Friday, July 16, 2010

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

1I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. 5I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say.

7To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Questions to consider:

  • To what extent do you expose yourself to others? Why?
  • In one statement explain why Paul can be content with personal weaknesses, insults, hardship, etc.
  • How does Paul describe the meaning of strength? How and when can weakness be strength?
  • How can you be content with your weaknesses?

Possibilities for prayer:

Paul seems to transform the idea of weaknesses in this passage. Rather than seeing them as so much a problem, he orients his perspective in way such that they are ways for Paul to give more glory to God. If, despite his weaknesses and failings, Paul is able to succeed, he declares it a testament to God’s power in his life. Today, let’s ask God to reorient our understanding of what it means to have weaknesses, and let’s praise God for the demonstration of His power that each success in our lives demonstrates.