Although we are practicing social distancing, the Gospel message remains unchained! This devotional is best with some time (20-30min), coffee/tea, and a notebook. Enjoy!
Made Perfect in Weakness
By: Denise Goodman
In May 2020, I will celebrate, God willing, 30 years as a follower of Christ! I still marvel each day that I made it past one year, much less to see three decades approaching.
I grew up without any knowledge of or exposure to God and lived my life with the sole aim of reaching my goals and tending to my needs. Life was kind to me in many ways and I accomplished more than I even imagined. Yet my soul would often wonder is this it? Is reaching a certain status all there is? Why aren’t these accolades satisfying my yearning?
God stepped in and mercifully brought me into relationship with him through Bible study. Once baptized I lived the John 10:10 full life with joy, passion, energy, and might. Yet smack dab two years into in living and loving my new life, I was diagnosed with an immune compromising illness that in a flash changed my life forever.
Read 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
12 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— 4 was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, 7 or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
In the face of fear and the unknown, I had to reestablish my confidence in God. I also had to get comfortable quickly with a new norm that required me to accept my weakness but refuse to let it define me.
Think: How is your confidence right now? What insecurity, weakness, or challenge (thorn) steals your confidence and makes you feel “less than” or even broken?
Q: How do our weaknesses, hardships, persecutions, insults, difficulties make us stronger in Christ? Could we be as strong without them?
Q: Paul realized he had the thorn in order to rely on God’s grace and not on himself. How do our weaknesses or challenges help us rely on God? Have you been relying on God with your particular “thorn”
- Take a moment to meditate on the specific purpose this weakness or “thorn” has in your life in “perfecting” and strengthening you.
- How has your thorn brought you into a deeper relationship with God and understanding of who He is?
Read Romans 12:9-13
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
God’s love is immeasurable, unconditional, and perfect. He’s made it possible for me to live well for a very long time with the thorn in my flesh. I am grateful for the many brothers and sisters, friends, and family who have helped me along the way in my need. God’s love and the love of his people fill me with joy and hope. God continually works through my weakness and fear to keep me perfectly reliant on his power.
Q: Being focused on our challenges can make us focus inwardly, in what ways do you feel like God wants you to love someone else today thorn and all? Write their name down and a way to show them love.
Encouragement: Write down what would encourage you personally. Express your needs through prayer to God then to a brother or sister in your life so they may have the honor of serving you.