July 21, 2022 – Thursday
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NIV
9 But 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.
Comments – Part 2
To really understand what Paul is telling us here we need the following context, 6 Even 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, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But 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. 10 That 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.
From the context we know Paul was given a thorn in his flesh via a messenger, angel, of Satan. And the thorn was used to torment Paul. Three distinct separate time Paul pleaded with Jesus to take this torment away from him. But Jesus’ reply was, My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. A quick side note, several Biblical versions uses infirmities at some point in the above verses, but whether weakness or infirmity is used, they are both from the identical Greek word. There is a great deal written about the thorn in Paul’s flesh. If you Google ‘what was the thorn in Paul’ flesh’ you will get over 3.9 million results. So, while we could discuss that subject ad infinitum, let us instead focus on what Jesus said to Paul.
Imagine you are a smoker, and you find out nicotine is as addictive as cocaine or heroin. Try to stop and kick the habit and you fail over and over. But with God’s grace, the grace of Jesus, you find you can do what you were unable to do on your own. It can be the same with alcohol, hard drugs, pornography, overeating, extreme dieting, extreme exercise, being a spendthrift, chasing money/promotions/power/success, clothes, possessions in general. The list goes on and on as we all have our own individual weaknesses, such that we need God’s grace to overcome them.
Now imagine you have overcome all of your weaknesses, whatever they may be, and how confident you are now. Are you so confident you can forget about God? Do you forget how terrible your weaknesses were until Jesus’ grace gave you the ability to overcome them? Do you forget what a terrible sinner you were and think now you are better than so many others? Do you have so much Bible knowledge you no longer acknowledge that your insight and knowledge of the Bible is but a gift from God’s favor, His grace? Paul received great knowledge from Jesus, but said of himself in 1 Timothy 1:15, Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. Whatever the thorn in Paul’s side was, he never forgot his need of grace as a sinner. We would do well to do likewise.
For the record, among my weaknesses is a craving (!) for sweets. Not so bad in and of itself, except I am a diabetic. I can ‘cheat’ once in a while, but only once in a while without deleterious effects. I am reminded of this almost every single day. For me my craving for sweets acts as a thorn in my flesh reminding me no matter how well I am doing otherwise, I still need His grace to stay the course. I think we all do in different areas of our lives.
Bottom Line: We need regular reminders that our need for His grace is ongoing until we leave this life.
Prayer: Almighty God, Heavenly Father, Thank You for Your grace, Your favor, that makes it possible for me to do what I do. Let me always be aware that it is Your grace that makes what I do possible. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton