Ben Fetterolf
Follower of Jesus | Husband | Father | Pastor at Hampton Park Baptist Church of Greenville, SC
User since 2019
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The gospel is a comfort. But the gospel is also a call on our lives as believers. We need to hear both: the comfort AND call of the gospel.
Romans 8:1-9
How do you view God? Do you view him as angry at you? Or committed to you? This prophet helps us see how we *should* view God.
Obadiah 1-21
Livestream is a technological gift. But have we adequately thought through the potential downsides to this particular methodology?
Hebrews 10:24-25
I have died. The significance of that statement can't be overstated. I must believe it and live in light of it in order to truly live.
Romans 6:1-14
There are two realms (or kingdoms!) in which to live. The realm where death reigns and the realm where righteousness reigns.
Romans 5:12-21
Most conversations about biblical manhood/womanhood go to a few NT texts. But what God says in the very beginning sets a solid foundation.
Genesis 2:18-25
In what or whom do you find your joy? Does it last through the varying circumstances of life? Where can true, enduring joy be found?
Romans 5:1-11
"No list of sins I have not done; no list of virtues I pursue; no list of those I am not like can earn myself a place with you..."
Romans 4:1-12
What do your words say about your heart?
James 3:3-12
Trials bring dark days. But those times are most important to remember who God is and who we are.
Hebrews 10:32-39
What do you feel you are lacking today? Are things spinning out of control? Anchor yourself in God's character and promises.
Psalms 23:1-6
Grace, gift, faith. These are the words that dominate this foremost text on how to be made right with God.
Romans 3:21-31
What is the role of the law in the life of a believer? And what does the law teach us about God?
Romans 3:1-20
How highly do you view your words? Are you more likely to encourage others to listen to you or to listen to God?
James 1:19-21
Why do you call yourself a Christian? Your answer to that question is significant and identifies where you rest your hope.
Romans 2:17-29
Have you ever thought about how many sermons you've heard in your lifetime? Knowing is useless apart from faith and repentance.
Romans 2:1-16
We often think of God's wrath on the last day. But how is his wrath manifest in the present day?
Romans 1:18-32
Why do you like spending time with other Christians? Because you have mutual interests? Or because you long to see God at work among them?
Romans 1:8-17
Why did Paul write Romans? What is Romans about? These important questions are answered from the very start of the letter.
Romans 1:1-7
What role, if any, do works play in being made right with God?
Romans 4:1-5
Does God keep you in His love? Or do we keep ourselves in His love? Jude answers this very specifically.
Jude 17-25
Contending for the faith initially seems external. But the greatest battle for the faith may need to happen in my own heart.
Jude 8-16
You're probably familiar with loving others on Sunday. But what does love look like on Monday through Friday?
1 Thessalonians 4:9-12
Has your evangelism been fueled by guilt? Why not fuel it with joy?
1 John 1:1-4
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Contentment and Joy in Weakness
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
How do you respond to disappointments and discouragements? Do you run from them? Avoid them? Paul teaches us how God intends to use them.
Published April 15th, 2020
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Main point summary
Main point summary
I will gladly endure and remain content in all kinds of hardships so that Christ's power is clearly displayed through my life.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
So f to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, 1
καὶ τῇ ὑπερβολῇ τῶν ἀποκαλύψεων. Διὸ ἵνα μὴ ὑπεραίρωμαι, ἐδόθη μοι σκόλοψ τῇ σαρκί, ἄγγελος σατανᾶ ἵνα με κολαφίζῃ ἵνα μὴ ὑπεραίρωμαι.
g a thorn was given me in the flesh,
h a messenger of Satan
to harass me,
to keep me from becoming conceited.
i Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this,
ὑπὲρ τούτου τρὶς τὸν κύριον παρεκάλεσα ἵνα ἀποστῇ ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ.
that it should leave me.
But he said to me,
καὶ εἴρηκέν μοι· ἀρκεῖ σοι ἡ χάρις μου· ἡ γὰρ δύναμις ἐν ἀσθενείᾳ τελεῖται. ἥδιστα οὖν μᾶλλον καυχήσομαι ἐν ταῖς ἀσθενείαις μου, ἵνα ἐπισκηνώσῃ ἐπ᾽ ἐμὲ ἡ δύναμις τοῦ χριστοῦ.
j “My grace is sufficient for you,
for k my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses,
so that l the power of Christ may rest upon me.
m For the sake of Christ,
διὸ εὐδοκῶ ἐν ἀσθενείαις, ἐν ὕβρεσιν, ἐν ἀνάγκαις, ἐν διωγμοῖς καὶ στενοχωρίαις, ὑπὲρ χριστοῦ· ὅταν γὰρ ἀσθενῶ τότε δυνατός εἰμι.
then, n I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.
For o when I am weak,
then I am strong.
Observations : 2x in v.7 Paul says that God gave him this thorn "to keep him from being conceited." There is a propensity to become conceited because of our relationship with God. The thorn in the flesh is further described as "a messenger of Satan" sent "to harass" Paul. This thorn was designed by God because its purposes are good. Satan has no interest in keeping people from being conceited. But the thorn is a messenger of Satan, which undoubtedly causes Paul to move towards God in greater dependence on him. Paul's response to the thorn is in v.8. Paul did not like the thorn. He wanted it to go away. It was uncomfortable. It was unpleasant. We don't endure pain, trials, discomfort because we go from viewing them as unpleasant to viewing them as pleasant. They don't stop hurting. Nor should we tell people to stop hurting. We endure pain, trials, and discomfort because we know that (1) someone is sovereign over and above them and (2) that person is with us in the midst of them and (3) that person can use them to demonstrate His power in our weakness. God's response to Paul's pleadings is in v.9. God's grace is sufficient for Paul. This reminds me of Jesus' words in the sermon on the mount: "Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (Matt 6:34). We are not sufficient in trials. Our willpower is not sufficient. God's grace is sufficient. BUT "My grace is sufficient for you" is not a platitude. It's not just words thrown out there to make someone feel better. It comes with an argument for why this is true. God's grace is sufficient because "his power is made perfect in weakness." Weakness is the on-ramp for God's power. Self-sufficiency is the antithesis to God's power being at work. Complete dependency (weakness) opens the door to God's power. Why is this? Because there's no other explanation for someone persevering and thriving in apparent weakness that they don't desire to be experiencing! God's power shines through in those who persevere with joy through their trials (see v.10 - "weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, calamities" - far ranging application). Paul's conclusion of the matter is two-fold. If everything said above is true, then here's Paul's conclusions/applications: (1) I will (not decry or complain about or sulk in but rather) boast in my weaknesses so that Christ's power is manifest in my life (1 Cor 12:9). (2) For the sake of Christ's name and power, I will be content in whatever situation I am in (1 Cor 12:10; cf. Phil 4:13). Application : The weight of the application seems to be in Paul's conclusions in 9d-10c based on the truths in 7a-9c. First, in 9d-e, Paul will boast more gladly in his weaknesses. This is a shocking statement. I don't boast in my weaknesses. I boast in my competency, my successes, my accomplishments. Paul's conclusion from the above truths is that he will boast more gladly in his weaknesses. SO THAT the power of Christ may rest upon me. Paul will be happy to minister in weakness in order that the power of Jesus may be clearly displayed in his life. He will happily speak simple, gospel words that God will powerfully use (1 Cor 2:1-4). What is my goal in ministering? Is my goal to be well thought of? Or am I glad to be weak? Is my goal to be viewed as competent and successful? Or is my "so that" (the reason for what I'm doing) that "the power of Christ may rest upon me." The driving goal of Paul's desire to minister in weakness is that Jesus' power is more clearly displayed in his weakness (than in his "strength"). 9e makes this clear. So, what is ministering out of weakness? Ministering out of weakness means that I humbly receive criticism and trust that God can use me in spite of my failings. Ministering out of weakness means that I joyfully persevere in difficult circumstances (weakness) in order that Jesus' power is displayed more clearly. Ministering out of weakness means that I don't have to force my own views on other people but rather can rest in (and stand on and point to) the Word of my God. His words reign. My words don't. His words are power. My words are weak. Ministering out of weakness means that my words are filled with His Words. Second, in 10a, Paul says that the truths above lead to his being content in all areas of weakness: weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. God's sufficient grace (9b) makes Paul content in situations in which he (and I!) would otherwise be utterly discontent. It takes a large helping of grace for someone to be attacked, suffering insult after insult and say, "God, I'm completely content right here. Your grace is sufficient for me." It takes a large helping of grace for someone to experience physical persecution and say, "God, I'm fine with where I'm at because your power is made perfect in my weakness." This is hard to even comprehend. So, where is my heart? Am I quick to complain about my circumstances? Am I prone to quit when I run into hardships of insults? Do I quickly doubt God when calamities or undesired circumstances come? Or do I say, "I am content with _____________ for the sake of Christ, so that his power can rest upon me. In my weakness his strength shines through"? What this means is that those times in my life when I feel weak, ineffective, and unable to minister (times of weakness, insults, hardships, calamities, etc.) are actually times when God's power can be most clearly displayed through my life .
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.