by Tracy Laird

2 Corinthians 12:10
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

This verse sounds completely and totally opposite to what our world, our culture teaches us about “being a man”. How many times have you heard someone say;

Man up,
Suck it up,
Tough it out,
Be strong,
Show some backbone?

We as men are taught are taught by this world NOT to ask for help. The successful man is one who pulls himself up by his bootstraps and through his own strength and determination finds a way to charge ahead. The world admires this type of man. But this is absolutely contrary to Biblical teaching. We must realize that without God, Christ, the Holy Spirit living and active in our hearts and minds, we can accomplish NOTHING of our own accord, at least nothing truly righteous and everlasting.

So how, how do we recognize and deal with our own weakness? What did Paul mean when he said, “…when I am weak, then I am strong.”?

2 Corinthians 4:7-18
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair ; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken ; cast down , but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you. 13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written , I believed , and therefore have I spoken ; we also believe, and therefore speak ; 14 Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. 16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen : for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Here we find the answer, in verse 7.
“… that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

The incredible power of the Almighty God can be the only explanation.

So look again at verses 8 and 9.
“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”

How could Paul maintain the confidence to continue? This was a man who was ridiculed, beaten, stoned, jailed, and shipwrecked. He endured so many difficulties and hardships you have to wonder why he didn’t quit, why he didn’t give up. But not only did he not quit, was he confident in continuing this path. Remember, he said in verse 10;

2 Corinthians 12:10
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

We must see that this great man of God had no faith in himself:
Not in his education,
Not in his own personal strength,
Not in his own charisma,
Not in his own leadership abilities or organizational skills,
Not in his own power of persuasion.

And neither should we. Paul’s focus was always on Jesus Christ, and he always directed those who listened to him preach and teach to focus on Christ. Like John the Baptist, the man chosen by God to proclaim the arrival of Christ, the Son of God, said;

John 3:27
“John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.”

John 3:30
“He (Christ) must increase, but I must decrease.”

The power isn’t in us, it’s in the One who saved us!

Philippians 4:13
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

Far too often, we focus on the “I “ instead of the “through Christ”. The verses previous to this one declare,

Philippians 4:11-12
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. 12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”

No matter the situation, Paul had confidence that he could “do all things” because he relied on the strength of Christ, not his own. In his own weakness, the power and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ shown like a lighthouse in a hurricane. The strength and power of Christ is demonstrated in, through, and in spite of our own weakness. God deserves to receive the glory … not us!

The word “through” in Greek text of Philippians is defined as:

Denoting a fixed position in time, place or state,
A resting or relying position in time, place, or state,
Remaining or taking place within some definite place or limits.

Our strength must be “through” Christ, every time, every place, and in every way. Remember the old hymn, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” There is some great fundamental theology in those old hymns. Paul understood that his own strength was the “sinking sand”. But Jesus Christ is the solid rock, the chief cornerstone, the rock of ages. He and He alone is the strength that can overcome our weaknesses, faults, and flaws.

He can accomplish anything.

by Tracy Laird

Article submitted to Independentbaptist.com

Join The Conversation!

comments

Leave Your Comment Below!