Well Content with . . . What?
The apostle Paul found a wonderful, freeing, and life-altering approach to accessing the miraculous power of Christ in his life. We read this in his letter to the Corinthian church.
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore 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 (2 corinthians 12:9–10 emphasis mine).
Notice that Paul doesn’t just say he was “content” with weaknesses, as in “I’ll endure them since I can’t do anything about them anyway,” but “well content.” How could he (or anyone) be well content with weaknesses? Furthermore, how could Paul claim, “When I am weak, then I am strong”? Weakness and strength are opposites. It’s like saying, “When I’m hot, then I’m cold” or “When I’m happy, then I’m sad.”
What If . . .
What if the path to true power—the resurrection power of Christ in our lives—doesn’t come through trying harder, but by giving up the attempt to be powerful?What if God’s power could be demonstrated through your life in ways you never thought possible—not by desperately trying harder than ever before to overcome your weaknesses, but by admitting them and getting out of God’s way, allowing Him to demonstrate His power through those very weaknesses? What if your weaknesses were the very vehicle through which God had always intended to reveal His power?
That’s exactly what the Bible teaches us over and over again. It explains why God didn’t remove Paul’s weakness and why He may not remove ours. As strange as it sounds, reveling in weakness is the Christian way of life.
Our world tells us, “Embrace your strengths; overcome your weakness.” Only in Scripture are we encouraged to embrace our weaknesses and through them experience a power that we could never know otherwise. This power is not our own, but the power of the risen Christ. Paul wanted the Corinthians to experience the power of God so that they would be satisfied with nothing less.
Weak Heroes of the Faith: We’re Not Alone!
Let’s listen in to Paul speaking to the Corinthian church.
For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, so that no man should boast before God (1 corinthians 1:26–29).
Many of God’s people do not come from the ranks of the strong and powerful. While that’s not exactly complimentary, it is exciting. It means that we desperately need the power of Christ in our lives to be effective, powerful witnesses for Him in this world. It means that we are part of the weak things He has chosen. What it ultimately means is that the power of God launches from our weakness—not our strength.
Paul was not alone in experiencing God’s strength despite his weakness. Throughout Scripture we see the weaknesses of people being the very avenue through which God displays His strength and accomplishes the most remarkable things.
Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, and became a slave to Potiphar, and later was a prisoner in Pharaoh’s prison (genesis 37, 39–41). In almost anyone’s definition, this is not a powerful position.
David was a young shepherd with no military training, so small he couldn’t even fit into Saul’s armor. Yet God used him to defeat the greatest military warrior of the age, Goliath. Read the description of Goliath (1 samuel 17) and remember, David defeated him with just a sling and a stone!
Daniel and his three companions—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego—were slaves in a foreign land and at the mercy of a highly volatile and egotistical king. A den of hungry lions (daniel 6) and a fiery furnace (daniel 3) are not positions of influence and strength.
Paul wanted to experience the power of Christ, to see and feel God work in his life in an unmistakable way. He wanted to know that God was working through his weaknesses to accomplish great things for His kingdom, so that God alone would get the credit and glory. He was even willing to give up his request that his thorn in the flesh be removed, because his “reward” for that would be to experience the power of Christ.
How many of us can say we have clearly and legitimately experienced the power of Christ? Many of us would be hard-pressed to know what that even means.