Paul’s Three Nots
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves, . . . but our sufficiency is from God. 2 Corinthians 3:5.
Therefore we do not lose heart. . . . The inward man is being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16.
We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. 2 Corinthians 4:18.
The apostle Paul was absorbed with Christ. In these passages he eloquently proclaims three “nots.” In the first “not,” the apostle declares that “We are not sufficient.”
The word “sufficient,” as defined by Webster’s New American Dictionary, means “adequate to accomplish a purpose or meet a need.” It can also be defined as “capable of” or “able to do.” Christ is the only one who can meet our deepest needs. Any attempt to meet the inmost needs of the soul outside of Christ is destined for bitter failure. Pleasure cannot satisfy our soul hunger. Popularity can’t do it. Prestige can’t accomplish it. Power won’t meet the heart’s needs. Only Jesus can truly satisfy. He is our sufficiency. Neither are we sufficient to save ourselves or fight the battle with our adversary alone. As the apostle states, “Our sufficiency is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5). Christ is our sufficiency. He is also our source of confidence.
In Paul’s second “not,” he exclaims that we do not lose heart. Our outward person may perish. Sickness may afflict us. Disease may ravage our frame. Old age may take its toll. Heart disease, cancer, or diabetes may devastate our body. In spite of what happens to us, Christ is working within us. He is our courage. He is our confidence. He is our comforter. He gives us hope for a brighter tomorrow. We do not lose heart. Christ lifts our spirits.
The apostle now comes to his final and third “not.” “We do not look at the things which are seen.” Christ is our vision. He lifts our sight from what is around us to what is above us. He lifts our vision from what is to what will be. He lifts our eyes from the things of time to the things of eternity.
During the London bombings of World War II, enemy planes pounded the city night after night. Fires blazed as whole neighborhoods turned into rubble. One little boy, peering out from a shelter, kept staring at the explosions in the distance. He stood there shaking and crying. But his father came quickly and turned his boy around and said firmly, “Face toward me. Face toward me.”
The rest of the night, while bombs streamed down, the little boy would turn his face toward his father and stop shaking; the terror would drain from his face.
Today and each day Jesus appeals to us: “Face toward Me. Fix your eyes upon Me. Look at Me. I am your sufficiency. I am your confidence. I am your vision. Rest in My arms. Be secure in My love. Be hopeful in My embrace.”
from On Solid Ground
Mark Finley | Review & Herald (2003)
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