2 Corinthians 12

To Be Strong, You Must Become Weak

“When I am weak, He is strong.” Previously, Paul cautioned readers that he planned to begin with his capabilities as a messenger of God, as an apostle. Truly, Paul depicted his shortcomings and his sufferings. Paul truly understood that to be strong, he must become weak.

 “… I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Cornithians 12:5-10 NIV

In verse nine, he made his inspirations understandable. God said, “for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Paul then said he would rather glorify in his infirmities so that Christ’s power would rest on him.

Paul needed to show just how much more fragile he was, personally, in contrast with his adversaries. Then the Corinthians would realize exactly how incredibly powerful Christ was, as they observed Paul’s life.

Others Already Know We’re Imperfect

In that manner, Paul has reversed boasting and gloating. It is not so much that he could care less that others may think that he is feeble. It is that he really is weak, and he needs everybody to know it.

For the Lord’s sake, he is content, even with a wide range of tribulations and distress. He finds harmony with the way that such shortcomings in his life are actually what is required. This puts Paul’s natural self to the side. We as Christians are inspired to allow space for the power of Christ to achieve what God has called us to do, just as He did Paul.

Christians must trust God the most in the aspects of their lives where we are most fragile, or where we experience the most suffering. The power of God is never more persuading than when a human point of view delivers no answer regarding how to get past what defies us.

In what may seem counterintuitive, Christians who put their trust in God are more impressive than when they are self-reliant and self-sufficient. The power of God is by far more effective than when we are on our own.

[Portions of this article are included with permission from author, teacher, and pastor Chris Swanson]

There Is Immense Power In Acknowledging Our Weakness

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