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  • Writer's pictureBurbank Road Church of Christ

For Christ's Sake

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

7 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.

8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.

9 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.

10 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.

Most likely Paul's thorn was a reminder of his sinful, weak, human nature and not a sickness or physical disease.

To keep Paul humble, he had this thorn in the flesh.

This is what he means by lest I be exalted.

Whether it be exalted in his own mind, or exalted by others, or both.

Remember Paul's past, he was a "Pharisee of Pharisees."

He was proud of his following of the Law.

He considered himself above and better than others.

God does not want us exalting ourselves.

He wants to exalt us.

So, when Paul asked for this weakness to be removed, the Lord said the following.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

I'm sure this is not the answer Paul wanted.

But Paul acknowledges that this is better for him and better for us.

Now faced with this reminder of his own human failing, Paul does not boast in himself any longer.

Instead, we see that he calls himself the worst among sinners.

Paul learned the lesson of humility.

In the end, he learned to accept his flaws, his human weaknesses for Jesus.

We need to know our weaknesses, our flaws, so we can let the Lord help us through them.

Paul even boasts in them, because Christ dwells in him and makes him better than those weaknesses.

God helps Paul overcome those flaws.

When Paul is weak, Christ is strong in him.

Paul takes pleasure in his weakness, his need for the Lord, for "Christ's sake" because it strengthens his faith and keeps him humble and improves his testimony and empathy with others.

We must do likewise.

We should identify our weaknesses, our failings.

Not to relish in them, but to let the Holy Spirit work in us, to help us overcome them.

To allow Christ to work through us despite our weakness and spiritual weakness.

And to use these weaknesses as a point of understanding and empathy with others, who also have weaknesses and failings.

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