As I continue to help coach the public high school’s wrestling team this year, I was given the opportunity a couple weeks ago to lead a short optional devo after practice for anyone who wanted to participate. I typed up my notes for you all in case you ever need an athletic-oriented lesson. Of course, this one is for wrestlers, but you can easily modify it to apply to any sport.
- In wrestling, a lot of the sport is waiting for your opponent to make a mistake and then capitalizing on it.
- Where do you feel your biggest weakness is in wrestling?
- In wrestling it’s important to work on those weaknesses and eliminate as many opportunities as possible for your opponent.
- But in 2 Corinthians 12 Paul says the opposite is true for him spiritually.
- Read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
- Verse 7 says that God gave Paul a weakness that tormented him. Paul begged God to take it away, but He didn’t because the beginning of verse 7 says it was to keep Paul from becoming cocky.
- God’s response was basically, “No, you’re gonna have this struggle so you stay focused on me, not yourself. You need to remember that you can only live the Christian life through my strength.” Paul needed that reminder to stay focused on God and His strength to help him.
- In verse 7 Paul was begging God to take the weakness away from him, but verse 10 is cool because now he’s saying, “Wow, it’s so cool that I have this weakness because now I can see that anything good that comes from me HAS to be God working through me. There’s no other explanation for it! Because of that, I love it when hardships and difficulties come my way!”
- Often in our lives we feel like there’s bad stuff that happens for no apparent reason, but maybe it’s because God wants to keep us focused on Him instead of forgetting about God, thinking we can make it through life on our own. Or even worse than just forgetting about Him is being prideful and thinking we don’t need Him anymore.
- What kind of hard things are you guys going through right now?
- How might God be trying to use that to get you to keep your focus on Him?
- How does it make you feel to know that some hardships in life is God trying to get your attention and help you live through His strength?
- Read verses 9-10 again.
- Weaknesses in wrestling are a bad thing, but weaknesses in life can be awesome if they keep you focused on living in God’s strength.
P.S. The whole “messenger of Satan” thing might come up, but don’t dwell on it. That’s not the point of this passage. There’s countless explanations for this “thorn in his flesh.” Some say it’s an incessant temptation, migraine headaches, or a speech disability. No one knows for sure what it was, but it’s probably some sort of physical affliction that served as a hinderance to him. What exactly it was isn’t important, though. The point is that Paul learned from the experience that God’s power is displayed best through his weakness so that God receives praise through it, not him.
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Posted on December 28, 2007