2 CORINTHIANS 12:7-10 – So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
THEME OF THE DAY. ONLY THE WEAK ARE STRONG. Many paradoxes exist in the Christian life. Frankly, there is much in our Bibles describing the Christian life that makes us scratch our heads saying “Huh? That doesn’t make sense.” Try these paradoxical statements in the opening of the greatest sermon ever preached by the Greatest Preacher ever to preach – the Sermon on the Mount preached by Jesus – Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:1-6)
Today’s scripture is another paradox and it goes against the grain of the world with much force. Allow the man experiencing this tension, the Apostle Paul, describe it . . . “When I am weak, then I am strong.” How contrary to our world! What does sinful man and the world say? “Only the strong survive. Be independent. Exert yourself. Believe in yourself. Weakness is a sign of incompetence”. And there are many more statements the world offers trying to convince us weakness is well, weak and not a virtue, to be shunned and avoided at all cost. Yet, God says . . . “My power is made perfect in weakness.” But this paradox goes beyond a paradox. It becomes a necessity – only the weak, only those acknowledging their total inadequacy in everything and anything will experience the empowering of God’s grace. And getting to this point is a process, a process we see in today’s scripture with the Apostle Paul. Let’s identify this process that must become ours if we are to know the strength of the grace of God.
First, accept that weakness is a gift, not a curse. Paul pleaded for what was making him weak – his thorn in the flesh – to be removed, and God said, “No.” Friends, there are things in our lives that will not be removed no matter how much we pray. They exist to make us weak. We need them so learn to accept them, even rejoice in them.
Next, spend more time marveling over the strength of God’s grace than complaining over our weaknesses – Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Meditate on how amazing God’s grace is and watch how we become like Paul, boasting, even gladly, over our weaknesses.
Finally, understand that our weaknesses are opportunities to display Christ, or as Paul would say, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.” Contentment comes through weakness acknowledged and grace relied upon.
So, as we watch the world unravel before our eyes revealing the folly of human strength and wisdom, let’s learn to boast in our weakness. It will put us on the path to experience the strength of God’s grace.
PRAYER: “Father, I praise You that in my weaknesses, I learn to know and experience Your strength.”
QUOTE: “Rely upon yourself and your own understanding; and you will not know God’s strength in anything.”