1 & 2 Corinthians: Day 38

Paul’s Sufferings for Christ

by

Today's Text: 2 Corinthians 11:1-33, John 3:29, Revelation 19:7-8

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 11:1-33, John 3:29, Revelation 19:7-8

Strong. It’s not a word I would typically use to describe myself in the classic sense. I’m rather small and hold limited muscle on my frame. I don’t exercise intensely, and frankly, I prefer rest and relaxation to exercise and exertion. What’s true of me physically is mirrored in my mental life. I’m a go-with-the-flow kind of girl with just enough “go” to make things happen, if needed. Striving and goal-setting aren’t ideas that get me too excited, and they definitely aren’t words that come out of my mouth with joy.

When I’m operating at my best, I’m moving methodically, without too much urgency and typically without any real sense of the final destination. I prefer to envision the next stop along the path. And that is why it is absolutely hilarious when I’m asked, often, how I’ve accomplished what I’ve accomplished.  

Over the years, I’ve met with success professionally. I’m now asked to speak and share my story of perceived success and strength with others. But what they are seeing isn’t me at all. They are witnessing the Lord’s hand in my life, and He has given me more strength than I could have ever imagined. God alone has grown and sustained the work in my life. At times it’s tempting to believe the hype myself and to focus on my accomplishments. Even to boast in them. But taking even a moment to dwell on these thoughts would be short-sighted and misguided.

In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul is sharing his temptation to do this very thing—to boast in his own strength. Some believed he was inferior to the “super apostles,” false prophets who were attacking him in order to discredit the gospel of grace Paul was preaching.

In a rebuttal of sorts, Paul begins to share his resume: his status as both an Israelite and servant of Jesus, whose accomplishments and suffering for the cause of Christ would supersede most anyone’s in his time and in ours. He brings up his shipwreck, his floggings, and the dangers he endured for the sake of the gospel. But just when you think he’s going to give the final uppercut, he flips the script and says:

If boasting is necessary, I will boast about my weaknesses.
—2 Corinthians 11:30

In this chapter, Paul creatively reminds himself, the Corinthians, and us, that boasting of anyone or anything other than Jesus is foolish. Any boasting we partake in should point to God’s power and grace. Paul’s perspective brought him back to gratitude for our Savior. Finding Jesus in our weaknesses should do the very same thing for us. All glory and all praise belong to Him alone.

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Wynter Pitts is the founder of For Girls Like You, a resource ministry for both tween girls and their parents. The mother of four girls herself, Wynter’s mission is to empower and equip women of all ages in becoming who God created them to be, and to support parents in raising strong Christ followers. She is the author of several books, including You’re God’s Girl Devotional and She Is Yours: Trusting God As You Raise the Girl He Gave You.  Wynter, her husband Jonathan, and their daughters (ages 7-13) live in Dallas, Texas. Follow her on Instagram @forgirlslikeyou.

  • anne-marie Spring

    Wynter Pitts, as I saw you wrote this devotional today my heart dropped, for your girls and your husband. Your impact on the world whole you were alive was phenomenal. But through your passing it’s been even greater, you truley were a good and faithful SERVANT and the heritage you have left your girls is precious. Because of the mom you were they will be so powerful in the kingdom. X

    • Rhonda Cottrell

      My heart dropped as well and eyes filled with tears. What a life of impact!!! She is truly missed on this earth but rejoicing with her Lord.

  • Felidian

    Please join me in praying for the Pitts family. Wynter has gone home to be with the Lord – to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
    Unaware of her ministry and calling, I came across this a few days ago and was deeply touched https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9JBd0xqBGQ&t=29s. And now I come across her devotional above. Even in her death her impact is far-reaching.

  • KC Derond

    I love how Paul really does flip the script and offer to boast about his weaknesses. How humble this guy is! After all he’s endured, he still remains faithful and true to his Savior. Amazing! He is such an inspirational figure to me. My favourite person in the Bible, as weird as that may sound.

  • I love the emphasis on focus on my weaknesses! It is so contrary to what we tend to talk about (strengths and accomplishments), yet by doing this, we are showing others the power of a God who provides all that we need and the strength and gifts that He brings to each of us. Thank you for sharing this devotional!

  • This is so interesting! Thank you Bev for sharing this!

  • The Holy Spirit keeps highlighting verses to me that seem obscure and irrelevant, but instead of skipping over them He compels me to go digging. 2 Cor 11:2 and John 3:29 refer to “The friend of the bridegroom”. Huh?
    The Corinthians would have understood this very important societal and cultural role. The Friend of the Bridegroom was the Trusted Friend with a very important job: making sure the bride stayed true and chaste, that she was not deceived, distracted, or wooed away from her ‘spouse elect’. This Friend was the ambassador between the bride and the bridegroom prior to marriage, he was the guard and defender of her character. Paul considers himself This Friend and is willing to suffer for the sake of the ‘marriage’.
    Now it makes sense.
    It makes me meditate and be grateful for Those Friends in my life. The Friends who share this study with me, pray with me, confront me when necessary. The staff at She Reads Truth and all of you online Shes that keep me engaged. And of course, the Holy Spirit who nudges me to do a little digging, spend a little more time in the Word, and get to know Him a little bit better.

  • “…if you receive a different spirit from the one you received…” (v.4) I am stuck on this today. I am in a difficult season. For months I have lived in darkness, despair, feeling numb to the world while simultaneously being aware of its turning around me. After months leaning on my successes and accomplishments to convince me that everything was fine, I finally reached out to my doctor to discuss my depression, and I have reached a place in my life where I want nothing more than to serve Christ first and foremost in my life. I am not writing to say that magically I am healed now. Every day continues to be a struggle, but I want to struggle now. I open my arms to my weaknesses so I can lean into God’s strength on the other side. I am tired of this spirit of fear, defeat, despair, hopelessness. This is not the Spirit I received. I don’t understand the reason for this season of my life, but I have to rejoice because it has brought me into closer fellowship with God, and I see Him working in my family. Please pray for me that I seek the Lord, for his presence not just His deliverance, and that my weakness would continue to point me to His strength. Thankful for this community. Praying for you all.

    • Churchmouse

      Praying for you, Kayla. Strength out of weakness: one of His specialties

    • Krystle

      I pray that you’ll keep in fellowship with Him, that you’ll undeniably see His presence in your life, and that He will build you up in every weak area. Keep depending on the Lord. He is there for you and He will keep your heart and mind stayed on Him. ❤️

  • Sierra Collister

    Ive been job hunting and so practicing and preparing for interviews has caused me to have this excessive focus on my own strengths and accomplishments. Im finding it super stressful to try and explain how super duper great I am when honestly I’ve just done my best in every situation, used the talents that Ive been blessed with and had god-given opportunities to develop, and just jumped in and trusted him with the rest. For my whole sales career Ive always given all the glory to god. I say that I do what I know is the right thing to do and leave the rest to him and he fills in the cracks. He makes the magic happen. He is the gift giver. Im going to give myself permission to stop striving to figure out how to perfectly promote myself in these interviews and just go back to being my authentic self. A driven, talented gal who relies on god’s grace and goodness in her life to get the job done. I could never do it alone!!

    • truthseeker

      Wow ! Great perspective on how you got where you are and Who got you there. Wonderful that you gave yourself permission to be you – a God’s girl who is after His own heart. Blessings on you and your job hunt.

    • Johnesha Floyd

      Your post is definitely something I needed to read! I am also on a job search and it has definitely been challenging to ace an interview. I’m currently letting go and letting God do all the talking. I feel that what is meant for me will be for me through God’s love and grace. And through Him these employers will see how great we truly are. Good luck on your job hunt!

  • England Elsie

    How easy it is to boast on facebook and instagram. The constant comparison. But we are to do as Paul does and only boast in Christ.

    How we should do that this week!

  • Karen Lockwood

    Amen!

  • I love how the study points out how Paul’s perspective brought him gratitude. All that he endured, all that the world said he was not, all of his weaknesses were made into strength through a Christ. With Hod he endured and that brought gratitude that he could not boast in himself, but only on the Lord. That is the posture I want my heart to be in at all times!

  • Does anyone know why you can no longer click on the Bible verse and be directed straight to the verses ? It made it so convenient! Just curious.

    • Allecia

      Not seeing this now but I have in the past. I then downloaded Chrome, went to the IF website to view the devotional and the links worked.

    • AimeeJoy

      I have to turn off my ad-blocker for this site so that it won’t see the link as a pop-up or another form of Ad.

    • Rachel

      Clear your cookies/history and it’ll fix it.

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Joy, we’re sorry that you’re having trouble. I’d also suggest using a different browser and clearing your cache. Let us know if you have any other questions! -Margot, The SRT Team

      • ROBIN J DAUGHERTY

        THere are less comments over the past week or two- did u all change the way comments show on the website?

  • Kelly Chataine

    In the past nine months, I have come face to face with my fears and weaknesses. The Holy Spirit, God’s Word, prayer, and fellow believers were lifelines to bring me out of the murky, deep waters of this world’s limitations. In my times of fear and weakness, Jesus has provided me with strength and endurance, far beyond my hope or imagination could have predicted.
    We serve a living, powerful, faithful, and loving God! All praise and glory to Him!

  • Kathy Valentine

    Last Sunday, our pastor taught on Paul and his visit to Ananias immediately after his (Paul’s) conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts). Ananias, knowing that this man had been on his way to persecute the Christians, was reasonably afraid when God said to welcome Paul into his home. The Lord said, “I will show him what he must suffer for my name.” The list of Paul’s sufferings is incredible. Makes me wonder if I would be able to suffer the same for Jesus. I trust that along with struggle and suffering, God will provide His supernatural strength and grace to endure it for His name. Good thing, because on my own, I’m quite a wimp!

  • Churchmouse

    Whenever I read these verses two words come to mind : seduction and strength. Paul mentions that the Corinthians (and me) have “minds that may be seduced from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” How easy it is to be drawn away, to fritter away time I could be using to get to know Jesus better, indulging in my wants and needs above having intimate time with Him. Paul also mentions the strength required to follow Jesus – a strength that endures suffering. Paul is aware of his limitations, his weaknesses and so he boasts only that his strength to persevere comes through Christ, not of himself. In his weakness, Christ gave him strength. Seduction and strength. May I be on guard to the wiles of Satan who is disguised as an angel of light, who seeks to seduce me to my peril. May I resist by drawing on the supernatural strength that comes from Christ in me. I an weak but He is strong.

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