2 Corinthians 12:10

In 2 Corinthians 12:10 Paul come to a point of contentment, a place that many of us struggle to find. Through his weaknesses and other challenges, God made Paul completely dependent on His grace and on His strength.  But it was all for good.  Paul’s continued – even forced – dependence upon God made him stronger than he would have ever been if his revelations had made him proud and self-sufficient. “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Paul knows it is the secret weapon to being effective as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Guzik writes “Many of us think that real Christian maturity is when we come to a place where we are somewhat “independent” of God. The idea is that we have our act so together that we don’t need to rely of God so much day to day, moment to moment. This isn’t Christian maturity at all.  God deliberately engineered debilitating circumstances into Paul’s life so he would be in constant, total dependence on God’s grace and God’s strength.” As Americans, that flies in the face of what we’ve been taught to think. We often think of God as a ‘parent’ we will outgrow in the same way our own kids outgrow their need to live with us at home. But that’s not God’s plan at all.

Guzik continues “Paul was at such a level of spiritual strength and maturity that God had to deliberately introduce a thorn in the flesh. Most of us provide our own thorns, and half an honest look will show us enough weakness to make us constantly and totally rely on the grace and strength of Jesus. But even if we were to grow to the spiritual strength and maturity of a Paul, God would say to us as well: “I need to keep you depending on Me in everything.  Here is something to depend on Me for.” This is a place of victory, not of discouragement!” Our goal should not be to move away from God as we mature. That isn’t maturity at all. Our goal should be to move into more dependence upon Him.

Then Paul says something completely foreign to how we might think. Being weak is actually a sign of being strong. God’s ‘thorn in the flesh’ was not a punishment for Paul designed to keep him weak for any reason other than to show how God’s strength could be clear and evident in him. We need only to review his life and resume to know there was actually nothing weak about Paul at all. But the reason he was so strong was not because of himself. It was because of God’s strength and grace poured into him. Calvin wrote “The valleys are watered with rain to make them fruitful while the summits of lofty mountains remain dry.  A man must become a valley if he wants to receive the heavenly rain of God’s spiritual grace.” God’s strength becomes real in our life when we admit our weakness and seek out and rely on God’s strength. That was Paul’s secret.

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