Beyond Ourselves

The apostle Paul accepted what it intended to be pushed to the boundaries of his life.

According to his letters, he knew a lot about difficulty, trouble, and trial. But he was most well informed about the final significance of all those distressing experiences glorifying Jesus thru his weakness. We do not wish to feel helpless or beyond control of our own lives. What we will be able to learn from Paul and from our own experiences is the preface to great strength is great weakness. A vital lesson of the Christian life is that our weakest moments those times we feel the most desperate are the times when God is free to do His best work by enabling and reinforcing us.

In those circumstances during which we murmur, God, I can’t go on, we are granted the best providing and the best enabling to suffer and endure. Human nature cries out for strength, bravery, and adequacy to meet each challenge in life. Therefore , many of us dodge fiery trials and valley experiences at any price so they won’t have to experience weakness. They tell themselves that they can handle life on their own terms and that their own strength is satisfactory. But we will never understand the mystical empowerment to go past our own boundaries unless we experience it for ourselves. The sole way to have conviction about the adequacy of Christ in our lives is to experience weakness and the strength that sprouts from it. Regardless of what is occurring in our lives, there’s power available to the children of God.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our bro, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all of the saints which are in all Achaia. Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Sanctified be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.

Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be in a position to comfort them which are in any difficulty, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be troubled, it is for your consolation and deliverance, which is effectual in the long-lasting of the same sufferings which we also suffer : or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and deliverance. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. For we wouldn’t, brethren, have you blind to our difficulty which came to us in the East, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life.

But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead. Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver : in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us. Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the present bestowed on us by the way of many people thanks could be given by many on our behalf. For our rejoicing is this, the affidavit of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly knowledge, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation on the planet, and more extravagantly to you-ward. For we write none other stuff unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge ; and I trust ye shall recognize even to the end. As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus. And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye may have a 2nd benefit. And to go by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea. When I thus was therefore minded, did I use lightness? Or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? But as God is true, our word toward you wasn’t yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, wasn’t yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all of the guarantees of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God.

Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. Likewise I call God for a record on my soul, that to spare you I came not at the present unto Corinth. Not for that we have dominion over your religion, but are assistants of your joy : for by religion ye stand. One more thing.