Christ Jesus says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Paul in turn, says, “most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me, (to tent upon, to abide with 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 12:9-10)
The Apostle Paul learned from the experience of the thorn and his encounter with the Lord, that if he should boast, it should not be in human accomplishments but rather in his weaknesses. That revelation is the polar opposite to the way the world sees things. The attitude of the world is to despise weakness in every form; the world’s refrain is, “only the strong survive.” However, Paul, through his affliction in his flesh rejected this refrain and came to realize that Christ’s strength rested upon him in the midst of infirmity, for it was when he was weak (in himself), that the power of Christ rested upon him in an abiding and strengthening presence. His conclusion is mind boggling. As a result, of embracing, even boasting in his infirmities, the power of Christ came to abide upon him. From this abiding presence of Jesus, he learned to take pleasure in the things that most of us skillfully avoid! Because of God’s grace, he was able to say, “therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, feebleness of mind or body, frailties, sickness, weakness, reproaches, hurtful, injurious, and overbearing conduct, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses and anguish, for Christ’s sake.” The apostle accepted all of these for Christ’s sake.
Many Christians, if not most, practice suffering-avoidance rather than accepting these trials with joy for Christ’s sake, but Paul embraced painful trials although never seeking them. “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” “Made perfect” means that Christ-dependency is the perfect place for His strength to accomplish His goal. Often, believers are so impressed with Paul when they could have much of what he found if not all of it. He makes plain his secret, therefore, I believe the Lord through Paul and Himself was giving us the pattern for living the overcomer’s life!In Galatians 6:14, he says, “but God forbid that I should boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Is it your boast that you have lost interest in this world system? Is it your boast that the world has been crucified to you and you to the world? Have you embraced this Word, “for to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (Philippians 1:29)?Have you taken Paul’s position in the midst of your trials saying, “I want you to know […] that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel” (Philippians 1:12)? Have your trials advanced the Gospel? Have you allowed Christ’s grace to be your sufficiency? From his experiences, Paul says, “we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance” (Romans 5:3). The Apostle Peter joins Paul in this revelation saying, “if you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you” (1 Peter 4:14). For Christ Himself was “crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God” (2 Corinthians 13:4). Let us take this revelation to heart and not be guilty of paying lip service to the scriptures but let us embracethe Lord’s revelation to Paul that Christ’s strength would be made perfect in our weakness and that we would begin living as did Peter, Paul, and others, just as does Jesus, by the power of God.