Paul’s Sufferings for Christ
Open Your Bible
2 Corinthians 11:1-33, John 3:29, Revelation 19:7-8
BY Guest Writer
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.
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.