2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – “Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weakness, that the strength of Christ may rest upon me. Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
“Lest Paul should exalt himself because of the exceeding greatness of revelations given him, a thorn in the flesh was sent him to keep him humble. Paul’s first desire was to have it removed, and he besought the Lord thrice that it might depart. The answer came that the trial was a blessing, that in the weakness and humiliation it brought, the grace and strength of the Lord could be better manifested. Paul at once entered upon a new stage in his relation to the trial. Instead of simply enduring it, he most gladly gloried in it. Instead of asking for deliverance, he took pleasure in it. He had learned that the place of humiliation is the place of blessing, of power, of joy.
“Every Christian passes through these two stages in his pursuit of humility. In the first he fears and flees and seeks deliverance from all that can humble him. He has not yet learned to seek humility at any cost. He has accepted the command to be humble, and seeks to obey it, though only to find how utterly he fails. He prays for humility, at times very earnestly, but in his secret heart he prays more, if not in word then in wish, to be kept from the very things that will make him humble. He is not yet so in love with humility as the beauty of the Lamb of God and the joy of heaven, that he would sell all to procure it.
“But can we hope to reach the stage in which this will be the case? Undoubtedly. And what will it be that brings us there? That which brought Paul there–a new revelation of the Lord Jesus. Nothing but the presence of God can reveal and expel self.
“It appears as if this were the highest lesson that he had to learn, full conformity to his Lord in that self-emptying where he gloried in weakness that God might be all.” (Andrew Murray)
Prayer: Lord, help me to become nothing, undone before you, so that I may experience the blessing of not only enduring my trials and pains but also delight and glory in all so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Philippians 4:11-13 – “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
“The secret of contentment is not normally learned in posh circumstances or in deprived circumstances, but in exposure to both. The brute fact is that Paul is content in both circumstances because his contentment is utterly independent of circumstances. His contentment is focused on all that he enjoys of Christ Jesus. That means he has learned, by hard experience, a relaxed contentment whatever his circumstances. Paul confesses that if he has reached this stage of contentment he owes everything to God: “I can do everything through him who gives me strength’ (Phil 4:13).
“It takes the strength and resolution and perspective that only God can provide to live above changing, difficult circumstances. But to live above circumstances, utterly content in Christ Jesus, is to ensure that you will never give up the Christian walk. Resolve to learn the secret of contentment.” (D.A. Carson)
Prayer: Apart from you, Lord, I can do nothing but I can do all things in Christ who strengthen and enable me. I desire to remain in you, be close to you as you hold my hand tightly and walk with me today.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – “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. 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.”
“There is no truth more generally admitted among earnest Christians than that of their utter weakness. Here, as elsewhere, God’s thoughts are heaven-high above man’s thoughts. The Christian often tries to forget his weakness: God wants us to remember it, to feel it deeply. The Christian wants to conquer his weakness and to be freed from it: God wants us to rest and even rejoice in it. The Christian mourns over his weakness: Christ teaches His servant to say, “I take pleasure in infirmities; most gladly will I glory in my infirmities.” The Christian thinks his weakness is his greatest hindrance in the life and service of God: God tells us that it is the secret of strength and success. It is our weakness, heartily accepted and continually realized, that gives us our claim and access to the strength of Him who has said, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (Andrew Murray)
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for your promise of sufficient grace that sustains me to endure all things. I trust you and embrace my weaknesses as you enable me to say in my weakest moments your power is perfected in me.
2 Corinthians 4:7-10,13-16 – “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”
We are the jars of clay – fragile, breakable and disposable – containing the treasure because the power of the gospel is what matters. If otherwise, the jars may regard themselves as more important. It must be clear that the great and all surpassing power we need to endure all things is from God and not ourselves.
Prayer: Lord, help us to embrace our weaknesses so that your power is manifested through us. May we go from weakness to weakness, to remain as vessels of your power, so that we are ever weak and ever strong in Christ.
John 15:5 (NLT) – “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.”
Philippians 4:13 (NLT) – “But I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
“He, the strong, works in me, the weak. I, the weak, abide by faith in Him, the strong. And I, in the self-same moment, know myself to be weak and strong.” – Andrew Murray
“The error of this mode of thinking is that people estimate their weakness, not too highly, but too meagerly. They would still do something by the exercise of all their powers, and with the help of God. They do not know that they must be nothing before God. You think that you have still a little strength, and that the Father must help you by adding something of His own power to your feeble energy. This thought is wrong. Your weakness appears in the fact that you can do nothing. It is better to speak of utter inability, for that is what the Scriptures mean by the word ‘weakness.’ ‘Without me ye can do nothing.’ ‘In us is no power.’” – Andrew Murray
Prayer: Father, I come to you and first acknowledge my utter inability to do anything in my own strength. In my inability, may I receive Your strength– the power that comes in fullness with the resurrection power already living inside of us and say, “For when I am weak then I am strong” in Christ.