Summary: Who is in control of your life really? This message encouraged us to ask that question daily.
What Jesus said about the Father
February 01, 2009
Several men of The Vine went out bowling last night up in McHenry. It didn’t take us long to find out who the experienced bowlers were and who the not-so-experienced bowlers were. Rob Marshall was the big man on the lain I was bowling on.
We started out saying, “good job Rob – good job (high five).
As the night lingered on --- good job, yeah good job.
In al parts of life though we all have our weaknesses right?
One weakness that we all share in varying degrees is sharing our throne, and I don’t mean toilet. Who’s in control of your life?
If you’re in control, you may give yourself a little too much credit when you win, and not know where to turn when you fail.
In 2 Corinthians 12:1, Paul is in the midst of a discussion with the Christians in Corinth who apparently were googly eyed with some false prophets boasting about their accomplishments.
Go back and begin reading at 11:21b – skim to Read v. 29-31
If you want to boast, boast in your weakness.
Paul goes all the way down to 12:6 letting people know just what he has to boast about – and he keeps brining up his trials and hardships as he traveled from place to place preaching the good news and strengthening the churches.
In other words, Paul had much to boast about, if you want to boast about your trials.
Sounds weird doesn’t it.
We do it though. Haven’t you ever sat in a room full of people, maybe around a card table or in a den, and tried to out-do each other by the gory stuff that has happened in your life – the injuries etc. that you lived to tell about?
I can usually win those. I sit and listen to everyone and then ask, You ever been shot?
Each one says, “No.” I win! I don’t tell them I accidentally shot myself. Hee, hee.
These false Apostles were holding up their trials and tribulations as badges of honor.
Paul says, well if you want to do that, my breast is loaded with ribbons.
But after he shuts them up, he turns the focus and reminds them/us of something Jesus said to him
READ 12:7-10 and build.
What can we learn from this?
1. Sometimes God’s answer to your prayer is NO!
In fact God always answers you prayer--- Yes, No, or Wait
We only rejoice on the backside of yes’s.
Have you ever heard anyone say, “God blew my transmission last week; it’s going to cost me $2,000 to have it fixed. Praise God, he’s teaching me how to manage my money better.”
“Hey, I didn’t get that promotion I had the whole church praying about, Praise God, He must have more for me to do in that cubicle.”
Paul prayed three times to have his thorn removed. We don’t know what the thorn was.
The Greek word used in the original text meant thorn or stake.
Some believe it was some sort of chronic ailment that plagued him (thorn in the flesh).
Some believe it was all the ongoing trials of the previous chapters (messenger of Satan).
I am glad we don’t know what it was, If we knew everybody would want it.
We would pray for the “gall-stones” of Paul, or the “failing eyesight of the Great Apostle,” Whole liturgies would be written and read in the churches…
God knew our propensity and disallowed Paul to identify it.
What can we learn from this?
2. Your response to the answer is the determining factor
When God says NO, we are left in the situation we asked Him to remove, whether an illness or “fill-in-the-blank”
Our first inclination is to pity ourselves. Our second inclination is to tell others so they will pity us. All of a sudden we have a whole pity-party going complete with refreshments.
In verse ten of our text, Paul says, “I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12:10 NIV)
Why would weakness make him strong?
He is responding to what Jesus said as recorded in verse 9,
…"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…"
(2 Cor 12:9 NIV)
3. Only when you take your eyes off yourself can you even see Jesus working in your life.
A friend of mine in southern IL, Ruth Avery was a RN, great life ahead of her; she kept going home from work each day with terrible joint pain. She found out she had severe Rheumatoid Arthritis. She was on crutches by 40 and in a wheel-chair by 45, and then in 2004 at the young age of fifty years old, she past away due to the complications from all the medicine she was on for the arthritis.