God always knows exactly what I need to hear when I seek Him. Have you found the same to be true in your life? I know for myself I felt weak this morning, not in strength but in spirit. You may know that feeling too. The projects, deadlines, opportunities, relationships, lives and dreams we carry with us can be used against us when viewed in our own strength rather than God's. He reminded me today that I am at my strongest when I am weak. Here are some insights from this mornings, passage:
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. 8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
As a pastor, I have the awesome privilege of speaking on God's behalf and interacting with people as they walk through life. I share the good news. When a person truly takes hold of this life changing gospel, their life is radically changed . It would be easy, (but wrong) to think that my ability had any influence on those decisions. Paul reminds us in verse 7 that adversity prevents us from becoming proud. Yes, the blessing of thorn is that it forces us to focus not on our inability to remove it but God's ability to give us the strength to endure. Each time Paul asked God to remove the thorn from his life God said, "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." You see, thorns bring us to submission knowing that we need God's strength over our own. Paul takes it one step further by "taking pleasure" in his weakness.
Nothing touches our lives that God does not allow, whether it be from Him or a result of our actions. Each hardship forces us to depend on Him over self-reliance. God has reminded me today that the thorns I carry are there to draw my dependence on Him rather than myself. I am weak but praise God in Him I am strong. This was just what I needed today. If this encouraged you or you have comments I encourage you to leave them here. Thank you for reading and may God give you strength today.
Inspired by Richard and Henry Blackaby's book entitled, "The Experience: Day by Day with God: A Devotional and Journal".
What kind of faith gives proof that one is really a Christian and follower of Christ?
Too often we measure ourselves and others spirituality by actions alone. James saw the early church was becoming more enamored with themselves rather than following Christ. If our faith is rooted in anything other than a love for Jesus Christ and the desire to obey Him then our walk becomes plastic and lifeless. Hear James, the half-brother of Jesus share with us his concern and love for those whose focus has shifted from their relationship with Christ to being religious.
Text: James 2:14-26
Pine Valley Baptist Church
July 22, 2012 @ 10:30 am