Friday, June 14, 2019 -
In the last four chapters of II Corinthians, Paul truly bares his heart to the church in Corinth. These are his spiritual children, his prodigy. He is like we believing parents, who weep for the hearts and souls of our children to be turned to the Lord. Paul recognized this as nothing but warfare of a spiritual dimension, not of the flesh (10:3-5). No doubt this related to Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” which “a messenger of Satan used to buffet” him (12:7).
Indeed, Paul recognized the battle for a victorious Christian life was really in the mind of a believer. It is why he told us he takes every thought captive. Satan used Paul’s circumstances and sufferings against him, as well, through his imprisonments, many beatings, being in danger of dying from stoning, shipwreck, thieves and robbers, exposure, and even hunger and thirst (11:23-27). He even suffered from sleeplessness (11:27)! And so, he considered himself weal.
But Paul was able to boast in his weaknesses (12:5) because of the grace of God which is sufficient for each one of us, “for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, will I boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” “Therefore,” he says, “I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong” (12:9-10).
He goes on in the next chapter to elaborate, “For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we shall live with Him because of the power of God directed toward you: (13:4). Grasp the significance of what he is saying here! We need to, in our weakness, become completely dependent upon Christ! Only then will we be made complete with Christ (13:9, 11). Let the power of Christ, through His Spirit, by taking capture of our minds (yanking them from Satan’s buffeting), provide us with the victory over our weakness, through the recognition of our weakness, so that we can “rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you” (13:11). These are not only powerful truths, but also realities Paul was grappling with regarding the church in Corinth, where they were struggling to battle the wiles of the devil. He was afraid when he would come to them for his third visit he would find amongst them “strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, and disturbances” (12:20), and that he would “mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, immorality, and sensuality which they have practiced” (12:21). And so too, our hearts should break, and when we intercede, for not merely our own sinful nature which still raises its ugly head, but draws so many of our children, and those within the church, away from the power of Christ through His Spirit with their lives. Just as Isaiah repented over the sins of Israel, so we too should confess and repent of the sin of the church today, and that God would touch hearts and draw His people back in right relationship with him.