Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, (2 Corinthians 3:5 NASB).

When I was still in my teens, I began to be only too aware of my many inadequacies. At the time—being a typical teenager—it was not good news to realize just how “inadequate ” I was.

But at age twenty I became a Christian and as I grew in my faith, I began to see that my sense of inadequacy had been a gift from God all along. I saw that God’s greatest work in a person’s life is to bring about a sense of personal bankruptcy of spirit. That was certainly true for me. Every revelation of my own inadequacy (of which there were many!) brought about God’s purpose for me—and that was to allow a far greater adequacy to come into my life from God.

We really can do nothing of value in ourselves. This is taught over and over in Scripture. Paul believed there dwelt “no good thing” in himself (Romans 7:17). Jesus told us “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5, ESV).

We can do nothing?

“Nothing” is a hard word for us to hear….unless God has already brought us to that grand realization that HE is the supplier of the life in us that brings about good. We can’t bring it about ourselves. We are empty. Inadequate. But thank God for that realization. It’s only by seeing our own inadequacy that we are enabled to be filled to overflowing with His adequacy.

If you’re in the midst of a revelation of your own inadequacy, it’s time for you to rejoice. This revelation is from God. And it’s only the first half of the revelation. The second half is when He allows you to see your true (overflowing!) adequacy in Him.

I have even more good news for you. God’s revelations of our own inadequacies (and His adequacy) will never end in this lifetime. And for that, we can be thankful.

“True prayer is an awareness of our helpless need and an acknowledgment of divine adequacy.” Ray Stedman

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