Friday, January 27, 2012
Power Through Weakness - It Might Be a Tough Sell
I read it this morning. "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness," says the Lord, via the Apostle Paul. It's a tough lesson to learn. Evidently took Paul a while, "Three times I begged the Lord to take it away,” the “...thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.” (2 Corinthians 12:8.9 NLT)
But it evidently paid off. The Lord turned his perspective around, "So now I boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me." In fact what he said next sounds counter-intuitive to most of us,
“That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecution, and troubles that I suffer for Christ.” (verse 10)
But the weakness paid off, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” It’s the gospel all over again. Death precedes life. That is the road Christ followed - it’s the only way he could atone for our sin.
Evidently it’s the only way to follow Him. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20 ESV).
There’s the secret to life and ministry. His grace and power. Giving Him the right to live through us, “...so that the power of Christ can work through me.”
But we keep getting in the way. The battle with the world. It grabs hold of us - through the lusts of our own flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of who we are and what we have - if we play with it. Or the proving ground of character - getting along with people - those God has placed in our lives - our wife and children, our friends, those we minister to and with, and those who live around us.
It’s when our weaknesses take center stage - they stare us in the face, even embarrass us - that Paul says, don’t walk away from them. Turn them into an opportunity to humble yourself before the Lord and others. That is the posture from which you can be rescued, for God’s “...power works best in weakness.” Your weakness becomes your best friend.
Can you imagine consistently living in that truth? What would ministry look like? Success would no longer be measured by size, numbers, personality and prominence. No need to modify the gospel to enhance its appeal, enlarge the audience or mitigate its offense. No need for gimmicks, glamor, sound and stage shows in place of the Holy Spirit’s presence and power. He would suffice.
And we would “...take pleasure in [our] weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecution, and troubles that [we] suffer for Christ.”
It might be a tough sell.