Weak Yet Strong (2 Corinthians 12:1-10)
Today, my message is entitled “Weak Yet Strong.” We’re going to be looking at the topics of weakness and strength. Which would you rather be, weak or strong? I think most of us would say strong, wouldn’t we. Strength is celebrated in our society. The strong win in sports, the weak are eliminated. The strong rise to the top in areas of leadership in many segments of our society.
And what do the strong often do? They let you know about their accomplishments, how strong they are and in comparison how weak others are. When we compare ourselves to the strong around us, we may feel weak and discouraged. If only I was as strong as so and so, then life would be so much better. But what is God’s view? In this series, we are learning to see as God sees. Man looks at the external, but God looks on the heart. What looks strong on the outside, may not be so strong at all in the inside.
Today, we’re going to look at the apostle Paul, generally classified as the greatest apostle. He wrote much of the New Testament under the Spirit’s guidance. Through his writing and teaching, Paul has had great influence on the church and the world for the last 2000 years. So what do you think that the people of his day viewed Paul as? Strong or weak?
2 Corinthians 10:10 (NIV) For some say, “His [Paul’s] letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.”
That doesn’t sound so strong does it. In another verse, Paul admits that he is untrained in public speaking. My guess is that if Paul was with us today, he wouldn’t have a world-wide television ministry, he wouldn’t have a church of thousands. Paul did not have the external appeal that so many seek in a leader. In Paul’s day, he had issues with false apostles who boasted of all their accomplishments.
2 Corinthians 11:13 (NIV) For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.
They pretended to be something they were not. They continually boasted of their strengths and spoke disparagingly of Paul’s weaknesses. Paul on the other hand, chose to boast only of his weaknesses.
2 Corinthians 11:30 (NIV) If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.
That’s different, isn’t it. A lot of people complain about their weaknesses, but Paul here says that he boasts of his weaknesses. That was quite different from the false or super apostles of Paul’s day or of our day. I’ve got some weaknesses, how about you? So, we’ve got something to boast about. God wants to turn your weaknesses into His strength. God wants you to be able to say “When I am weak, then I am strong.”
So today, we’re going to learn from this passage in 2 Corinthians 12 all about dealing with our weaknesses and learning to rely on God’s strength.