STRENGTH IN CHRIST
Monday, June 12, 2017
  Ezra 3-5 | John 20

“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.” ?—2 Corinthians 12:10

We know the life of the Apostle Paul was one of tremendous persecution and suffering. To the church in Corinth, this was something looked down upon, because they believed part of an apostle’s godliness was evidenced in the fact that their lives would transcend suffering. Paul talks about deception and manipulation taking place in the church, because there were those who were corrupting the Gospel message and the nature of Christian ministry.

Sadly, it is still prevalent today where people take ownership of Christian ministry by converting it to their own ideals and beliefs. The context in which Paul wrote his second letter to the Corinthians was not only in response to personal attacks, but distortions of the Gospel message being preached. The city of Corinth was in Greece and in ancient Greek culture they had developed a huge admiration for success. It was of great importance to be seen as successful, so one learned how to project a high-powered image of confidence and achievement. Greeks loved the idea of the hero, idols and celebrities. This mentality had crept into the Corinthian church and had created the concept that if you were going to be a leader in Christendom, you would have to portray the image of being successful and confident.

Paul’s problem was that in person he was not impressive. In his response, he reiterates to the church what he has heard about himself. “For some say, ‘His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing’” (2 Corinthians 10:10). Paul’s model was not the Greek or Corinthian culture, but Jesus Christ. He speaks of his sufferings and affirms they are not only a part of life, but far from being disqualifications, they are actually credentials for being a true apostle of Christ. Instead of being embarrassed or apologetic, Paul says, ?“I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (12:9).

Our natural instinct is to think our weaknesses discredit us, so we hide them and pretend they do not exist, but God is never outwitted. No one can ever be too weak for God, but they can be too strong, too clever and too self-assured. The danger lies in believing in our own capabilities and acting upon them. Eventually we will become spiritually bankrupt because God will leave us to our own devices. But when we adopt Paul’s disposition, we are driven to a fresh dependency on Christ, trusting Him for a strength that is not our own. It is to those who humbly acknowledge their weaknesses that Christ steps in and shows Himself strong.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, I humbly acknowledge my weaknesses and ask that You bring me into complete dependence on You, so that it is Your strength operating in and through me. Thank You, Jesus.


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