“The Christian often tries to forget his weakness: God wants us to remember it, to feel it deeply. The Christian wants to conquer his weakness and to be freed from it: God wants us to rest and even rejoice in it. The Christian mourns over his weakness: Christ teaches His servant to say, “I take pleasure in infirmities; most gladly will I glory in my infirmities.” The Christian thinks his weakness his greatest hindrance in the life and service of God: God tells us that it is the secret of strength and success. It is our weakness, heartily accepted and continually realized, that gives us our claim and access to the strength of Him who has said, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
–Andrew Murray, Abide in Christ
I lead a women’s’ bible study with three other ladies at my church. When I agreed to co-lead this bible study I knew that it would be far out of my comfort zone.
Leading groups and public speaking are not my thing. Talking in front of thirty or so women would just about make me throw up. And it has . . . . just about.
Being a stay at home mom for the past 15 years has been great for my kids, but not so great for my confidence. Staying home often means that you are not out growing your career, not refining your people skills daily, or gaining confidence in various social settings. You aren’t practicing things like running meetings or giving presentations. For me, those areas are definitely weak.
So, why did I agree to do this, you might ask? There are two reasons.
One, is that I believed that God wanted me to. I have found that saying no to God is generally a bad idea. He is good and wants the best for us. When we say no to God, we are missing out on our best life.
And, two, I knew that God didn’t need much from me to do a good work through me.
Knowing that I couldn’t do it on my own forced me to rely on Him. And, I have found that most of the wisdom God wants to give us can only be acquired outside the boundaries of our comfort zone. And if that is where I receive His wisdom, then that is where I wanted to go.
I come up painfully short when it comes to most things in life. But, I know that I can give God whatever I have, even my weakness, and He will add Himself to the equation. We don’t have to be enough on our own, because He is enough. I am so much better with God than I could ever be on my own!
My weakness + God = God’s perfect power
I am very aware of my weakness. I often pray when I am in difficult situations that God would make me better than I am . . . . better than I am without Him.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. Psalm 28:7
We are imperfect creatures. Sometimes we are incapable of being loving and selfless. And that is when the power of the Holy Spirit rests on us and allows us to do what we can’t do in and of ourselves.
Often in relationships I have to ask God to make me better than I am. I am an introvert, therefore, relationships and social situations are hard for me. But I can give Him my weakness, and He gives me the ability to be kind, giving, selfless, and loving. These are things that at times, I can’t do without Him.
It’s amazing how far just being willing and available to God will take you. Being willing is half the battle. And surrendering our will to God is what He desires.
Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer, and give up your sins— even those you do in secret. Then you won’t be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless. Job 11:13-15 (CEV)
Most Christians are uncomfortable with the concept of weakness. We value the strong, just as the world does. Look at our churches and see who the leaders are. They are usually the strong, eloquent, scholarly ones who exude strength, not those embracing weakness.
We have it backwards. We put those who are strong and powerful in high esteem. Yet, God clearly shows us that He values weakness. His power is made perfect in weakness.
We all have weaknesses. And it takes true courage to admit that we do. Why are we embarrassed or ashamed about our weaknesses when we all have them?
“Never let them see you sweat!” They say.
I say, ‘why not?’
God is the only omnipotent one. God has no weaknesses, He is all powerful. We are human and do have weaknesses . . . . all of us do.
There is a big difference between the words, weak and weakness. We all have weaknesses, but in Christ we are certainly not weak! We can wield great amounts of strength and power through the Holy Spirit. And, more power than we could ever experience on our own.
However, when we are following Christ, we may appear weak to unbelievers.
- We may not stand up for ourselves if it doesn’t glorify God
- We might not fight back when something is done to us, or fight at all
- We might turn the other cheek
- We might not trample others to get ahead
- We might experience weakness, frustration or despair
- We might give our money away
- We might put ourselves below others
If you call people who do these things weak, than you are calling Jesus weak.
Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:43-45
We have to remember that Jesus was counterculture, and if we want to emulate Him, then we too must be counter culture. That may mean that God is calling us to do things that will make us appear weak to the world. But we know the truth. We know that we are strong in Christ.
Humility and weakness go hand in hand. One must be humble to acknowledge one’s own weakness. And, it is only with humility that you can you embrace it.
Embracing weakness is not the popular thing to do. And those who do will find themselves on the road less traveled, the narrow path. And they will likely find themselves there alone.
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:14
Choosing to embrace humility and weakness can lead to difficult places. It can lead to embarrassment and ridicule. It leads to the spaces outside your comfort zone. It leads to places that may make you look unimpressive and weak to others.
He calls the foolish, the weak, the lowly, and the despised things of the world. And He does great things with them.
God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. 1 Corinthians 1:26-29
Even Paul had weaknesses . . . Paul! Paul is one of my heros, not in spite of his weakness, but because of it.
I truly believe that most of us have a ‘thorn in the flesh’ just as Paul did in 2 Corinthians 12. This is one of my favorite scriptures.
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. 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. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Two things stand out to me from this scripture.
- Everything that God does is for our good. If we have a thorn in our flesh, then we need it to be there. Paul needed it to keep him from being conceited.
- God uses our weaknesses, maybe even more than our strengths. We need to be willing to be weak . . . so that Christ’s power may rest on me (vs. 9).
Most, if not all, of the people that God used powerfully in scripture had significant weaknesses. Paul was one of many.
Moses didn’t speak well.
Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” Exodus 4:10
Naaman, a great king, was a leper.
Now Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy. 2 Kings 5:1
- Abraham was very old
- Samson couldn’t resist women
- Jonah ran from God
- Naomi was a widow
- Peter denied Christ
- The disciples fell asleep
- Martha had anxiety
- Rahab was a prostitute
The key to being great in the kingdom of God is not a lack of weakness. Surrendered weakness is a strength.
We aren’t enough in and of ourselves. If we can acknowledge our weaknesses and need, God can use us greatly. Weakness is part of the human condition. There isn’t a man or woman alive that doesn’t have a weakness. Only those that acknowledge their weakness can be great in the Kingdom of God.
“Lord Jesus, you embraced your cross to redeem the world. Help me to embrace the crosses in my life — the hardships, struggles, disappointments, pain. Only by recognizing my own weakness, can I discover your strength.”
What are your weaknesses? I would love to hear from you!