Summary: Life sometimes seems to be giving us a good beating. But God’s purpose in permitting trials and troubles in our lives is not to beat and burden us, but rather to build and bless our Christian life.

Buffeted But Blessed

Text: 2 Cor.12: 9, 10

Intro: Most of us would think the ideas of buffeting and blessing are totally foreign to one another. It’s difficult to wrap our limited insight around the biblical idea that the former could actually produce the latter. As a matter of fact, the average Christian probably isn’t the least bit concerned with understanding such a concept.

The Apostle Paul saw a definite connection between being “buffeted” and being “blessed.” This great servant of God realized that the Lord was purposeful in all He did, and in all He permitted to come into his life, whether good or ill. Paul realized that though he could not live oblivious to the billows and blows of life, it was better to look beyond them, and see the blessings of growth, effectiveness, and maturity they would inevitably produce in him.

That all sounds very noble, doesn’t it? However, as noble as this concept may sound, it is often excruciatingly difficult to seize, spiritually. It isn’t easy to learn to “…count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations (various trials); Knowing this that the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1: 2-3), as James says. It’s far easier to read the concept than to realize it. But realize it we can and must, if we are to live victoriously to the honor and glory of Christ.

In Second Corinthians 12:7-10, Paul explains what God had taught him when it seemed that life was giving him a good beating. There are some very important principles to be learned in this brief passage. Let’s consider them together.

Theme: Paul lists three things for us to consider in our difficulties:


A. Its Purpose.

2 Cor.12: 7a “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelation…”

2 Cor.12: 7c “…lest I should be exalted above measure.”

NOTE: [1] Paul indicates that one of the purposes of his buffeting was to prevent religious pride. The word “exalted” means, “to become haughty.”(1) Albert Barnes notes that:

There is abundant reason to believe that Paul was naturally a proud man. He was by nature self-confident; trusting in his own talents and attainments, and eminently ambitious. When he became a Christian, therefore, one of his besetting sins would be pride; and as he had been especially favored in his call to the apostleship; in his success as a preacher; in the standing which he had among the other apostles, and in the revelations imparted to him, there was also special danger that he would become self-confident and proud of his attainments.(2)

[2] If the Apostle Paul could have a problem with pride, believe me; any of us could have the same problem. As a matter of fact, most all of us have a pride problem from time to time. However, God knows how to deflate our over-inflated ego, just like this guy:

Some people think they are a wonder when they are not. I heard about a bachelor who was on an airplane. He saw a pretty stewardess and decided to get her attention.

She passed by and said, “Sir, you do not have your seat belt fastened.”

He replied, “Well, my dear, Superman doesn’t need a seat belt.”

She never hesitated, but responded immediately, “Yes, and Superman would not need an airplane either, fasten your seat belt!”(3)

[3] The potential for religious pride lay in the “…abundance of the revelations” given to Paul by the Lord.

[3a] Paul was blinded on the Damascus Road, by the brightness of the glorified Christ (Acts 9: 3; 22: 6).

[3b] Paul had seen a vision in which he was instructed to go preach to the Gentiles (Acts 22: 17-21).

[3c] It was through a vision that Paul had been called to go preach the Gospel in Macedonia (Acts 16: 9).

[3d] Paul was taken up “into paradise,” where he heard “unspeakable words” (2 Cor.12: 2-4).

[3e] Paul received the revelation of divine truth concerning the “mystery” of Christ and His Church (Eph.3: 3).

[4] Christians sometimes fail to understand that Satan will use good things to corrupt our lives. If we don’t stay alert, Satan will turn a blessing from God into boasting in the flesh.

B. Its Properties.

1. It was painful.

2 Cor.12: 7b “…a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me…”

NOTE: [1] The word translated “thorn” refers to a “‘a sharp stake used for torturing or impaling someone.’”(4)

[2] The word “buffet” also implies pain, in that it means, “to strike with clenched hands, to buffet with the fist.”(5)

[3] One is caused to wonder why God would allow such a choice servant as Paul, to suffer this kind of satanic antagonism.

[3a] Paul said that the trials he endured were a constant reminder of his personal weakness and inability apart from the enabling power of God (2 Cor.12: 10).

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