7 day plan

Power and Weakness

Day 7 of 7

2 Corinthians 12:9-12

9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”

Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Signs of an Apostle

11I have been a fool; you forced it on me. You ought to have commended me, since I am not in any way inferior to those “super-apostles,” even though I am nothing. 12The signs of an apostle were performed with unfailing endurance among you, including signs and wonders and miracles.

Reflection: The business writer Jim Collins talks about “the tyranny of the OR and the genius of the AND.”

We are tempted to believe that it is power OR weakness. But in fact, the Christian life is an experience of both authority and vulnerability, an experience of both capacity and utter dependence, an experience of power and weakness.

We do not have to deny we are feeling weak and vulnerable. But this does not excuse us from being active and influential. You can be powerful and weak at the same moment. You can be hospitable at the same time as being hard pressed. You can be generous and still feel vulnerable.

These difficult days are hard to fathom. So often in our lives we do not possess a detailed script. But we always have a pattern. That pattern is the way of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose power was expressed through weakness. It was his way. And it should be ours.

Question:  Even in your weakness today, how can you be an influence for God’s purposes, right now?

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I thank you that your grace is enough for all my needs and that your power is made perfect in my weakness. Help me not to give up because I feel like I am not strong. Remind me that even today, you can work through my hardship to bring glory to yourself and bring blessing to others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Days

2 Corinthians 12:1-21

Sufficient Grace

1Boasting is necessary. It is not profitable, but I will move on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2I know a man in Christ who was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether he was in the body or out of the body, I don’t know; God knows. 3I know that this man — whether in the body or out of the body I don’t know; God knows —  4was caught up into paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a human being is not allowed to speak. 5I will boast about this person, but not about myself, except of my weaknesses.

6For if I want to boast, I wouldn’t be a fool, because I would be telling the truth. But I will spare you, so that no one can credit me with something beyond what he sees in me or hears from me, 7especially because of the extraordinary revelations. Therefore, so that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so that I would not exalt myself. 8Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. 9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”

Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. 10So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Signs of an Apostle

11I have been a fool; you forced it on me. You ought to have commended me, since I am not in any way inferior to those “super-apostles,” even though I am nothing. 12The signs of an apostle were performed with unfailing endurance among you, including signs and wonders and miracles. 13So in what way are you worse off than the other churches, except that I personally did not burden you? Forgive me for this wrong!

Paul’s Concern for the Corinthians

14Look, I am ready to come to you this third time. I will not burden you, since I am not seeking what is yours, but you. For children ought not save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15I will most gladly spend and be spent for you. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? 16Now granted, I did not burden you; yet sly as I am, I took you in by deceit! 17Did I take advantage of you by any of those I sent you? 18I urged Titus to go, and I sent the brother with him. Titus didn’t take advantage of you, did he? Didn’t we walk in the same spirit and in the same footsteps?

19Have you been thinking all along that we were defending ourselves to you? No, in the sight of God we are speaking in Christ, and everything, dear friends, is for building you up. 20For I fear that perhaps when I come I will not find you to be what I want, and you may not find me to be what you want. Perhaps there will be quarreling, jealousy, angry outbursts, selfish ambitions, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorder. 21I fear that when I come my God will again humiliate me in your presence, and I will grieve for many who sinned before and have not repented of the moral impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality they practiced.