Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Power in Weakness

Please read II Corinthians 12:1-10. The personal experiences of the Apostle Paul as recorded in these verses have deep significance for all who are desiring to grow in grace. Paul's visions and revelations were further proof of his Apostleship. Note several results of this vision. First, a new revelation. This revelation was for Paul alone. He said it wasn't his to share "Not lawful." We can only know the character of this vision by its fruits. The fruit seen here is worthy of God. The Spirit of God may lead us through spiritual experiences that the language of mortals cannot fully express. There are precious seasons of the consciousness of God's presence and the reality of His power that are beyond expression. I remember a young mother, not expected to live, who came to Christ in the hospital. God spared her life and saved her soul. Her experience was such that she could only say "No words can express how real He is." Second, a new trial. Fresh trials usually come after new visions. Spiritual burdens often cure spiritual pride. The crown of thrones Christ wore for us make easy all the thrones in the flesh we may at anytime be afflicted with. God permitted Paul's body to be afflicted. A thorn in the flesh, could refer to a splinter or a stake, thrones come in many sizes. What ever this throne was, we know it was a messenger of Satan personified. Paul knew it was God's will that he suffer with this affliction. Paul was more anxious to preach the Gospel than to glory in his special revelation. His vision did not supersede the Word of God. God teaching us more about Himself is complementary with our being a witness for Him. Third, a new promise. The power of weakness is abundantly evident in Paul's ministry. Paul was told that God's grace is sufficient. God's strength is made perfect in weakness. His power is increased as the weakness grows. This is not the weakness of ignorance or of unbelief but that of conscious self-insufficiency. If God's strength is to be made perfect in weakness, surely there is a blessing for all of us. I have found it is much easier to be self-confident that self-emptied. Human weakness opens the door for more of Christ's power and grace to be manifested in our lives. Slowly, Paul learned the supreme lesson, that God will not give His glory to another for self display. When we humble ourselves, God exalts us. Forth, a new source of joy. Glorying in our infirmities is something far better than merely submitting to them. Sometimes God says no, to one of our prayers, out of love. It is common for believers to find joy in their gifts, but not so common to find joy in their infirmities. Paul said "That the glory of God may rest upon me." Means to cover with a tent." Here, Paul himself is the one being covered, as if the glory of the Lord was overshadowing him. Fifth, a new resolution. Paul took pleasure in every trial and hardship that made him feel more acutely his own weakness. We are told to "Glory in tribulation, knowing that tribulation works patience" (Hebrews 12:11). Paul will choose to be joyous even unto death, for he has learned that when problems come he has fresh access to the power of God. The Apostle learned to glory in every trial, because they made him draw more closely to the Lord. Our trials will make us better or bitter, the choice is ours. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

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