2 Corinthians 12:9: "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
Humility is the genuine acknowledgment of one's weakness, limitation, and inability to please God in any way. But while humility is the recognition of one's weak and helpless condition that makes it impossible for one to please God, through humility, one's weakness and helplessness do not have to lead to failure to please God. Instead, genuine humility should lead to one's acknowledgment of one's need for help - help to be able to please God. Hence, humility leads one to seek for help.
David prayed: "But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God" (Psalms 40:17).
This is where humility leads to faith in God. Faith is one's absolute reliance upon God. By faith, one, humble enough to recognize his need for help, acknowledges God as the only source of help, and thus relies fully on God for help. An acronym for faith is F.A.I.T.H. = Forsaking All I Trust Him.
Genuine faith in God is well expressed in 2 Corinthians 3:4-6: "And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life."
It is at this point humility and faith lead to the grace of God. The grace of God is always available because it is unconditional. But by humility and faith we accept the grace of God offered to us. Through pride and self-reliance, we may reject the grace of God. God gives grace to the humble because the humble through faith relies absolutely on God. "But He gives more grace. Therefore He says, God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6).
By humility and faith, one receives the grace to help in times of need. We read in Romans 5:1-2: "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."
In humility, through one's awareness and acknowledgment of his weakness, one turns to God in faith and accepts the grace which God gives freely to help in time of need. In this way, our weaknesses and infirmities do not have to lead to failure. They lead to failure when rather than exercising humility and faith to turn to God for grace to help, we muster with pride our own self-effort to deal with our challenges. Then we excuse our failures pointing to our weaknesses and infirmities. This is the sort of Christian living that is very popular today.
Paul, however, gives us a practical example of the operation of humility, faith, and grace to bring victory, instead of failure, to a weak Christian buffeted by the devil. Paul does not testify that his weakness and infirmity lead him to failure in the face of his challenges. Paul acknowledges his weakness with a sense of humility and helplessness, and by faith he turns to God for grace to help. He then finds all the grace he needs in Christ to offset his weakness. And he is able to testify of victory in spite of his own weakness.
Paul testifies in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10: "And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
PoemiaDei is a missionary, radio minister, and writer, who has been ministering the Gospel for over 35 years. His ministry emphasis is on the role of the grace of God and the life of Christ in Christian living. He is author of the book, the Myth of the Generational Curse (Xulon Press, 2007). From poor and humble beginnings, PoemiaDei attributes any accomplishments in his life to the grace of God.