“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.
Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’
Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon 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 12:7-10).
If nothing else, the apostle Paul’s words should be a warning from growing too large an ego when in service to the Lord. If God chooses to use you to bring out insights from Scripture (insights about existing Scripture, not revelation of new prophetic wisdom), be humble to preach it or teach it.
Share the wisdom, but give God the credit and the glory. What Paul had experienced, a vision of Paradise in 2 Corinthians 12:1-6 were so stupendous, so overwhelming, that he recognized the need for a thorn in the flesh to keep him from swelling up like some self-righteous Bible blimp (not that Paul would have known what a blimp was).
Paul chose to boast about his own shortcomings and weaknesses, and in doing so, glorify the Lord in that such a great work of God could be accomplished by the Lord through such a weak and broken vessel. In doing this Paul is confirming for us that in Christ we have all we need.
Nothing can be done without Him, nothing more than Him is necessary to carry out whatever purposes the Lord has for your life.
When I think of my own shortcomings and lack of abilities, I marvel at the perfection of the Lord’s strength that can be shown anytime He so chooses to use me for His plans, when I seek out and obey His will for my life.
I do not mean to boast, but most days I am convinced that no one can show the perfection of the Lord’s strength better than I can in my flawed weakness. A weakness that would be fatal if not for the healing and preserving power of the grace He bestowed upon me by His drawing of myself to Him.
I will never be a Paul, of that there is no doubt. I probably will not be a Timothy, because I do not know Paul. But I can be as they, a weakened vessel that is shored up and strengthened by the amazing love and power of the Lord. I have Christ in my life; for I have been saved by faith through grace.
I have all I need. You do too.
Rafter Cross Ministries