Taking Pride In Weakness
“If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am.“ – Vs 30 NLT
This is a common theme of Paul’s: his weakness. Even though he felt compelled to defend his apostleship because of libellous attacks from false apostles; and could brag about his credentials as good Jew, a descendant of Abraham, and a servant of Christ who had suffered repeatedly in his service to Christ, he knew his real strength was found in his own weakness. He goes on to describe it this way in chapter 12: “Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10 NLT). Paul knew the only thing he had to “brag” or boast about was his weakness. Listen to what he says in chapter 13 of this same letter: “Although he [Christ] died on the cross in weakness, he now lives by the mighty power of God. We, too, are weak, but we live in him and have God’s power – the power we use in dealing with you” (2 Corinthians 13:4 NLT). Paul was content with being weak, because he knew that his life and ministry was based on God’s power, not his own. Our strength comes in acknowledging our own weakness and need for God’s power.
God’s way of doing things is radically different than the world’s way of doing things. In fact, in his previous letter to the Corinthians, Paul reminded them that, “God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important, so that no one can ever boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29 NLT).
Paul was having to defend his credentials and his credibility as an apostle, and he was not comfortable having to do so. He didn’t like having to “boast” about himself, because he knew that anything he had done was due to the power of God within him. But circumstances were calling for himself to go on the defensive in order to protect the flock in Corinth. Paul was intensely concerned for their spiritual well-being. He told them, “Who is weak without my feeling that weakness? Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger?” (2 Corinthians 11:29 NLT). Paul was being forced to defend himself against attacks in order to get the Corinthian believers to acknowledge his role as their shepherd. But he was not comfortable with the situation. Paul was not one to boast. In fact, he once told Timothy, “This is a true saying, and everyone should believe it: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – and I was the worst of them all” (1 Timothy 1:15 NLT). Paul knew who he really was. He knew his weaknesses. And he knew where his strength came from. He also knew where his strength came from. And that was the one thing he was willing to boast about.
Father, give me an increasing awareness of my own weakness. Thank You that you expose me to my own weakness each and every day. I am becoming increasingly aware that I do not have what it takes to live the life You have called me to live. I can’t do it in my own strength. I can’t even conquer the sin in my own life without Your help. What do I have to boast about? Nothing, without You! So help me to boast about my weakness, because that is when I best realize that I need You. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men