In 2 Corinthians 12:9b , Paul wrote, "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." So many believers, instead of trying to develop their abilities, they are happy to stay in weaknesses as signs of virtues. It is actually the work our fleshly desires to justify what we do not want to change and to stay in our weaknesses. What did Paul really mean by his weaknesses? Read on....If we neglect the context of any biblical verse and interpret the Bible according to our liking, we can surely come out with all kinds that appear to be very uplifting but actually very wrong. An example is "Being proud of our weaknesses". We find the biblical support in 2 Cor 12:9b, "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me." We all can relate to our weaknesses. So we quickly find in this verse the justification for our weaknesses. Even the great Apostle Paul tells us that we should be proud of our weaknesses. We happy leave out the second part of the verse and accept our weaknesses are virtues because they are to be used by God! The context of 2Cor 12 tells us that Paul was given special revelations and was tormented by 'a thorn of the flesh' which he prayed to God to have it removed. But God gave the answer that His grace is sufficient to handle the attacks of Satan. We can learn a few things from this passage.
1 Do we have anything special to boast of first?
Paul had much to boast of - eg special revelation (v3-4,7). If we don't have any ability or accomplishment to show off, then this boasting in our weaknesses does not apply.
2. The Purpose of Boasting of our Weaknesses - Prevent us from being Proud.
2Co 12:6 though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me.
Strengths and weaknesses are revealed through external challenges when one goes out to accomplish good things. Laziness, lack of discipline, foolishness are just bad habits and there is nothing to be proud of but rather to be quickly repented and changed by the power of God through Christ. We then can do a before and after testimony for God. We should boast on the power of God to change us to have strengths from our weaknesses. Every time we share our weaknesses, we must quickly follow with how God has changed our weaknesses to strengths.
4 What is this 'thorn of the flesh'?
See Paul's thorn in the flesh and weakness are not his! The thorn refers to the persecutions and disasters he faced throughout his missionary work. He could have stayed in a place with people liking him. Instead, by the calling of God, he continued to venture out to bring the gospels to the rest of the world then.
5 What then are the Weaknesses? Lack of Strength to Accomplish a Mission
2Co 12:10 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. The Greek Word for weakness is G769 astheneia Thayer Definition: 1) want of strength. It is the lack of strength in face of external persecutions and sufferings. It is thinking that we can do it that we venture off. It is in succeeding what we venture out to do that we can have some basis to be proud off. It is also where the danger lies --- that we rely on our strengths and neglect the leading and the relying on God. The challenge must be greater than our abilities that reveals our lack, that we may go back to God for His grace to continue the work. Our great moments of triumphs are also our great dangers to neglect God.
Our weaknesses, lack of strengths, come from accomplishing worthy projects. Our lacks force us to look for God as our source of strengths. It keeps us humble in our successes, knowing that our strengths actually comes from God so that we may be careful to be sensitive to His leading and His empowering grace. Christ in us and through us to the praise of His glory. Never boast of our weaknesses but rather of His empowering grace. ◄ Matthew 5:16 ►In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. If you want to boast of your weaknesses, then continue with how God transform your weaknesses into strengths.
On the other hand, don't let our weaknesses to excuses for doing anything. The key is always to be sensitive to the leading of God. God may either strengthens you or may bring others to help you as Aaron to Moses (note... God's original intention is to strengthen Moses but Moses gave too much excuses").
Weaknesses are not for us to be proud of but of our needs to rely on, trust and be proud of God.
Lim Liat (c) 22 Sep 16
Additional Thoughts (17 Oct 16)
Some thoughts about "boasting about weaknesses".
1. Boasting may be better translated as confidence. I'm not shy to speak of my weaknesses because I have faith in Christ who will strengthen me.
2. There is the timing issue. After I have through Christ overcome the weaknesses, then I can boast about Christ, not me, in helping me to overcome. I have a before and after testimony.
3. We can boldly assess ourselves because if there be any weaknesses, we have Christ to help us overcome it.
4. Hence, we can live in joy and confidence knowing He is with us no matter what.