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Bible Gem 584 – Power Out of Weakness (2 Cor 12:8-9)

January 6, 2020

Yesterday we had two young people, Kim Clark and Manu Teofilo, share a powerful message at Manukau City Baptist about overcoming from their own personal experience. 

Then today as I continued preparation for posting all the Gemz and Nuggets to the new website I came across this Nugget and felt the timing of it all was too good to pass it by. So here it is. 

 

 

"Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 

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." (2 Cor 12:8-9) 

 

This is not the first time Paul has talked about weakness. Remember this - Who is weak without my feeling that weakness? Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger? 

If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am. (2 Cor 11:29-30)  Paul has been building this theme of weakness. Primarily because the false prophets and others despise weakness.  Weakness is a characteristic they attribute to Paul.  Strength is seen as the trait they seek. Weakness is a thing to be shunned. How like the world we live in now. What good can come from weakness?  

 

But remember what Paul said back in the beginning of 1 Corinthians. Again Paul was accused of weakness. He asserts God uses the weak things to confound the strong. How like Him. There are many paradoxes in God and in His Word. The way down is the way up. The way to gain your life is to give it away. The way to strength is through weakness. I have told you before numerous times that repetition is used for emphasis. Three-times-repetitions are important.  There are very few repetitions in the Bible repeated three times but this is one. Paul asks the Lord three times to take this "thorn" from him. The answer each time is "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness." That is because He delights to compensate human weakness with His strength when the heart attitude is right. When we realize and confess our need for Him, forsake our self sufficiency and rely on Him, He pours his strength into us. But as long as we are content to do things in our own strength, that strength is all we will have. God will never compensate human pride with His strength because He won't get the glory. He will just be feeding our pride and encouraging us to continue in our strength. It is all do with with the matter of the heart. 

 

This gives us another clue as to why Paul is on about weakness so much. Oh yes it is true he is using the theme of weakness because it is a theme of the false prophets and false teachers. But also Paul has discovered the secret. Paul knows when his heart attitude is right before God then God's power can flow through him. When we know we are weak, confess it and call on His strength He is only too happy to manifest His strength in us. God will never allow his power to flow through a pride filled vessel. If it is a matter of pretence and human strength God will never manifest His power. That would be folly on God's part and it would only confirm us in our human strength and that would only perpetuate the tendency for us to continue doing it in our strength.  So quit the games, confess your weakness and call on His strength and then stand back and watch what happens. It will astound and amaze you. All the testimonies of the great saints of God down through the ages contain the realization of this fact. It too is another aspect of the beautiful exchange. (See Bible Gemz 546)

 

Allow me to tell you the story of Christopher Nolan

At 22 he was hailed as a literary genius. He won the Whitbread Prize for his autobiography, “Under the Eye of the Clock”. 

But takes Christopher 15 minutes to write one word. Yes you read that correctly. Just to be sure go back and read the emboldened part again. Christopher was born with severe cerebral palsy, he spends much of his life strapped in a wheelchair, his face and limbs subject to uncontrollable spasms. He can’t speak, but by eleven years old he’d learned to type. Why? 

As a child, he cried bitterly that he was not like other children, until one day his mother said, “Listen here, you can see, you can hear, you can understand and you’re loved by me and your dad just as you are.”

 

That day he began to fan the only spark he saw, “I’m alive and more importantly, I’m loved just the way I am!” Gradually he looked at his limbs and decided that he liked himself! He began to shift his attention away from his limitations, his weaknesses and focus on what was possible; 

what he could do with his life.

 

Listen to a few of his sentences:

“My mind is like a spin-dryer at full speed; millions of beautiful words cascade down into my lap. Images gunfire across my consciousness and while trying to discipline them, I jump in awe at the soul-filled beauty of the mind’s expanse.”

 

Wow, What a mind is trapped in that uncontrollable body.  

 

What are you going to do with your weaknesses?

 

 

It's OK to let your children (and anyone else) see you cry.

 

Big boys can cry.

 

The world says: "We don't tolerate incompetence" or "Not much room at the top" or "Three strikes and you're out"  Jesus says: "Be sure to tell Peter he gets to bat again." (Mark 16:7) Bob Gass

 

The heart of the matter is always a matter of the heart. Rick Warren

 

God uses the weak things to confound the strong. Paul of Tarsus (we humans are the “weak”.

 

 

 

 

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