“…My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”. – 2Cor. 12:9 KJV
The scripture today is the response of God to Apostle Paul’s request to have his known imperfection removed so as to present himself as a perfect person before the people he was relating with and particularly the Corinthians. There recent actions may have been such that it questions his credibility as an Apostle and although they were at the reconciliation stage, as it seems the Corinthians at this stage had already accepted their errors, Paul still had to ego-trip to defend his right to put up some action that he probably took but which the Corinthians at a point questioned.
He was however able to see that despite all these listed achievements (2Cor. 11:1 – 12:6), he still had some flaws which he knew did not align with the image of a perfect Apostle that he was trying to present. Seeing that as a flaw that diminished his status, he wrote on how he had asked God to remove this flaw that he described as “a thorn” and God’s refusal to grant the request because and according to him, such flaw enabled God to manifest his strength. Of course he was left with no choice than to accept his fate as he concluded that it was God’s way of preventing from glorifying in himself – 2Cor. 12:7-8. His acknowledgement of all those achievements even with this great flaw was a reminder to him of the glory that belongs to God and also to people around him of the ability of God to achieve the perfect with the imperfect.
There are several Christians today who God has used and/or is still using for great works in His vineyard but either through personal assessment or the judgement of their acts by people watching, an obvious flaw is casting doubt on the genuineness of their call. Just as they are trying to perfect their image by expecting God to remove this flaw, several people are understating their spiritual achievements because of these flaws. This has definitely affected their output as they become weighed down by how people rate them. This is because at a point they no longer see the God that is using them but see the people that can stop praising them due to these flaws. The glory is no longer to God even when they orally express it but they take it for themselves.
Focusing on those flaws whether real or imagined can only serve as an obstacle to the individual achieving God’s intended plan especially if the removal of the flaws becomes the priority to such person. There is really no need for such worries as the scripture today reminds such individual that it is with those flaws that those spiritual achievements were made in the first place. Of course, this does not apply to those who although are being used to manifest God’s power remain nonchalant to their obvious flaws. That simply amounts to taking the Grace of God for granted which is not acceptable by all standards – Rom. 6:1.
A true soldier of God need to remember at all times that his choice for that role was not based on perfection but by Grace (Eph. 3:7) just as those for whom he is being used for need to also come to this realisation. Just as the individual being used will under-perform if he decides to focus on such flaws, the expected beneficiaries of his spiritual conquests may also lose such benefits in their desire to seek that flawless personality that meets with their criteria of who a man of God should be.
Just as Apostle Paul concluded, the soldier of the Almighty God should learn to praise and glorify God for every achievement made despite all the obvious flaws so that their will be increased access to the power of Christ, same awareness is required for the beneficiaries of the spiritual conquests of God’s soldier. Without this approach, soldiers of the Almighty God will always under-perform as they will always have a thorn to address in their lives and this will continually weigh them down. The people of God who are the expected beneficiaries of the act of such personalities will also be short-changed in their search for that perfect man who fits their criteria of whom a man from God should be as such men hardly exist.
May God grant us all the ability to focus more on the Grace rather than the flaws in Jesus name. Amen.