2 Corinthians 12:1–6 (ESV) — 1 I must go on boasting. Though there is nothing to be gained by it, I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— 4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. 5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses— 6 though if I should wish to boast, I would not be a fool, for I would be speaking the truth; but I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me.
For many of us, we like to stand out. We want to be thought of as spectacular in some way. We want people to recognize our superior gifts, abilities, or resources. We want people to notice us.
Paul addresses the issue of boasting in today’s passage. He speaks as one who has much to boast about. After all, it was Paul who had received a grand vision of heaven and received revelation from God that others had not received. If anyone had something to boast about, it was him! However, Paul did not boast in these things. He knew that he was also weak in many ways. He allowed his weaknesses to keep him humble.
Let us learn from Paul and let us remain humble. We may have things we can boast about. Maybe we are exceptionally talented or maybe we do have tremendous resources available to us, but we all also have great weaknesses and deficiencies. The truth of the gospel is that we all fall short and need God’s grace. Every single one of us stands before God with empty hands and nothing to offer for his favor. There is no room for boasting. We, more than all people, should be people of grace and humility.
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