11/17-Joy of Being Content Paul's Vision and His Thorn - 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
How are powerful people treated in our society?
Why are we typically afraid to disclose our weaknesses to each other?
2 Corinthians 12:1-10 (NLT)
1 This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows. 3 Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know 4 that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell. 5 That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. 6 If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, 7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. 8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Who was the man in Christ whom Paul described? (12:2)
Why did Paul tell the Corinthians about his vision, despite his misgivings? (12:2-4)
Why was Paul reluctant to speak about his vision? (12:3-6)
What happened during the revelation Paul described? (12:4)
*Why did Paul refrain from boasting? (12:6)
For what reason might Paul have become conceited? (12:7)
What prevented Paul from developing a proud spirit? (12:7)
Why did Paul have a "thorn"? (12:7)
Who was responsible for giving Paul a "thorn in the flesh"? (12:7)
*What was Paul’s response to his "thorn"? (12:8, 10)
*What purpose can suffering serve? (12:9)
*What are some weaknesses or afflictions that you find difficult to live with?
What can we learn from Paul’s example about dealing with physical discomfort or hardship?
How can you allow the Lord’s power to take over where you are weak?
How does the Christian perspective on power and weakness differ from that of the world?
What weaknesses, handicaps, or problems in your life is God able to use?
HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?
John D. Rockefeller, the world’s first billionaire, answered the question, “How much is enough?” with “Just a little bit more!” He, unknowingly, made a profound statement about the human condition. Our minds are wired to want. We want more, we want less, we want things to be different, we want things to be better. We want more money, more time, more love, more vitality. Just a little bit more.
Are You A Minimalist?
1. How often do you buy new clothes?
When my old ones are totally used up
Whenever I see sales!
Once a year, during the spring, when I change my wardrobe
Whenever I feel like it
When was the last time that you redecorated your home?
I've tried to keep it simple from the very beginning, so I only need to refresh my white walls once in a while.
I'm trying right now to get rid of stuff. We have so many unnecessary things!
I'm not doing much stuff at home. I prefer to save money for trips!
I'm planning a huge redecoration now. I have so many ideas!
Is it easy for you to get rid of things that bring back some memories?
Very easy--I have a system that helps me do it.
It's difficult, but I'm learning.
It depends on the memories.
Why should I do this? I love my junk.
Do you reuse stuff?
All the time
I've never done that. New things are so much more exciting.
Have you ever shopped in secondhand stores?
I love them--so many things with character!
Nope, maybe I should give it a try.
A few times
6. What do you need to be happy?
A new TV!
Not much, just my home and my family and friends!
7. Do you have any empty storage (attic, shed, etc.)?
I'm working on it!
You're kidding, right? Who has that!
8. Do you have a junk drawer?
No, I try to throw out all my junk on a regular basis.
I try my best not to have one.
Of course, a few!
9. Quantity or quality?
Quantity with quality
10. How does your closet look?
Clean and organized--I don't own many clothes.
A bit of a mess
Mostly organized--it depends whether it's the beginning or the end of the week.
I usually cannot find stuff, and I'm not sure what I have in there.
What does this passage teach us about the problem of evil and God’s sovereign will?
Why does God choose to heal some people of their sickness or disability and not others?
*How should you respond if God chooses not to heal you?
What difference should it make knowing God has promised you an all-sufficient grace?
*What weakness can you turn over to the Lord through prayer this week?
In what area of your life do you want to rely more on God’s strength and power, rather than your own?