“Happy they to whom the darkness of this world reveals the boundless distances of the starry heaven, and who find that the blows which have shattered their earthly happiness have merely broken the shell which confined their true life and have given them entrance into a world infinite and eternal.” [Marcus Dods]
We see that joy and peace exist in the midst of sacrifice and tribulation. It follows that if I resort to my personal desires over against God’s so as to lessen the measure of sacrifice or reduce the sting of tribulation that I will lose the joy and peace of Christ.
If Jesus forsook His joy when He was in the Sanhedrin or before Pilate by seeking His own way to lessen the difficulty, what would we have to conclude about His quality of peace and joy? It wouldn’t be much better than the kind of joy that was already in the world before He came. But in examining Him in the Gospels, we have to conclude that His joy is from a world far above our own.
For God, who said [He spoke], "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves;
Earthen vessel - it’s not a great vessel compared with the spiritual one to come, but it is used for God’s glory. God chose to leave us in it for a time.
God chose to leave us, who are new men and women in Christ, citizens of heaven, raised and seated with Christ at the right hand of God, in the earthen vessels during this age. It was revealed to Paul why. “That the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves.” When we learn to stop trying to live like Christ in our own effort and power, which we learn through failure, and trust in His power alone, we witness the power of God in operation from within our very own selves, even these fragile earthen vessels.
Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
Weaknesses, as mentioned here by Paul, have nothing to do with sin. It is the weakness that is human, not sinful human, just human. Jesus experienced it though He was sinless.
This is why lust for power and wealth is sinful, whereas power and wealth are good things in the possession of God. Humanity is weak. When humanity flexes its pride and attempts to be strong, it is trying to be something that it is not. It’s a lie. God tells us that power is in Christ and not in humanity. Humanity was always meant to completely depend upon his Creator. Humanity is not strong, or smart, or wealthy. Individuals think they are, but that is only in comparison to others, which means nothing and is only pride. Pride is nothing more than empty boasting. Jesus Christ, being the one true Man of all, depended upon His Father for everything, experiencing human weakness, frailty, and limitation. He was strong in this human weakness because He depended upon the Father; obedient (strength) to the point of death (weakness made strong by the Father). He had a perfectly strong spiritual life.
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.
God has chosen the foolish, the weak, and the base things of the world, which is what the whole world is. Yet, faith in the gospel lets the believer know that he is.
Remember, this human weakness has nothing to do with sin. Some use it as an excuse to justify sin. We are not to be lazy, stupid, silly, lustful, or any other thing other than divinely virtuous. We are weak humans who are strong in Christ by faith and not by works.