufficient.  The dictionary describes this word as a quality which allows us to believe we’ve got it all together.

You know the feeling!  It can be described this way, “Leave me alone, I can do it myself.  I don’t need you at all.”

The dictionary defines “sufficiency” as enough, competent, adequate, and finally – qualified.

These are all great words, but if someone told me I was only “adequate,” I’m not certain their words would be welcomed.

If you are like I, I want, with God’s help, to step up to a higher level of effectiveness based not on my sufficiency, but God’s.

Writing to the members of the church in Corinth many years ago, the Apostle Paul penned these timely words: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God” (II Corinthians 3: 5, K.J.V.). In this text the word sufficiency means, “ample.”  It is as though in the first phrase Paul is making the point that the sufficiency you and I as individuals have is only enough to barely get us by.

But a few chapters over in II Corinthians 12: 9, when the Apostle Paul, worn down to the bone by a “thorn in the flesh,” some problem or challenge or heartache that had nearly driven him into the ground, he decided to ask God to please, please, please (three times) take away this plague and God replied, “My grace is sufficient for thee” (II Corinthians 12: 9).

And guess what?  The word “sufficient,” as used in this text to describe God’s bountiful blessings, is not the same as the “sufficiency” that we have which is only “ample” or barely enough.  Instead, God’s sufficiency raises a barrier around us that wards off all that will not bring us ultimate contentment.  Rather than having my adequate sufficiency, I can count on God’s sufficiency which He promises is more than enough!

Unfortunately, you and I too often act like Jephthah who somewhere along the way began to believe that his military skill and his vows were all the sufficiency he needed, and oh, how woeful, the results when we begin to believe the self-promotion about ourselves.  How soon the mighty fall!  This is what happened to Jephthah.  He fell hard and took his family down with him.

Self-sufficiency – that quality which makes us think we are smarter, stronger and wiser.  The trait that the devil threw in Jesus’ face when in the wilderness of temptation he tossed these words out, “Prove yourself. If you are who you say you are, show me how self-sufficient you are.”  Jesus didn’t fall for the devil’s line and today, through His power, you and I don’t have to either.

Let’s rely on our Father’s sufficiency which is an ever-flowing fountain, filling and refilling our lives to overflowing.

As I was preparing our devotional today, I pulled from one of my folders the words to a song, sent to me by one of God’s Transformation Garden daughters.  Her name is Audrey and she lives in South Africa.  Although I’ve never met Audrey, we know we are sisters – we feel it in our hearts and a few weeks ago when I received her email, I knew the words to this song would make a perfect Affirmation and today is the day. When you feel that your “sufficiency” is lacking or just adequate, I encourage you to tap into the fountain that never runs dry.  A fountain that will fill you to overflowing.

“Your sufficiency is in God.”
Joseph B. Lightfoot

AFFIRMATIONS

“God is not in need of anything, but all things are in need of Him.”
Marcianus Aristides

“God’s Sufficiency”

“I’ve never made a fortune
And its probably too late now,
But I don’t worry about that much
I’m happy anyhow.

And as I go along life’s way
I’m reaping better than I sow.
I’m drinking from my saucer
‘Cause my cup has overflowed!

Haven’t got a lot of riches
And sometimes the going’s tough,
But I’ve got loving ones around me
And that makes me rich enough.

I thank God for His blessings
And the mercies He’s bestowed.
I’m drinking from my saucer
‘Cause my cup has overflowed!

Oh, I remember times when things went wrong
And my faith wore somewhat thin.
But all at once the dark clouds broke
And sun peeped through again.

So Lord, help me not to gripe
About the tough rows that I’ve hoed.
I’m drinking from my saucer
‘Cause my cup has overflowed!

If God gives me strength and courage
When the way grows steep and rough,
I’ll not ask for other blessings
I’m already blessed enough.

And may I never be too busy
To help others bear their loads,
Then I’ll keep drinking from my saucer
‘Cause my cup has overflowed!”

Michael Combs

Your friend,

Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
Available where books are sold
and at Amazon.com and Christianbooks.com
[email protected]

For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.

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