KEY TEXT: 2 Cor 12:10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
KEY THOT: Paul knows he has many things he could boast about, though he has chosen in this case to boast only about his heavenly visitation. But he does not boast about his personal accomplishments (which are many; including the equivalence of doctoral degrees in philosophy and theology, beside being a member of the Sanhedrin; see Phil. 3:5-6 for more). Nevertheless, he prefers to boast about his weaknesses and his trials. For it is in his weaknesses and trials that God’s grace is magnified: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (v.9).
When we boast about our human achievements, it’s not grace we magnify but works. Paul experiences God’s power most in moments when he felt weakest: “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
So, I must not boast about my personal accomplishments so I won’t magnify self, but instead I should talk more about how God’s grace is manifested in my weaknesses and trials. This way, I can magnify God and encourage others who feel weak and unqualified. When I boast about myself, I belittle others.
In my preaching and teaching, I must always magnify God’s grace, for it is through grace that I am saved, not through my works. So, I must find more opportunities to boast about what God has done in my life rather than what I have done with my life. Humility is a fruit of honesty, which recognizes that whatever I may have accomplished apart from grace are just “dung” or “rubbish” in God’s kingdom (Phil. 3:8), because my achievements cannot transform human hearts. Only God’s grace (mediated through the Spirit) can transform lives for all eternity.
Father, teach me always to boast in You and about Your grace, not my accomplishments. Amen.