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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“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.”—2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)
Among the most unexpected truths we find in the Bible are the paradoxical, or seemingly contradictory, statements that defy human reason. I imagine some of the people who heard Jesus teach were scratching their heads when He said things like, “Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it” (Luke 17:33 NKJV). How can someone keep their life if they let go of it? It doesn’t make sense, logically speaking.
Of course, Jesus wasn’t just talking about the physical realm, but rather the spiritual—how we find our life’s deepest purpose when we surrender (or “lose”) it to Him. Similarly, in today’s verse, Paul obviously isn’t referring to natural abilities. Yet even in a spiritual context, this inverse relationship between power and frailty can leave many of us wondering if we’ve missed something.
However, there’s great truth in today’s verse. When we are at the end of ourselves and have no strength left of our own—when we are completely dependent upon God—He gives us supernatural ability to press on. This happens because God wants us to rely on His strength and not our own.
What’s interesting to note here is not only Paul’s admission that his flesh is weak, but also that because Jesus’ strength is perfected in us when we are totally vulnerable, he actually rejoices in his shortcomings. If that strikes you as odd, you’re not alone. In our flesh we don’t want to admit our limitations. Many of us actually want to prove to God that we are strong enough to endure whatever trials we are facing to somehow demonstrate to Him we are worthy of them. But that’s not the Lord’s intention for us at all.
Bible commentator Matthew Henry explains that Paul’s afflictions and persecutions became “opportunities for Christ to manifest the power and sufficiency of his grace resting upon him.” In other words, if we constantly try to operate in our own strength, how can God display His awesome power in us?
Henry adds, “When we see ourselves weak in ourselves, we go out of ourselves to Christ, and are qualified to receive strength from him, and experience most of the supplies of divine strength and grace.”
It may come as a surprise, but our weakness truly is strength if we turn to Christ in our frailty.
DIG: What are some areas in your life which make you feel weary on a regular basis?
DISCOVER: Invite the Holy Spirit to reveal the challenges you have been wrestling with in your own strength, and ask Him to give you His power to face them.
DISPLAY: As you identify areas of weakness in your life, give thanks to God for those opportunities for His grace to abound in you.
Rob Nieminen is a seasoned writer and editor who has written devotionals for Calvary since 2015. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, FL. He serves in the Worship Ministry at Calvary Boynton Beach and is an avid reader, an erratic golfer, and an aspiring photographer who loves to cook and spend time with his family.