Christians often quote the apostle Paul and say ‘when I am weak, then I am strong’, but there are some lessons to be learned from the surrounding context that are harder for most of us to take in. Paul received a thorn in the flesh so that his service to the Lord would not turn into anything that glorified Paul rather than Jesus. We have a potent tendency to take credit for success but pass blame for failure. In truth, a better approach would start by presuming the exact opposite and seeking the Lord for wisdom, knowledge, and discernment. Oh that we could all have the perspective and understanding that the Holy Spirit gifted Paul such that he could say that he even takes pleasure in infirmities and persecutions when they arise for the sake of Christ. Let us go deeper into the things of God and discover the obedience and love that are necessary for us to stand firm in the faith in this generation!

It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities. For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

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