Weekly Devotionals – 18 March 2024

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Paul was a pragmatist. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, he realised his susceptibility to self-elation and pride about his supernatural experiences. He knew that he could become self-conceited and act disproportionately. He was also aware that God had allowed him to have “a thorn in the flesh” to regulate his life well. This thorn in the flesh was there to check him and keep him from being conceited. So, he referred to this thorn in the flesh as a messenger from Satan.

What exactly was this thorn in the flesh? Was it a person or a physical condition that he was suffering from? It could mean anything ranging from a physical sickness to the burden and anxiety he had concerning the church, to his personal weakness, and even to a difficult person. Paul was silent about this. Any attempt to explain what this thorn in the flesh was, would be indulging in speculation. Hence, we shall avoid venturing a guess. Suffice to say that the source was Satan and God had allowed it to happen to Paul.

Both God and Satan had different objectives for Paul. God aimed to build him up, but Satan sought to destroy him. Just as God dealt with Paul, He would also deal with us, to ensure our spiritual advancement. The apostle had earlier maintained that God is faithful and would not allow us to be tested beyond our ability to endure. With that kind of mindset, Paul didn’t doubt his self-worth. And he also didn’t blame God for his troubles, neither did he vilify his circumstances.

The thorn in his flesh drove him nearer to God. He sought God on three occasions to have that thorn removed. God assured him that the answer to a powerful and victorious life does not lie in having the thorn removed but in the grace that the Lord Himself would provide. This assurance does not apply to Paul alone but to all who trust Him and His resurrected power in overcoming the weaknesses of life.

Paul would not boast about his revelation but would instead acknowledge his personal inadequacies so that through them, he could experience the demonstration of the power of Christ. Hence, Paul was determined not to be troubled by his human frailties. He would accept weaknesses, insults, distresses, persecutions, and difficulties for the sake of Christ. For when he acknowledged these frailties, then he would also experience the Grace of God in Christ in overcoming them.   

Whether we know it or not, our vulnerability allows God to display His power and grace. We all need to learn to see God in each moment of our lives and appraise life with the mind of Christ. In the good times, honour Him; in the tough times, trust Him; but always, praise Him!   

Monday – Ephesians 1:7
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
Tuesday – Titus 3:7
so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Wednesday – Ephesians 4:7
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Thursday – 1 Timothy 1:14
and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.
Friday – James 4:6
But He gives a greater grace. Therefore, it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Saturday – Romans 5:17
For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Sunday – 2 Timothy 2:1
You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

All Scriptures are quoted from The New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995).
By Pastor Clarence Goh