Proverbs 20 10-20-21

What is the Lord’s Modus Operandi? It’s not difficult; He tells us plainly. Keep reading…

22 Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you.

Did you know that Paul quoted this very verse in Romans 12:19? Yet, he then turns around and has us do the very thing that Jesus said to do in His Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:44-45. Here are the two passages :

19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19

44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:44-45

What was Paul doing? He was invoking the Lord’s M.O., His “modus operandi,” which is His mode of operation. He quotes the Lord, who gave it to him in 2 Corinthians 12:9, but here’s the surrounding passage:

…because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Let’s unpack these verses.

  1. Paul walked with Jesus in heaven (the third heaven, where Jesus lives; the first heaven is the sky and the second heaven is space).
  2. To keep him humble, the Lord did not remove a problem Paul was having. What that problem was, no one knows.
  3. Jesus gave us His M.O. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
    1. The Lord’s grace is whatever Paul needed at any given time: strength, courage, patience, endurance, and most of all, compassion.
    2. Christ’s power was and is designed to save His lost children, and power is made perfect (mature, whole, complete) in Paul’s weakness.
    3. Paul’s weakness was his inability to control his surroundings. By trusting Christ in all circumstances and just doing what He felt led to do by the Holy Spirit, Paul was given His grace and power. In those two things, Christ accomplished much for the kingdom of God through Paul.
    4. Paul goes on to say that he would gladly be weak so that Christ would be strong in and through him.
    5. It’s a ratio thing: the weaker he was, the stronger Christ was in him.

Jesus’ M.O. is the same for us today. We must learn to trust Him in all circumstances to give us wisdom and discernment, because most times, things are not what they seem. They are usually much more complicated than they look on the surface. By realizing and admitting our inability to know the whole truth, we look to Christ for wisdom, guidance, and whatever else is needed for that circumstance.

Returning to Romans 12:19, Paul goes on to say,

20 On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals [of conviction] on his head.”
(Proverbs 25:21-22)

And the clincher:

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Living for Jesus is certainly not easy; aren’t you glad we don’t have to do it without Him? He is with us all the way.

Abba, I don’t need to know Paul’s “thorn in his flesh” to be able to identify with him in this matter. May I learn to trust you faster and more completely as time–and opportunity–goes by. We are most like Jesus when we love; may LOVE be our theme each day. Thank You for loving me! Amen.

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