And he said unto me, 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
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Although the Apostle Paul had earlier in this his second letter stated that he had forgiven all those who, due to his intervention in disputes among the brethren in Corinth, questioned his credibility as an Apostle of the New Covenant, more so since the members in Corinth have also forgiven such members for such uncomplimentary remarks (2Cor. 2:1-11), he still found it necessary to defend his Call by not only stating his achievements in the Church in Corinth but also some of his experiences while working to achieve those targets. Commencing from chapter 10 of his second letter to the Corinthians where he pointed out his spiritual achievement among the Corinthians, he made it clear that, whereas his intention was not to compare himself to any of the Apostles that his antagonists are trying to judge him by, he still does not see himself as inferior, even if he is not physically or verbally aggressive like some of them since that is not his approach to ministry work. His approach is the use of the Word of God to demolish arguments and pretensions that stand up against the knowledge of God and bring all thoughts to submission under the Christ. He will however not hesitate to punish every act of dis-obedience after such awareness has been created – 2Cor. 10:1-6.
He went further in the eleventh chapter to lament how the Corinthians have allowed themselves to be deceived after all that they have witnessed done by his ministry. He wondered whether his humility was his wrong doing since he refused to allow himself be a burden to them as he ensured that he worked for his living while in their midst unlike the people he believes they now consider as “super apostles”. He went further to reel out the trials and pains he experienced in the course of his ministry call in a manner that he feels may be seen as boasting but has become necessary since it seems all those, are being ignored by the people that are questioning his credentials as an Apostle – 2Cor. 11:16-33.
It was on this path of boasting that he remained when he opened the twelfth chapter of his second letter to the Corinthians where he decided to also state his spiritual experiences and achievements which included his being taken to the third heaven which he called Paradise – 2Cor. 12:1-5. Here he heard inexpressible things that he is not permitted to share with anyone but despite all these his achievements and experiences, physical and spiritual, he did not fail to realise that he had his short comings which served as reminder for him that he remains human – 2Cor. 12:6-8. Three attempts by him to have this imperfection removed by God was rebuffed in a response that is the foundation scripture for today’s devotion – 2Cor. 12:9.
In that scripture, the Almighty God rejected his appeals reminding him that rather than seeking to have that area of his imperfections removed, he should be more contented with His Grace on him, which makes it possible for him to have all those achievements despite the same weakness. The sovereign Lord made him realise that the imperfection he seeks to be removed is not a hindrance to His work that is being perfected through his Ministry, so he has no reason to worry about it.
For one who has decided to highlight his achievements, albeit through the support of the Holy Spirit, in order to defend his status as an Apostle, one can understand his intense desire to have this imperfection removed but like he rightly observed, that could just be God’s manner of reminding him that he is human after all – 2Cor. 12:7.
Most times, especially as active Christians, we get so carried away by what the Holy Spirit has enabled us to achieve that we seem to forget that we are human and not saints or gods in any way. The applause and expectations of people who appreciate the Grace of God in us sometimes increase this agitation as we conclude in ourselves, and sometimes rightly so too, that revelation of this our area of imperfection will diminish the rating that we have with people. Thoughts similar to this must have run through the mind of the Apostle Paul who, wondering whether the reason for his not being appreciated or acknowledged is because of this imperfection, and in a bid to retain or improve his position in the rating by men, earnestly sought for perfection of this area of his life. God’s response to the Apostle Paul reveals that although He is aware of this imperfection and it may be true that He (God) did not put it there, He is not ready to help remove it either so as to save his servants from becoming conceited.
Therefore like the Apostle Paul, you are better off accepting this area of your imperfection and learn to console yourself with the recognition that God has given you by using you to attain all those physical and spiritual heights and feats.
Yes! Adversaries will be quick to highlight those areas of your imperfections but like him, you better glow in the fact that the Almighty God still counts you worthy to be His tool for spiritual exploits. Although Paul says he will boast in the imperfections, it is simply implied that he will not allow his spirit to be dampened by his known imperfections and will continue to glow in the physical and spiritual achievements rather than be brought low by deliberate highlights of his imperfections by men.
What is the imperfection in your life that the devil wants to, or is using to dampen your enthusiasm for the work of God? What is the imperfection that unknown enemies against the work of God being performed through you, plan to highlight so as to diminish your spiritual personality? Rather than getting weighed down by the truth of the existence of such imperfections and the non-readiness of the Almighty God to perfect that area of your life, you are better off taking delight in that weakness and its accompanying insults, hardships, persecutions and difficulties that it brings because your strength is in that weakness. It is in doing this that the power of Christ is further demonstrated – 2Cor. 12:10. That is when you can glow in your imperfections. May God help you to see the strength in your weakness and not the weakness of your strength in Jesus name. Amen.