Paul says the following absolutely ridiculous statement:
“we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;And patience, experience; and experience, hope.”
Wow, who is Paul hanging around with?! Who is this “we” he speaks of? Is there a mouse in his pocket when he writes this?
Tribulation results in two of the fruit of the Spirit–patience and hope!
Those who think spiritual fruit magically appear for no discernible reason are crazy. In order to develop patience and hope a guy needs some tribulation.
So, the “we” I know immediately begins to pray that God will remove tribulation! We run around seeking any and all sources of possible help to immediately remedy myself from all pain, suffering and tribulation.
I have no time to learn patience!
So, we buy our comforts, consult our doctors and dieticians and spend, spend, spend to resolve our discomfort. We pray and tell others all our problems in a veiled attempt to get people to pray, but more just so we can whine and let others know how bad we got it.
If you want spiritual fruit, place yourself in tough situations. Maybe even create some tribulation for yourself. This is where the idea of fasting has played a part in the Bible. Fasting is preparation for true trial.
“Yup, there he goes, sounding Catholic again.”
OK, just don’t come a’whinin’ to me when you can’t handle life.
No, you can, that’s why I’m here. There will be a reason I will have the energy to be there for ya too.
Anyhoo, Paul knows that his weakness is what allows God to work through him. If you think your spiritual gift is that thing you love doing, you are wrong.
Not that a spiritual gift is something you hate doing, it’s just something that could only operate in someone who needs the Spirit to do it. Spiritual gifts are things you couldn’t do before you had the Spirit, that you can now do because He is with you.
In other words, spiritual gifts are things you don’t think you can do on your own.
As a pastor, I am depressed at how wimpy people in the Church are. How easily we dismiss ourselves form situations where we could truly see the Spirit work because we don’t want to be uncomfortable for a second.
Often people even use the “it’s not my gift” line to get out of doing stuff for others. This is dumb. If you don’t think you can do it, I would suggest going and be open to what the Spirit can do.
The point is this: you must place yourself in difficulty if you want to see the Spirit work in you. If you have the Spirit and yet avoid all discomfort, aint nothin gonna happen.
“ Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”