Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Your Greatest Assets For Service

Our greatest assets as Christians are our weaknesses and the attacks that come on us from Satan. Our greatest liabilities are what we perceive to be our strengths and abilities. Before you write me off as a lunatic, please read on and let me prove to you these seemingly outrageous contradictions from Scripture.

Historical background

The Church in Corinth was one of the many churches the Apostle Paul founded. Shortly after he left them, they were infected by false teachers claiming to be Apostles of Christ. The false Apostles attempted to undermine Paul’s authority and message. In order to counteract division and confusion Paul wrote I Corinthians. Later he wrote II Corinthians to expose the false Apostles who were trying to take over the church.

This was a difficult situation for Paul and he needed to deal with it wisely. He could have attempted to out-boast them as far as credentials and accomplishments were concerned. He could have boasted about his vision of Heaven which he mentions in chapter 12. Instead Paul turned to three assets that gave him the edge over the false teachers.

PAUL’S ASSETS

His Persecutions

II Corinthians 11:13-20 describes how these false teachers, servants of Satan, were coming as messengers of light and deceiving the people. They were also abusing the Christians and living as fat-cats off the offerings of the people.

On the other hand, Paul was living sacrificially and suffering shame and persecution for Christ. Jesus had warned His Apostles of the persecution that would follow them. Matthew 10:16-39 John 16:18-21. Paul writes in II Corinthians of the persecution he endured for Christ. Read of it in II Corinthians. 1:3-10, 4:8-12, 6:3-10, 11:22-28. He faced suffering and death daily. The point is that persecution for Christ proved Paul was a genuine Apostle. Persecution was an asset for him in his defense of his Apostleship.

Satan’s Thorn

In II Corinthians 12:1-10 Paul speaks about the thorn. This thorn was like a stake driven right into his flesh.. If it had not been for the thorn, no doubt Paul would have been a very proud man. After all, God had saved him in a very unusual way. He taught him first hand in the
Arabian desert. God had used him to found many churches. He wrote thirteen inspired epistles of the New Testament. To top it all off, he had been to Heaven and back. In verse 7 he makes it clear that the thorn in his flesh was given to humble him. Whatever that thorn was, we know it was a messenger of Satan to buffet his flesh.

There are those misguided Christians who use the phrase in Isaiah 53:5-6 “By His stripes we are healed” to try to prove that Christian have no business ever being sick. That Isaiah passage is speaking of how we are saved from our sins. It has nothing to do with our physical health. In fact, Romans 8:22-23 makes it clear that we Christians still have unredeemed bodies. Though our souls are saved, our bodies experience pain and suffering just like the unsaved. I John 3:2 speaks of the redemption of our bodies which is still in the future.

We are invited to pray for healing for ourselves and for others. But we are to pray asking for God’s will. If God sees fit to allow us to continue to suffer, we are to accept it submissively and joyfully.

In this life, God still allows Satan access to our bodies, as He allowed Satan access to Job’s body. But never forget that this access is measured out by God and. God never allows Satan to go beyond His permission. Read about this in Job 1.

Since this is true, we must learn to understand that all attacks of Satan are by permission of God and only for our good. Romans 8:28 teaches that everything that touches our lives comes by permission of God and it is all working together for good. If that is so, and it is, then why do we get upset and depressed by Satan’s attacks. Why do some Christians try to command Satan to leave them. We have no business commanding Satan and telling him where to go. Learn from Job. Though Job spoke often with God, he never once spoke to the devil. It is silly of us to try to get rid of Satan. Folks, Satan is an asset to us. Psalm 76:10 tells us that the wrath of men, including Satan-inspired men works for our good and for the glory of God. Anything beyond that, God does not allow. He restrains it. If this is so, and it is; then Satan himself is an asset to us as God uses him to draw us to Himself and make us more like Jesus.

His weaknesses

A third asset for Paul was his human weaknesses. II Cor. 12:9-10 After praying three times about a weakness, Paul quit praying about it and began thanking God for it. Listen to this wonderful truth Paul learned from his weaknesses. “And God 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.”

Please, note that God did not answer Paul’s prayer by healing him of his weakness. Rather He answered his prayer by giving Him His grace for the weakness. Paul had learned that his weaknesses were assets.

Summary

Our greatest assets to serving God include our persecutions and sufferings for Christ, Satanic attacks on our lives, and our physical and emotional weaknesses. Our greatest liabilities to serving God are our perceived strengths.

I’m not discounting our strength and abilities. Thank God for them; but be more thankful for your weaknesses. God is going to use you if you are aware of your weaknesses and lean on God for His strength. Rejoice in your weaknesses and use humbly your strengths. If you fail to learn this lesson, God may allow Satan to run a thorn or two through your flesh to humble you and make you useful for His glory.

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May 16, 2006 - Posted by | Service Series

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