ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 175



12:4-21
2 C o ri n thia n s
163
body or outside my body. But I do know 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.
That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I
will boast only about my weaknesses. 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, 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.
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 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. 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.
You have made me act like a fool. You ought to be writing commendations
for me, for I am not at all inferior to these “super apostles,” even though
I am nothing at all. When I was with you, I certainly gave you proof that
I am an apostle. For I patiently did many signs and wonders and miracles
among you. The only thing I failed to do, which I do in the other churches,
was to become a financial burden to you. Please forgive me for this wrong!
Now I am coming to you for the third time, and I will not be a burden
to you. I don’t want what you have—I want you. After all, children don’t
provide for their parents. Rather, parents provide for their children. I will
gladly spend myself and all I have for you, even though it seems that the
more I love you, the less you love me.
Some of you admit I was not a burden to you. But others still think I was
sneaky and took advantage of you by trickery. But how? Did any of the
men I sent to you take advantage of you? When I urged Titus to visit you
and sent our other brother with him, did Titus take advantage of you? No!
For we have the same spirit and walk in each other’s steps, doing things
the same way.
Perhaps you think we’re saying these things just to defend ourselves. No,
we tell you this as Christ’s servants, and with God as our witness. Everything we do, dear friends, is to strengthen you. For I am afraid that when I
come I won’t like what I find, and you won’t like my response. I am afraid
that I will find quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, arrogance, and disorderly behavior. Yes, I am afraid that when I come again,
God will humble me in your presence. And I will be grieved because many





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