10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Cor.12:10 NLT
In the verses from 2 Cor.11:5 to 12:7a, Paul has been making the case that only a fool would boast about the things that they accomplish in their own strength. He is is making two points. One is that as long as we think we can, God won’t and the other is that we are foolish to think that we can do any of God’s work in our own strength. Jesus made that fact very clear.
5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. — John 15:5
We are not put here on earth to brag and boast about ourselves and our accomplishments. Our purpose here on earth is to bring praise to God in our words and actions.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. — 1 Peter 2:9
It is in our weakest moments that God shows up to deliver us, it is when we come to the end of our rope and ask God for wisdom, that He shows us the open door through which He will take us to safety. Therefore, let us, like Paul, delight in our weaknesses and in whatever situation we find ourselves, trust God. As long as we think we can, God will allow us to struggle on our own.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
17 “Jeremiah, get ready. Stand up and tell them everything I command you to say. Don’t be afraid of the people, or I will give you good reason to be afraid of them. 18 Today I am going to make you a strong city, an iron pillar, a bronze wall. You will be able to stand against everyone in the land: Judah’s kings, officers, priests, and the people of the land.19 They will fight against you, but they will not defeat you, because I am with you to protect you!” says the Lord. — Jeremiah 1:17-19 NCV
God had just told Jeremiah to go and tell the rulers and the people of Jersusalem that the city would soon be overrun with armies from the north. Once the disaster started, it would be over quickly, like water pouring from a pot that has been tipped over. It is understandable that Jeremiah probably was not too excited about delivering that message to the kings and their armies. Jeremiah would soon learn the lesson that we need to learn. God never sends us on a mission that He has not prepared us to go on. He never sends us alone, He is always with us. If He says we will not be defeated, then we can be assured that He will prevail for us. It is our weakest moments that God uses for His glory. He wants the odds against us winning to be so great that when we do win and the world sees it, they have no choice but to say that our God is the Great Almighty God. Jeremiah was told to “gird up his loins” (KJV) to prepare himself physically for the battle since he would be facing people. Since our warfare now is not against people but against spiritual rulers and demons, we are told to “gird up the loins of our minds”. (KJV).
13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. — 1 Peter 1:13 NLT
Whether the battle is physical or spiritual, the battle is not ours, it belongs to the Lord. He will overcome and we will not be defeated. But, just as Jeremiah was directed to stand up and deliver the message to the people, our instructions are the same. So, we need to prepare ourselves and our minds for the tricks of the devil and be ready to stand up and tell the world everything that God will give us to say.