Verse of the Day Devotion: 2 Corinthians 12:10
“Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:10
Paul in this verse is speaking regarding weakness which should not be an excuse for not doing the Lord’s work. He starts off by speaking of a vision the Lord gave him. “Boasting is necessary, though it is not profitable; but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows— as caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak. On behalf of such a man I will boast; but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses.” 2 Corinthians 12:1-5. Paul here is referring to himself without actually saying it was him. He is not willing to boast regarding this vision, however, He will boast in regard to his weaknesses.
Paul was not one to boast on himself, and it would have been easy for him to do it based upon the vision God gave him regarding paradise, a place not now seen by man for it is not on this earth. Therefore, because of the incredible vision God allowed him to see, He also gave Paul a thorn in the flesh to afflict and torment him. The reason was, as stated in the last words in verse seven, “to keep me from exalting myself!” 2 Corinthians 12:7b. Because of the words here ‘thorn in the flesh’ defining this affliction, it denotes something that is very painful physically.
Now Paul prayed that God would remove this pain and the ultimate source, Satan. “Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.” 2 Corinthians 12:8. However, Christ essentially said no. “And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9a. What Christ here was saying was that He would not allow him to collapse under the weight of these afflictions, nor will the enemy prevail against him. However, the next line is even more powerful, ‘for power is perfected in weaknesses.’ It refers to the power of Christ, and this idea runs contrary to how the world sees things. They see it as the stronger I am, the more I can accomplish. However, what Paul says is that the weaker I am, the more Christ’s power can accomplish and be seen through me. This takes away any reason to boast in ourselves, but in God who is working through us.
So, because of this Paul ends this section with our focus verse. “Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10. He is quite content in his weaknesses. He is content in all the insults, as well as with any distresses, persecutions, and difficulties that he has, for he does not want to boast in himself regarding what is accomplished, for he recognizes that it is Christ working through him to fulfill His will. He understands completely that it is God doing the work. “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13.
God has a calling for each one of us, therefore we must ask God to reveal to us what that is and submit to that calling. And whatever it is, we must rely on God to work through us to fulfill that calling and not try, through our own power and strength, to make it happen. And if we find anything that weakens us to where we do not believe we can fulfill it, we should just trust in God and rely on His strength, just as Paul did. And when we are doing His will, we can then thank God for using us as He did, to will and to do His good pleasure.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.