“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” —2 Corinthians 12:9
While there are people who believe they lack a reason for living, there are others who believe they have ample reason, but eventually discover they do not have resources equal to maintaining their reason. Eventually, they become frustrated, exhausted and burned out. Some will try to fire their engines with drugs, alcohol or other artificial stimuli, which lead to addictions that destroy life rather than refuel it. Empty and depleted of resources, where do we go?
The Apostle Paul, fully aware of his weaknesses, labels himself “the chief of sinners, the least of the apostles”. Take Christ out of his life and he sees himself in the gutter. In Philippians 1:20, he writes that he hopes he will in no way be ashamed but have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in his body, whether by life or by death. Like Paul, most of us are aware of our lack of courage, yet we try to exhibit strength, boldness and confidence while we camouflage doubt, fear and weakness. But it is in our weaknesses that Christ exhibits His strength and it is in our poverty of spirit, realizing we do not have what it takes, that Christ reveals His riches. To magnify Christ was Paul’s reason for living and he was utterly dependent upon the resources that came from the life of Christ within him.
To the extent of which Christ was magnified in Paul was likely the extent to which Paul did what he knew he could not do in a strength that was not his own. Who he became was someone he knew he was not in himself! The only valid explanation for Paul’s life and ministry was the presence of Christ within him. Conversely, the extent to which we remain independent and self-sufficient is the extent to which we limit and inhibit what Christ would do in our lives.
A sense of all-togetherness leaves us in spiritual poverty, but weakness and vulnerability opens us up to spiritual riches and the unlimited resources we have in Christ. God’s ambition for us is that Christ be magnified in us. In Christ, Paul experienced strength out of weakness, and riches out of poverty. That is why he writes, “...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” (2 Corinthians 12:10). To allow the sovereign Lord of the universe to work through our weaknesses is tremendously liberating. This is where Christ will show Himself strong, and where His life becomes magnified in us.