Saturday, December 06, 2008

Strength in Weakness

December 6: 2 Corinthians 10-13

7 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.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10, ESV

Strength in Weakness

In our culture we truly value greatness. As a matter of fact, some of the most famous people in the world are athletes who have achieved a level of greatness beyond their peers.

Why, then, does Paul speak of strength in weakness? What could he possibly mean? From various comments that Paul makes throughout his letters to the churches, it appears that he suffered some thorn in the flesh, perhaps very poor eyesight, and was not very eloquent in speaking. Three times he prayed to the Lord to remove this weakness, but God said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

We are a selfish people who love to boast about ourselves, but God only desires that we boast of Him! In the case of Paul, God was showing that through those we perceive as being weak, such as Paul, God powerfully builds His kingdom here on earth. Paul was not one of the "Super-Apostles," yet who wrote more books in the New Testament than he?

I remember that at a missionary conference in the Bible College I attended, we were dismayed to see this very old woman among the speakers. What could she possibly say next to the other great speakers on the program? Reluctantly, we attended the sessions in which she was scheduled to speak (it was required). From the moment she uttered the first word, we were spellbound. In all of the messages and conferences on missions I have been privileged to attend, I have never learned more! When the conference was ended, most of the student body was at the airport to see her off. Bystanders crowded around to see who this famous person was!

Oh, how fickle we are when it comes to appearances, and how quick we are to excuse ourselves from God's service because of our own personal weaknesses. As we go about our duties of this day, let us remember that God's power is made perfect in weakness. We must pray that by the grace of God, we will receive strength in weakness and live faithfully before our righteous and holy God in all we say and do!

God Bless You,

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