I’m to Boast of My Weaknesses?
Saint Paul said what? I am to boast of my weaknesses? Why would anyone do that? Who wants to hear about my weaknesses anyway? What purpose could that serve?
Yes, in 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul indeed states “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses…” However, it really makes great sense if we put that statement into context and explore what led to this proclamation. Let’s look at the scripture surrounding this statement.
2 Corinthians 12:7-9: “7So 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. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9But 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.”
Truly, no one wants to hear us complain about our problems, about our weaknesses. But Paul is not talking about complaining – he’s talking about boasting! At first, that may sound even crazier! But look at what Paul is saying. The Lord revealed to Paul that His power is made perfect in weakness. In our weaknesses, our faith may be strengthened by Christ’s love and power. Also, the amazing power of Christ may be shown to others in our weaknesses! Our faith lives may be strengthened and we may become witnesses to Christ’s power through our weaknesses! No wonder, then, that Paul said he would boast all the more gladly of his weaknesses!
Think about it – we all have weaknesses we could use in testifying to the power of Christ in our lives. And certainly, there could be some weaknesses we should not boast about – particularly those that are out of control, and do not show the power and strength of Christ. Weaknesses might include physical and medical difficulties, emotionally tough times of weakness such as a loss of a loved one, addictions, depression and other mental illnesses. Again, we are not to complain about our weaknesses, nor to gain sympathy. Rather they can provide us the means to help others see how Christ has given us the power and strength to deal with weaknesses and have joy in our lives.
We’re all impressed by faith stories involving hardships overcome. Think about the veteran who lost one or both legs, and yet goes on to have a life filled with witness to the power of Christ. If in love you use your own experiences – weaknesses - to help someone find the strength and peace of Christ in a difficulty or tragedy, they will see God’s love flowing through you. For example, what a blessing a cancer survivor can be to someone who was just diagnosed with cancer. It can be such a blessing when a diabetic helps mentor another with diabetes. What a blessing a recovering addict can be to one struggling with addiction. Who can comfort and guide the homeless better than someone who has been there? Can you be a mentor to youth who deal with so many challenges from bullying to dyslexia? The possibilities for witnessing to Christ through our weaknesses are endless!
Again, it’s not about us gaining sympathy or attention, it is about sharing with others how Christ has helped us through our difficulties – our weaknesses – and helping others do the same.
So, do you have a “weakness” that you might use to help others in a struggle, and be a witness to the power and love of Christ? Please, boast a little about how Christ has strengthened you and carried you through that weakness.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)