In 2 Corinthians 11:21-33, Paul goes on a tirade about how he has more to boast about than his opponents. He talks about his qualifications that have come through toil and struggle and persecution. He continues his boast by talking about the importance of boasting in his weaknesses. I don’t know about you but I don’t like to talk with people about my weaknesses. It is human nature to want to protect ourselves by covering up our weaknesses. We don’t want anyone to take advantage of us or misuse us and we especially don’t want people to think we are weak. Paul says it is specifically through our weaknesses that God is to be praised. Our weaknesses open us up to the realization that we really do need God. Therefore, our weaknesses are to be boasted about! Not because we are great, because we are weak…but because God is great and He can overcome our weaknesses by his power.
Notice the last of Paul’s boasts. “In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.” – 2 Cor 11:32-33. Why would he conclude with this story? It shows Paul’s utter dependence upon others to make his mission complete. We don’t boast about how we are lone rangers and don’t need any help. We boast about our Christians friends and family how they have helped us through tough times when we couldn’t make it on our own. We boast about God’s salvation and our own inability to provide it for ouselves. There are so many things we can boast about God and they all recognize his ability and our inability, his strength and our weakness, his wisdom and our foolishness!
So what boasts can you talk about when you have experienced the power of God in a moment of weakness and inability?
Matt, I love 2Corinthians. I did a sermon series on ministry from 2Corinthians a few years ago. I felt it was one of the best series I ever did. Not because I was so grand but because the book and the passages I choose were rich in reminding us that if we boast about our weaknesses then we can truly be dependent on God and one another. Your explanation of why Paul included that story about him being lowered by basket was excellent. I actually had never considered that side. Thanks for a good post that reminds me of the true source of my power.
I believe it is during our weakest times that we depend upon God and when God brings us out of our weakness that we give our testimonies about what He has done in our lives.
In those moments when it’s obvious that we can do nothing for ourselves, we’re reminded of what we should know all of the time. And, yes, I’m quite proud of that observation.
2 Corinthians is a tough book to teach/preach unless you have done it before. The first time around is a tough study. Glad it worked well for you!
You are 100% on track with what you said and I know you speak from experience based on what all you have been through.
I am proud you made that observation!