Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Real Jesus-Followers Boast of Their Weaknesses

Last winter, when the snow fell.

This coming Sunday morning at Redeemer I'm preaching out of 2 Corinthians 11:16-33.

First, a heads-up. To understand this passage you need to understand the ancient corona muralis. I'll explain and apply it this Sunday. N.T. Wright says “This is the only possible explanation of why Paul tells the story of his escape from Damascus in verses 32 and 33, and why he precedes this story with a solemn oath that the God and father of the Lord Jesus knows he isn’t lying.” (126. See also Ben Witherington, 458-459)

One of the commentaries I'm reading on 2 Corinthians is Sam Storms's A Sincere and Pure Devotion to Christ. Sam cites three final reflections on this passage by D.A. Carson, which are beautiful and helpful. Carson writes:

First – Jesus-followers “ought to be greatly ashamed of boasting about strengths, skills, victories, training, successes, and productivity in their lives as if, on the one hand, we either earned these things or deserved them, or as if, on the other, such things make us intrinsically more acceptable to the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Second, Jesus-followers “ought to be quick to admit their weaknesses, because rightly handled our weaknesses will serve to extol Christ’s strength and therefore bring glory to him.”
Note: some say leaders should hide their weaknesses. Incorrect. Paul openly parades his weaknesses and failures in front of us, “boasting” of them. Note 2: The key here is appropriate and voluntary transparency. If you are a pastor and a closet ax-murderer I suggest that you not confess this to your people this coming Sunday. Tell your leaders, and get help.

Third, Jesus-followers “must not uncritically drag over from the world criteria of self-assessment whose underlying values actually betray biblical discipleship to Jesus Christ.”
Very nice. And thank you God that you've brought leaders like that into my life.