Monday Morning Devotion- August 19, 2019
The Power of Weakness
A bruised reed He will not break and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In Faithfulness He will bring forth justice. Isaiah 42:3
Nobody wants to admit that he/she is weak. We all want to operate from a position of strength. It appears that power goes with strength. Secretly we all know that we have our weaknesses. We seek to cover those up or at least make amends for them.
But Jesus tells us there is power in weakness. That certainly is contrary to what the world tells us. Maybe it's a matter of definition. We might not fully understand just what weakness is, much less how it can be a positive. Let's see:
Out of 33 references to weakness in the New Testament Jesus used the word once. Peter used it once. The rest were used by the Apostle Paul. Why is that?
Paul was a perfect example of weakness being converted to a strength. Remember Paul was a strong opponent of Christ before his conversion. He despised weakness. He persecuted the Nazarenes and all followers of Christ who he believed to be weak.
Paul felt like these "Christians" were weak because they followed a weakling. After all, didn't their so-called Savior suffer public humiliation when he perished in disgrace on the cross?
What happened when the Lord appeared to Paul and struck him down in blindness. His strength that was fueling his power over these "weaklings" now became his own weakness.
So, as we read in "The Power of Weakness" on the internet (www.faithlife.com/sermons)
"Paul learned by experience that it was his force that was really weak and Christ's
weakness was really powerful. The result was the paradox in power and weakness running all through Paul's writings, such as:
"The weakness of God is stronger than men." 1 Corinthians 1:25
"God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong." 1 Corinthians 1:27
His experience with Jesus where he was struck blind and later had his sight restored taught Paul to accept the truth of power in weakness and he learned to even boast and be glad for his weakness.
"If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness." 2 Cor. 11:30
Glenn Pease points out in this internet piece: "We picture Paul as a dynamic ball of fire erupting from a volcano like stature. The facts are, he was small and weak in appearance and, by his own testimony, full of fear and trembling as he preached. Paul was a handicapped man, and the reason God used this, far from perfect, specimen of manhood to proclaim the perfect Savior is stated by Paul himself:
"That your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power God.
1 Corinthians 2:5
The Lord uses our weakness to gain power through our dependence on Him.
Some of the powers of God-blessed weakness I discovered through www.leadershipfreak.blog are:
1) Weakness expands thinking: It enables you to think more broadly about yourself and others and what you learn about your strengths from weaknesses.
2) Weakness extends impact: Leaders who receive the most help have the most impact.
Leaders who reject help, limit their potential.
3) Weakness creates opportunity: We serve out of weakness and bring solutions we find to the world.
4) Weakness elevates others: Your weakness invites others to feel powerful. When you reject help, it tells others they don't matter.
5) Weakness intensifies passion: You feel energy and ownership for the solutions that most help you.
6) Weakness enlarges empathy: Those who embrace their own frailties, understand the frailties of others.
7) Weakness reduces arrogance: Leaders who don't see their weaknesses are arrogant jerks.
Pretending you're strong where you're weak, limits potential, elevates stress, and hinders development.
James Stewart writes: "It is a thrilling discovery to make that always it is upon human weakness and humiliation, not human strength and confidence, that God chooses to build His kingdom; that he can use not merely in spite of our ordinariness and helplessness and disqualifying infirmities, but precisely because of them"
Strong Christians face the danger of depending on their own abilities alone. There is a paradox that God has built into the divine-human relationship. But, man only conquers when he depends on God. Examples of this are found throughout the Bible:
Gideon had 32,000 men he wanted to take with him to conquer the enemy, but God left him with 300. God made them weak, so they could be strong.
"Lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, mine own hand hath saved me."Judges 7:2
"It's because of the great danger of pride that weakness is the way to power."
Jesus wants to help us. He wants to make us strong, but we are weak and often do
not recognize or admit that fact. Accept this gift and allow Him to bless you richly through it.
Through your weakness He will make you strong!
Prayer: Thank you Lord for the gift of weakness. Amen!