Paul's Pleasures

J. D. Conley
April 9, 2017

The apostle Paul was a remarkable Christian. Adjectives such as, "matchless," and "peerless," have been used to describe him. The cruel hardships and trials he endured have indelibly etched his name in the Lamb's book of life.

There are any number of passages that powerfully demonstrate the commitment Paul had for Christ and the church, but let’s consider this one, "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities. that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong" (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

After praying three times for the Lord to remove his thorn in the flesh, (v.8), he gladly accepted Heaven’s answer. That answer was not the one he initially wanted. But, evidently, as he thought upon the "[Lord's] grace [being] sufficient for [him]," it appears to have been an answer that he not only happily embraced, but came to appreciate even more than had his thorn been extracted! He came to understand that it was better for him to endure and struggle with the thorn, than to have it removed. This is what he meant when he said, "for my strength is made perfect in weakness." He quickly came around to seeing the Lord's point of view and how it was actually more beneficialfor him to have the thorn than not. He added, "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." This realization alone, shows the rarity of the man. It was Paul who wrote, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me" (Philippians 4:13).

This achievement of heart caused him to adapt the attitude of taking pleasure in things that cause many Christians today to recoil. Paul proved hardship can be met with pleasure! Not that hardship itself is pleasurable, but the end result can be. Because if Christians today will meet their "infirmities, reproaches, necessities, persecutions, and distresses for Christ's sake," the way Paul did, then the pay off, the pleasurable outcome, will be spiritual strength, which is a requirement for salvation.

Can we take pleasure in the things Paul did? Can we truthfully say with him, "for when I am weak, then am I strong?"