2 Corinthians 4:7 says, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” Once Paul understood that God’s grace would be sufficient for him, he embraced his thorn in the flesh. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “…Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities…” What was his understanding?
Verse 7-8 continues, “…that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Doing things in our own strength, strengthens our flesh and blocks grace. We must recognize that our weakness is God’s way to receive His strength.
The same power that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us. It is most clearly evident in our lives when we absolutely place our dependence on Him. Ephesians 1:19-20 in the Amplified says, “And (so that you can know and understand) what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead…”
Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” Verse 16 in the Amplified says, “May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the (Holy) Spirit (Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality).”
Let me recap some of the above words for our treasure within: excellence of the power, immeasurable, unlimited, surpassing greatness, exerted in, exceedingly abundantly, strengthened, and reinforced. Great words that are activated within us when we are yielded to the Holy Spirit. They are most clearly evident to those around us as we are in our deepest need.
Again I look back to an example that Steve Saint was for me. His precious young daughter had a massive aneurysm and he was saying goodbye. Here are his words that are written in the front of my Bible. “If I had asked God to change things and He gave in to me, how would my change alter the rest of His plan? I don’t want to ask God for what I desperately wanted in the short run, only to find out it had cost us what God wanted for us in the long run.”
When desperation rises up in our trial, we have two choices. Paul’s choice is our example. He had pleaded with the Lord to remove the thorn in his flesh. When the Lord reassured Paul that He would be his strength, Paul embraced that thorn wholeheartedly. I marvel at his words ‘most gladly’, and ‘I take pleasure’.
Paul left us another example of how to live in the treasure of God’s resurrection power. 2 Corinthians 4:18 says, “While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen…” It is so easy to get overwhelmed with what we do see, rather than gazing at the Lord, and looking to Him for the strength we need moment by moment.