Chewing on some well recognized verses in 2Corinthians this morning. I say “well recognized” rather than “well known” because I think it’s going to take a lifetime to really “know’ these verses. ‘Cause just when you think you’ve gone through what should make these verses known, you go through something else which makes you realize how little you really knew these verses.
Verses about power and pleasure. The power known through diverse sufferings, and the “pleasure” of going through diverse sufferings in order to know the power.
Concerning this, I pleaded with the Lord three times that it would leave me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.”
Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me. So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
(2Corinthians 12:8-10 CSB)
So I take pleasure in . . . insults . . . for the sake of Christ. That’s what caught my eye.
Paul knew what it was to be insulted. He knew what it was to suffer mental injury due to others’ insolence, due to others’ disrespectful and vitriolic behavior. He knew what it was to be unfairly accused and have his integrity not only questioned but cut to shreds. And this, not for anything he did for personal gain, but for what he had sought faithfully to discharge for the sake of Christ.
Me? I’m tempted to want a pound of flesh for such insults. Paul? He would take pleasure in them. He’d be content (ESV) with them. He’d be well-pleased and favorably inclined toward them. How come? So that Christ’s power may reside in me . . . for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Grace sufficient for our physical weakness? I get that. Christ’s power known as we endure hardships, persecutions, and other difficulties? Makes sense. But grace sufficient for insults? Another type of opportunity to know the power of the Christ in me through painful reproaches towards me? Apparently.
If that’s the case — and it is — then this form of weakness, insulted for what you thought you were doing for Jesus, is something to “boast” in as well. Another opportunity, though painful, to know Christ in me at a next level. Another circumstance, another season to come to terms with my great need and His all-surpassing power which is more than adequate to meet such need. Thus, would I say with Paul, “So I take pleasure in insults for the sake of Christ.“
Only by His all-sufficient grace. Only for His all-deserving glory.