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What the Bible says about Weakness as Strength
(From Forerunner Commentary)

2 Corinthians 12:9

God's grace is sufficient for us. Grace in general terms is "favor." It is what God favors us with, what He gives to us. It can include spiritual gifts or physical things that He provides. By His grace, we have food to eat every day, we have clothes to wear, and we have a roof over our heads or cars to drive.

Paul considered his "thorn in the flesh" to be part of God's grace, a hard thing to say. How could he say that an affliction that God allowed could be part of His grace toward him? Because with an infirmity, whatever it happened to be, God balanced out for Paul the revelations that he had received, so that he would not become big-headed, sin presumptuously, and lose his salvation.

It was good for Paul to be afflicted, because if he were not afflicted, he just might have done something that he would have regretted, like presumptuously taking upon himself too much, more than had been given. So Paul says, "I'm content being afflicted, because I know that God's grace is sufficient for me. This affliction is good for me, helping me to make it into God's kingdom."

We have a hard time thinking this way. We consider this sort of affliction to be evil, but Paul turns that on its head, saying, "No, it is good, because with this affliction, I am weak, and because I am weak, then I don't get the big head. Then Christ can work in and through me, and the work gets done." So he was content.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Countering Presumptuousness

Hebrews 11:33-34

"Out of weakness" - They were just like us when God began to work with them, and it is probably a good thing that He did not show us their entire lives. They were a mixed bag, but they grew, trying to rely on God more and more. They allowed their faith to be tested and stretched. They failed a great deal, but God patiently worked with them, and they did not give up.

II Corinthians 12:9 tells us, "My strength is made perfect in weakness." His strength is our salvation through our weaknesses, and that suits God just fine because it does wonders for our attitude about ourselves and others. Paul asked God three times to heal him, and God said, "No, no, no." He learned humility because God said no. He also learned to be patient, and that, despite his weaknesses, God continued to supply his strength and his daily needs. Paul realized that, though he was weak and perhaps in pain or somewhat disabled, God continued to do His work through him. God's strength was made perfect through Paul's weaknesses.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith (Part One)


 




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