September 11 - From Weak to Strong
God has a very different way to bring strength to His children. Humanly speaking, strength comes from wisdom and knowledge through education, from power and position or from the richness of personal experiences. It is what we have and what we can do that qualifies us for greater things. However, in God’s economy, such qualifications do not give us strength.
Paul had reasons to boast about his knowledge, experience and qualifications as an apostle. Fourteen years prior to this writing of the epistle, he had an extraordinary experience of being brought up to the third heaven where God is. The revelation he received and the things that he heard were so great that it was easy for him to become conceited and prideful. Compared himself with others who did not have such experience, he could have felt strong, worthy and qualified to serve God. However, this kind of strength is actually his weakness for the basis of his strength was not built on how good he was.
Strength that is built on oneself is actually the greatest weakness. Whatever we think we can boast in ourselves, we fall into pride and our greatest strength then becomes our greatest weakness, even such strength comes from the Lord. God had to make Paul weak again so that real strength might be his. The way that God did that was to give Paul a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan kept harassing him to keep him humble. To have a thorn in the flesh is not the most comfortable thing in the world and Paul asked for its removal. Out of God’s plan in keeping Paul humble, He did not remove it.
The lesson Paul had learned was simple: God’s grace is sufficient for him for His power is made perfect in human weakness. If we think that we are strong, we can rely on ourselves and not on God’s grace. It is when we face weakness and realize that we are weak that God’s power may become perfect in us. In the end, Paul realized that whenever he was weak, he was strong. Since his strength was made perfect in his weakness, so he boasted in his weakness and not in his strength.
From then on, Paul could recognize God’s way of gracing him with power: it was through giving him opportunities to be humbled. Whenever he was humbled, weak, bearing insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities, he knew then that Christ’s power could come on him. He was contented with being weak so that the grace of God and the power of Christ might come to him.
Are you feeling adequate and strong or facing troubles and difficulties in life? God allows weakness in your life so that you may become strong. Thank Him now.
Ps 103:6-19 Isa 8:1-9:21 2 Cor 12:1-10 Prov 23:4-5