“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)
“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.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
I am going to start this by asking….
Is Paul’s testimony,….ours as well?
Through these last chapters in 2 Corinthians, Paul is leading them out of themselves and into complete dependence upon Christ….and so he gives an example.
(I say “complete dependence”….because Christians….if they would live for Christ….have a dependence upon Him….for He is there life.
But is it complete….or can we get along without Him,….sometimes?)
He tells of a “man in Christ” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4)……this is a blessed title, because he is not speaking as an apostle…..but just one in Christ.
He is stressing that God can give comfort and exhortation to each man in Christ. It is not office before God, but heart willingness.
This “man in Christ” had been caught up to the third heaven…to joy beyond expression—the value and power on his soul he could not even express to others….
….and yet, though he will glory in God’s power, he will not glory in himself because in himself, he was a weak and feeble creature…..who was simply in the hands of God Almighty.
Then he tells them that this revelation had gotten for him “a thorn in the flesh”.
(Some say it was the disease in his eyes, and others a deformity which made him little in the eyes of men. The tendency to pride is within each of us…and it takes but little to make it come out.)
Paul asked the Lord to remove this three times….and Paul received an answer…..yet not like we would expect…
….especially with more ministry and work for him to do.
“And He (the Lord) said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…..”
“Paul, I want you to appear weak,….little in the eyes of others….that My power, which is in you and upon you for the work, will shine out.
What a testimony, Paul, to all who think they are too little for Me to use…..but do not worry, I am and will be sufficient for you.”
Here is the very basis of Spiritual Reality: Christ is sufficient for me.
Sufficient here means that God has placed a barrier around.
If God gave us power to do ourselves,….still that power is only blessed if we are dependent, or “leaning upon the Beloved” (Song of Solomon 8:5). If we act otherwise we run the risk of self-conceit.
Paul came to experience that the power of God is displayed more abundantly through his weakness, itself.
And then he gave this most blessed response…..may it be so with each of us…..
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “….Mostly gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessitates, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
Most gladly…..not, “OK,…but it would be better if…”
…..not even simple resignation only….
….but, most gladly….
Paul saw…..God’s plan….God’s way….
Now he glories in the infirmities that he’d just asked to be taken away, realizing that they cause greater power to be given him….and through him.
Who would exchange the power of Christ for the “power of human eloquence”?
Who would want a grand appearance instead of the glory of God?
2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
But we have….every born again one has….(present tense)…has this treasure.
Yes, Paul says, we are earthen vessels…..nothing in ourselves….
…….but we have a treasure within us….which is the excellency of God’s power in us….and manifested through us.
We simply must recognize our weakness….and let the treasure shine forth.