“But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 10:18
“If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.” 2 Corinthians 11:30
The apostle Paul actually listed all of the things he had suffered through in his missionary journeys, because of the foolishness that had been ongoing amongst the church in Corinth.
There was a small pocket of men who were claiming that Paul’s teaching was in error. Paul knew that they were teaching things which were contrary to the gospel. He addressed it earlier in his letter (in chapter 10) when he acknowledged that these men were workers for the evil one, beguiling them as the serpent did in the garden of Eden. He wrote that he was concerned that these men were so subtle as to corrupt their minds from the simple gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. But, then he wrote how foolish it seemed to him that he should have to be bold like those men in having to defend the Truth of his teaching and then having to list all of the things he suffered through in order to be present to teach it.
He boasted only of the Lord in doing so, because he was indeed a chosen apostle of Christ, and through all of the things he had suffered, he was acknowledging God’s divine guidance and assistance.
He had been beaten, to the brink of death, only to be spared at the last moment more than once. He had been imprisoned and preached the gospel to the guards who would listen, and after those divine appointments, released again. He had gone down with a ship and survived, not merely once, but three times! He had spent 24 hours, at least, stranded in the sea after one of those shipwrecks.
He was perpetually in danger from being robbed, from attacks by both Jews and Gentiles, inside the city and outside the city, while at sea, while tired and in pain, while he hungered and thirsted, and all the while, he was brought through it all to be able to teach the gospel that was being attacked. Paul was trying to show the church at Corinth the hand of God upon him as he performed God’s will in preaching the Cross.
All Paul cared about was the Lord’s business in spreading the gospel. His care was for the weakest believers that they might have continued to live according to Christ, as he did, completely surrendered. So, he proclaimed the Lord’s hand upon him in all of these circumstances, which brings together the two verses (which were statements in his letter) as one. He gloried in the Lord through His involvement in Paul’s suffering. And as he suffered, he never wavered in his faith and joy. We know Paul sang while in prison. We know from his writing that he remained humble, but joyful, not bold nor argumentative, while present among the church. Paul had the joy of the Lord through it all.
This is a perfect example of how we are to live every day. There will always be trials to go through. God will allow tribulation to come upon us in order that His Name may be glorified. As foolish as it may seem, we cannot speak the Truth and expect to go through things in a worldly way. We cannot mope and complain about what we go through, or what we lack, or even what we feel like we lack. No matter the circumstance, we are called to be joyful, acknowledging God and bringing Him glory. In fulfilling this command upon our lives, we exhibit to others a huge difference. When they see our joy, that is unwavering regardless of surrounding circumstances, they cannot deny it. When they hear us proclaim God’s hand and give the glory to God, they will do one of two things. They will either count us as fools, which should indicate their spiritual condition and lack of Christ since “the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness,” or they will come desiring what we have because, “unto us who are saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor 1:18) Either way, we are only passing through this world on our way home. This is not our home! So, knowing the destination ahead of us, we should maintain the focus of our faith in Christ Jesus and let the joy which comes with knowing Him and His love for us flow freely and abundantly, that we may show those around us the very Savior we claim as our own and glorify Him in deed that matches our words.
Let us allow God to have His way with us. Let us trust that God truly is omnipresent and omniscient, which means He is always there and He knows all things, including our own names, our own circumstances, and the outcome of those circumstances. Let us be cognizant that He is allowing everything for our benefit, but also for the benefit of others. May we experience joy and peace, and may His Holy Spirit come upon those who see us and convict them with the knowledge of their own lack of God in their lives. May He draw them in using us and our example, and not allow them to continue to see us as foolish. May we bring glory to His Holy Name! Praise Jesus! Glory to God!
In His Love, my brethren…