Through the Bible Day by Day
It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
THE SECRET OF STRENGTH
It is a sublime phrase-a man in Christ. We reach our full stature only when we are in Him. We are but fragments of manhood until the true man is formed in us. Of course the presence of Jesus is always with us, but its manifestation is reserved for special emergencies, when it is peculiarly needed. It is thought that this supreme revelation was synchronous with Paul’s stoning at Lystra, Act_14:1-28. While the poor body was being mangled, his spirit was in the third heaven, that is, in Paradise. What a contrast between being let down in a basket and being caught up into glory! How indifferent to the derisions of men is the soul that lives in God!
We do not know what this thorn, or stake, was-whether eye trouble, or imperfect utterance, or some deformity in appearance-but it was the source of much suffering and many temptations. At first Paul prayed for its removal, but as soon as he learned that its continuance was the condition of receiving additional grace, he not only accepted it, but even gloried in its presence. May we not believe that all disabilities are permitted to drive us to realize and appropriate all that Jesus can be to the hard-pressed soul!
I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.
“I SEEK NOT YOURS, BUT YOU”
“The long burst of passionate self-vindication has now at last expended itself,” says Dean Stanley, and Paul returns to the point whence he diverged at 2Co_10:7, where he was avowing his intention to repress the disobedience of those who still resisted his authority at Corinth. “Now,” he says, “my folly is over. That I should have indulged in it is your fault, not mine.” What a comfort it is that he lays such repeated stress on his weakness! Instead of complaining of it, he used it as an argument with Christ that He should put forth more grace, and as an argument with his converts, that the results of his work had been granted as the divine endorsement of his apostolate.
Paul felt that his paternal relation to this church gave him the right to rebuke them, as a father rebukes his children. But he realized that they did not reciprocate his love, probably because they permitted the evil things enumerated in the closing verses. Often moral obliquity accounts for the decline and failure of love. Among other things, they had even accused him of getting money, if not directly, yet through Titus. But there were worse things still that needed to be dealt with, 2Co_12:20-21. Would that we were more often humbled to the dust by the sins of our brethren!