Well Content With Weaknesses

Series: Fruit Of The Spirit

Link to sermon video: Well Content With Weaknesses - T Siverd


Sermon By Terry Siverd / August 06, 2023 / Cortland  Church of Christ  - -



This morning's sermon title comes from Paul's Corinthian correspondence (2Cor.12:1-10).

Paul had been made privy to visions and revelations from God.  Lest he be “exalted” (become conceited),

God permitted Satan to buffet him by means of a thorn in the flesh.  This was done to assist in keeping Paul humble.

Paul states that he prayed to God three times that this “thorn” might depart from him.

God answered Paul's prayers (“No!”), admonishing:  My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected is weakness.

Paul finally came to terms with God's will, affirming (1Cor.12:10) - - Therefore I am well content with weaknesses,

with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak then I am strong. 


This verse is helpful in identifying Paul's thorn in the flesh as being something likely more than just a physical illness.

Paul suffered in many ways:  physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually.

Terms like insults and persecutions are specific, but weaknesses, distresses and difficulties are somewhat vague.

Yet the elasticity of these words, weakness, distress and difficulty allow us to relate Paul's conflicts to our own.

We are choosing to use the terms struggling and suffering to describe our response to a wide-range of issues.


Today we want to continue our sermon series on The Fruit Of The Spirit, by asking two questions:

Is there value in suffering? and Is suffering a virtue?


In seeking to answer the first question, “Is there VALUE?”, we find considerable guidance in Scripture.

We know that trials and testing produce ENDURANCE or maturity.

Athletes speak of No pain, no gain!.  Musicians know that practice makes perfect.

Students recognize that diligent study paves a pathway to success. 

James writes, (Js.1:2-3) - - Consider it all joy, my brethren,

when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.


The apostle Paul (Rom.5:3-4) sees both tribulations and perseverance as vital ingredients in building CHARACTER.

It is in this sense that he urges his readers to “exult in our tribulations”.


Struggles may also be connected to God's disciplinary work - - to strengthen us to share in God's HOLINESS (Heb.12:10).

The writer of Hebrews sees this as the natural extension of God's abiding love, explaining in Heb.12:7,

God deals with (us) as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?


The world of our first-century brothers and sisters in Christ was such a powder-keg of hostility that it all but guaranteed multiplied suffering and sorrow for those who chose to follow Christ.  In 1Thess.3:3, Paul encourages his readers

not to be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this (trials).

The Jewish latter days, occurring in the first-century, were a highly-charged “fullness of time” (Gal.4:4 & 1Thess.2:14-16) prompting Paul to assert (2Tim.3:12) - - all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.


My intention this morning is not to dwell on the reality of suffering and struggles.  Problems in life are constant and real.

God has not placed us in a hermetically-sealed bubble and as a result life invariably brings challenges and difficulties. 

We must not be surprised or shocked by struggles, suffering and sorrow.


I want to focus now, for the balance of our sermon, on the VIRTUE of suffering.

What does it mean to be well content with our weaknesses (2Cor.12:10)?

In no sense are Paul's words to be viewed as a call to complacency. 

Paul is neither apathetic nor apoplectic (apoplexy is a state of being all bent out of shape).

To the contrary, Paul is well content (NIV renders, delighted), or if you want another “a” word, Paul is accepting.


There is something truly virtuous about being able to say that one is

well content with weaknesses, insults, distresses, persecutions and difficulties?


Cyrus Nusbam penned a great old hymn (1898), Let Him Have His Way With Thee.


Jim McGuiggan's wife seldom accompanied him on his numerous preaching appointments.  Knowing that she was burdened heavily with physical ailments, others would ask, “How is your wife?”.  Jim would say, she SUFFERS WELL.  

What kind of virtue is to be found in suffering well?


Darryl Tippens (Pilgrim Heart, p.186) notes: “While suffering is not a discipline in the ordinary

sense of the term, it is often a significant catalyst in the maturation of the pilgrim heart.”


For many, trying to come to terms with the will of God spawns doubts that result in the wobbling of faith.

The Hebrew Scriptures give considerable ink to the cries and complaints of the saints.

It becomes apparent when we read the Old Testament that God grants His saints permission to protest.

It is common to hear Bible characters appealing to God - - not saying, Thy will be done!, but rather Thy will be changed!


Jude was one of the Lord's brothers.  He wrote a brief NT epistle with just one chapter.  In vs.22, Jude writes,

Have mercy on some, who are doubting... Earlier in life, it seems that Jude was in that category himself.  cf. Jn.7:5.


Have you ever noticed that those who are rich in faith have often endured considerable struggles?

This is more axiomatic that it is accidental.  It is difficulties that help us learn to vanquish the doubts.

It is an easy assignment to read Ps.34:18 / The Lord is near to the broken-hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.

It is hard to face struggles, but to discover the presence of God in the midst of our difficulties is so empowering.


Walking in Christ and with Christ does not exempt us from problems, but it does equip us to cope.

When we read the four gospels we might speculate that the apostle Peter was high-strung and full of angst.

Yet, later in life (1Pet.5:7), Peter urges his readers to CAST YOUR BURDENS ON THE LORD, because He cares for you.


That which makes us Christians sparkle is not that we are free from turmoil and trouble (not at all),

but rather it's the way we handle things when life tumbles in - - when things appear to be unraveling. 

Anxiety has the capacity to eat us alive.  But anxiety can also be medicated/mitigated by turning things over to God.


Part of the luster that adorns Christianity is the witness of Christians who have learned to trust God.

Trusting is hard enough when things are going well, but the test becomes severe when the wheels fall off.

When health gives way to disease (ostomy bag for 50+ years - - M.S.); when a marriage begins to crumble;

when drinking & drugs derails us and threaten to destroy;  When widowhood becomes our new dwelling place;

when we fear a life of singleness, unable to find a lifelong mate. 

On and on we could go painting pictures of ones we know and love and of ourselves - - pictures of problems and pain.


When life brings scenarios we never expected; when we are unable to find a quick resolution to our problem(s);

when we pray but fail to receive the answer and help that we want so badly; what's our posture then???


Are we able to affirm with Paul (2Cor.12:10) - - I am WELL CONTENT with weaknesses, with insults,

with distresses, with persecutions,with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.


One final text before we close in prayer.  Along with 1Pet.5:7, Peter also wrote 1Pet.4:19 - - 

let those also who suffer according to the will of God entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.


My wife posted on Facebook recently: 

Patience is not just the ability to wait.  It is the ability to behave with grace while waiting.

Biblical patience is interwoven with a trusting in God that allows us to be well content in weaknesses.

(Relay the story of the composer Bach).

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