Learning to delight in weakness!
Scripture reading for August 13th: 2nd Corinthians 12
Paul continued to plead with the church for their good. He told them a story about a man in Christ that was caught up into heaven. This man was actually him!
“I know a man in Christ, who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know–God knows. And I know that this man–whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows–was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things that man is not permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.” (2nd Corinthians 12:2-5)
Paul used the third person to tell this story, because he did not want anyone to exalt him. He explained that following these revelations, God used “a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me.” (2nd Corinthians 12:7) This ‘thorn’ was given to keep Paul from the sin of pride! Paul prayed for this ‘thorn’ to be removed but was told by the Lord, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2nd Corinthians 12:9)
The ‘super apostles’ boasted about their greatness and speaking ability, commanding large offerings. Paul tried to show the Corinthians and us that God works through weak vessels. Charisma, large crowds, and large offerings are not necessarily signs of God’s anointing! As Paul preached, he came in humility, weakness, and dependence on Christ. God did signs and wonders, confirming his ministry.
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. . .For when I am weak, them I am strong.” (2nd Corinthians 12:9-10)