Reading in 2 Corinthians 11 I came across Paul’s description of his life . . . again . . . how many times this passage has been read, studied, discussed, I can not count. But today it really hit me hard because of all of the various things my husband and I study every morning, the theme throughout the last few days was about making ourselves available to Christ – to truly listening to His Voice – being obedient to His instructions, no matter where they may lead us, no matter what we may have to face along the way.
“Oh,” we say “we’re doing that . . . bless God!” and then, we read about Paul. He listened to God, he obeyed, he was very influential for Christ in his lifetime – as well as throughout history – we still are learning from him! Do you remember what all he boasted about? His upbringing, the teachers he sat under, his zealousness for God, his knowledge of Scripture, even his Roman heritage? Yes, these were all mentioned. However, it was the times in which he sacrificed himself for the sake of The Gospel that he truly boasted about . . . let’s take a look at just a few:
“Five times I received from the Jews forty lashes minus one.” verse 24
Do we ever think of this? During Passion week, we do, concerning Jesus and what He went through for us, but Paul shares that this happened FIVE times in his ministry . . .
He also shares other things that were a part of his life . . . hunger, being stoned and left for dead . . .
What about his experiences at sea? Three times shipwrecked, and spent one full day and night IN the sea – fighting for his life – he clearly states in verse 23 that he had been ‘exposed to death again and again’
He had been in danger wherever he went . . . in the city, in the country, from false accusers, from his brethren, from bandits . . . even spent MUCH time in prisons!!! (Praising God for this as he wrote most of his epistles through these specific times.)
These things . . . are what he chose to boast about!
The circumstances he faced in life – the times he had to completely rely upon Holy Spirit for strength, comfort, provision, protection. NOT the things he had done, no, but that which Christ accomplished THROUGH his times of struggle. ALL glory goes to God!
This causes me to cry out in prayer “Lord, forgive me!” Honestly, we’ve not been through anything anywhere near what Paul went through and yet he remained humble when he actually had much reason to boast about who he was . . . he chose, instead, to obediently follow after Christ and give Him all praise!
(c) klh 4Given Ministries