This boasting is all so foolish, but let me go on. Let me tell about the visions and revelations I received from the Lord.
I a was caught up into the third heaven fourteen years ago.
Whether my body was there or just my spirit, I don't know; only God knows.
But I do know that I b was caught up into paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be told.
That experience is something worth boasting about, but I am not going to do it. I am going to boast only about my weaknesses.
I have plenty to boast about and would be no fool in doing it, because I would be telling the truth. But I won't do it. I don't want anyone to think more highly of me than what they can actually see in my life and my message,
even though I have received wonderful revelations from God. But to keep me from getting puffed up, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud.
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.
Each time he said, "My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness." So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me.
Since I know it is all for Christ's good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)