READING: Proverbs 24-26, 2 Corinthians 12-13
I cannot read 2 Corinthians 12 without being reminded of how counter-cultural Christianity really is. Almost everything within me screams to be strong, to be tough. My upbringing and my education have been about “Do your best. Study hard. Learn well. Be your own man. Succeed.” Literature and the media promote the self-made man, the one who stands mighty when others fall. Even ministry, if I’m honest, has carried a sense of achieving—of leading well so other pastors and my denomination might take note. Nothing within me or around me promotes the value of being weak.
But, then, I read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 again: “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.’ Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
The Apostle Paul had pleaded with God to remove the thorn from him, but God refused to do so. Instead, God allowed the thorn to remain so that Paul would remain weak, dependent wholly on God for his life. It was in his weakness that Paul learned that God’s grace was sufficient; it was in his weakness that he realized that his strength rested solely in the power of Christ. Knowing that, Paul could even rejoice in his difficulties.
Little of this picture of powerful brokenness makes sense in 21st century American culture—but it’s the teaching of the Word of God.
PRAYER: “God, bring me to the place where I take pleasure in weaknesses.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Proverbs 27-29, Galatians 1