Welcome to another installment of Clay’s Corner. Thank you again for visiting. Please leave comments and let me know what you think.
I think the title sums it all up. I am a weak man and I gladly boast about it. I brag about my weaknesses whenever I get the chance. So, no need to read further…unless you’re curious about why I am proud of my weaknesses 😉
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 says: “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
All through 1 and 2 Corinthians, Paul does a lot of boasting. We have come to believe in today’s society that boasting is a bad thing because we think of it as bragging. Normally, it usually is a bad thing; especially when you read the newspapers, magazines or watch television. These media outlets constantly remind you about a politician or a sports star bragging about what they have done, or didn’t do for that matter.
However, in Paul’s case, he wasn’t bragging about himself. He wasn’t bragging about the churches he had planted, or the hardships and trials he had gone through, or the thousands of people he had led to Christ. Instead, Paul was boasting about his weaknesses and boasting about God’s glory.
In Romans 5:2, to paraphrase, Paul says “we boast in hope of the glory of God”. We, as Christians, believe that we are not allowed to boast. We look at boasting as such a bad thing. Like I had previously alluded to, if I’m saying my name is Clayton Prater and I’m the MAN because I drive this truck, I’m married to this woman, I have these children, I have this much money, I wear these name brand clothes, I walk a certain way…..then, yes, I’m boasting about myself. I’m trying to make myself better than you. A man who is 5 feet 3 inches is a giant among the pygmies, but a shrimp among professional basketball players. Think about that.
On the flip side of that, if I say my name is Clayton Prater and I’m the MAN because of the grace of God. He loved me even when I was a sinner. God’s plan was for me to marry this woman. He blessed me with these children. He took me out of this situation and has planted me here to use me as an instrument of his Glory! I’m still talking about myself, in a way, but I’m not boasting about myself. I’m boasting about the Glory of God. That’s what Paul is saying. He’s saying that boasting is simply recognizing that something very uncommon and rare has become true for him and that this recognition should lead us to become pompous and puffed up with vanity since we know that God made us this way. We boast in the hope and glory of God because it’s true, not to impress our friends.
For instance, notice how Paul puts it in 2 Corinthians 10:12, “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” Paul wasn’t comparing himself with anyone.
Paul was also boasting about his weaknesses. As a matter of fact, he boasts a great deal about weakness all through 1 and 2 Corinthians. But he boasts about the Glory of God as well.
1 Cor 1:25 – the weakness of God…is stronger than men.
1 Cor 1:27 – God chose what is weak…to shame the strong.
1 Cor 2:3,5 – in weakness and in fear…but in the power of God.
1 Cor 15:43 – sown in weakness…raised in power.
2 Cor 12:9 – I will boast of my weaknesses…so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Cor 13:3 – not weak in dealing with you…but powerful among you.
2 Cor 13:4 – he was crucified in weakness…but lives by the power of God.
2 Cor 13:4 – we also are weak in him…but live with him by the power of God.
2 Cor 13:9 – we are glad when we are weak…and you are strong.
In 2 Corinthians 12:4,6, Paul was not allowed to speak about his heavenly revelations, but he quotes Christ’s declaration (“My grace is sufficient” in verse 9) to underscore that his earthly weaknesses (and not his revelations) would be the platform for perfecting and demonstrating the Lord’s power. What is there not to boast about that?
An old saying is that God puts us where he wants us and if God brings us to it, he’ll bring us through it. If you’ve ever been around a person with a terminal illness, you can usually see the peace in them. That peace given by God. Many have the power to encourage us through their suffering because of their love for God. I’m around people all day that complain about everything and anything under the sun. My attitude is “I have a roof over my head, a bed to lay on, supper in the oven, a good woman’s loving, and I get to be a Dad…who can complain about that?” Instead, I boast about that. And it’s all given to me by my hope and trust in God.