2 Corinthians 12:1-10
12 We can’t gain anything by bragging. But I have to do it anyway. I am going to tell you what I’ve seen. I want to talk about what the Lord has shown me. 2 I know a believer in Christ who was taken up to the third heaven 14 years ago. I don’t know if his body was taken up or not. Only God knows. 3 I don’t know if that man was in his body or out of it. Only God knows. But I do know that 4 he was taken up to paradise. He heard things there that couldn’t be put into words. They were things that no one is allowed to talk about. 5 I will brag about a man like that. But I won’t brag about myself. I will brag only about how weak I am. 6 Suppose I decide to brag. That would not make me a fool, because I would be telling the truth. But I don’t brag, so that no one will think more of me than they should. People should judge me by what I do and say. 7 God has shown me amazing and wonderful things. People should not think more of me because of it. So I wouldn’t become proud of myself, I was given a problem. This problem caused pain in my body. It is a messenger from Satan to make me suffer. 8 Three times I begged the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So I am very happy to brag about how weak I am. Then Christ’s power can rest on me. 10 Because of how I suffered for Christ, I’m glad that I am weak. I am glad in hard times. I am glad when people say mean things about me. I am glad when things are difficult. And I am glad when people make me suffer. When I am weak, I am strong.
Many times I have wondered about the thorn in the flesh that Paul writes about. Was it a sin or temptation? Was it a physical or mental ailment?
I was chatting with a friend today about the way we can interpret and apply scripture and through our discussion I realised that it can be helpful sometimes for me if I don’t know completely everything about the original meaning of the scripture, because it can allow me to apply the principles directly to me in my situation rather than thinking it was just for the people who were there when the passage was written.
Lord, thank you that your scripture is a living word, sharper than any two edged sword, able to be applied to my life to mould me and change me into Christ’s likeness.
Written by Ps. Justin Ware