When the apostle Paul struggled with feelings of inadequacy, the Lord reassured him with these words: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
When Moroni expressed similar misgivings, the Lord responded with the same affirmation: “Fools mock, but they shall mourn; and my grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness” (Ether 12:26). He then extended this promise to everyone who is willing accept His help:
If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.Ether 12:27 (See also Moroni 10:32.)
In June of 1829, the Lord reiterated this promise twice: once to the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, and once to His future apostles. To the Three Witnesses, He said, “If you do these last commandments of mine, which I have given you, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; for my grace is sufficient for you” (Doctrine and Covenants 17:8). And after assigning Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer to find the men who would be called as the Twelve Apostles, the Lord gave this message to those future apostles: “Behold, my grace is sufficient for you; you must walk uprightly before me and sin not” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:31).
In every one of these cases, the Lord was speaking to people who had been given significant responsibilities and who wondered if they were up to the task. He wanted them not to be immobilized by those feelings of inadequacy, but to take action and move forward, recognizing that He would augment their imperfect efforts to help them accomplish what they had been assigned to do.
Brad Wilcox has identified three ways that God’s grace is sufficient for us:
- It is “sufficient to cover our debt.”
- It is “sufficient to transform us.”
- It is “sufficient to help us as long as that transformation process takes.”
(“His Grace Is Sufficient,” Brigham Young University Devotional Address, 12 July 2011)
Elder Neal A. Maxwell pointed out that, when we really understand what God is asking us to do, it is normal to feel inadequate and insecure. He said:
There is no way the Church can honestly describe where we must yet go and what we must yet do without creating a sense of immense distance. Following celestial road signs while in telestial traffic jams is not easy, especially when we are not just moving next door—or even across town….
Yes, brothers and sisters, this is a gospel of grand expectations, but God’s grace is sufficient for each of us. Discouragement is not the absence of adequacy but the absence of courage, and our personal progress should be yet another way we witness to the wonder of it all!“Notwithstanding My Weakness,” General Conference, October 1976
Today, I will overcome my feelings of inadequacy by remembering that God’s grace is sufficient for me. In all of my roles—in my family, at work, and with my church responsibilities—I will move forward with faith that the Lord will magnify my efforts and help me fulfill my responsibilities.