ARE YOU MUSCLEBOUND? WE HAD A GOVERNOR here in California who was known all over the world. He was a bodybuilder and powerlifter. He preened, primped and pranced before thousands with the crowd praising his appearance. I looked up the medical definition of muscle bound. It is, “having some of the muscles tense and enlarged and of impaired elasticity sometimes as a result of excessive exercise.”
A musclebound person can have serious medical problems.
It is clearly understood that Saul of Tarsus (the Apostle Paul) was not only ordained by God, but was a resolute intellectual. He could have continued on to be a serious, intellectual, spiritually “musclebound” man of history heaping praise on himself. After all, it is known he wrote 13, maybe 14, of the Books of the New Testament.
BUT, HE WAS GIVEN A “THORN IN THE FLESH!”
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
2 Corinthians 12:8-9.
From this scripture, we learn a great deal about suffering, weakness, and the power of God. We learn from Paul’s experience that God will allow our strength to be sacrificed so that we may experience His true and greater strength. We can only go so far in our own strength for the following reasons:
1. Our strength stifles our experiencing God’s strength in our lives.
2. Our strength limits us to only what we can do.
3. Our strength can serve as a temptation to boast in ourselves when our purpose is found in giving God glory.
In God’s response to Paul, we learn two significant lessons when dealing with difficulties in life.”
(1) I won’t boast “because I don’t want anyone to give me credit ….”
2 Corinthians 12:6 (nlt)
(2) “… when I am weak, then I am strong,”
2 Corinthians 12:10.
Strange, isn’t it! In our weakness, in our surrender God’s amazing power enters us.