Wednesday, December 5, 2012

When I am Weak Then I am Strong

When I am Weak, Then I am Strong


“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:10

When my daughter was little she went through the phase of independence.  She had episodes of shouting “I do it! I do it! I do it!” Being compelled by some inner force to be completely independent she would try to dress herself, comb her own hair, and tie her own shoes. 
At times it was all I could do to sit and watch without taking over!  She would sing “bunny ear, bunny ear, playing by the tree, around the tree and try to catch me, bunny ear jumps into the hole,” and somewhere along the way, the bunny’s ears would disappear.  But no offers to help would be accepted!  She was going to do it herself!  Many times it would end in tears and frustration. 

We are no different as adults. Our own independent nature can cause us to fail repeatedly, and yet, we just can’t give up the thought that somehow we can do “it” on our own.  We would rather fail a thousand times that ask for help once.  Needing help means admitting weakness, and we don’t want to admit that we are not self-sufficient. 
Throughout the Bible we read of our strength and weakness, but God’s word can be confusing on the subject. 

Joel 3:10 says let the weak say, I am strong.  But how can they say they are strong when they are weak?
Hebrews 11:34 speaks of the prophets of old and says “out of weakness [they] were made strong”. But how can strength grow from weakness?

Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:10 said “when I am weak, then I am strong”. But how does that absence of strength result in the presence of strength?
A man can be one or the other but not both.  A man can either be weak, or be strong.  The only way a man can be both, is if the man is not alone. 

Paul explained it best as he talked in 2 Corinthians 12 about his problems, reproaches, persecutions, distresses, and his “thorn in the side”.  He had asked God to take it from him, but God refused, and instead gave him grace.  God’s answer was “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
If I were to place a candle inside a lit room, it would have little effect on the lighting of the room.  The room is already strongly lit.  But if the same candle is place in a dark room, the candle’s strength is seen, and the room is illuminated by it.  In this same way when we remove ourselves from the picture, when we let go of our problems, God can be seen at work in them.

Paul said that he would take pleasure in his miseries, for Christ’s sake, for “when I am weak, then I am strong.”  Sometimes we need to stop, put down the reigns of our problems, and let the Holy Spirit take over.  Our way is not always God’s way, and sometimes we just get in the way! 
In Philippians 4:13 Paul says “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.  We’ve all read and recited this verse, which has become a Christian slogan.  But in the preceding verses Paul explains how he knows that he can, in fact, do “all things” through Christ.  He says in verse 11-12 “for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: EVERYWHERE and in ALL THINGS I am INSTRUCTED both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.”  Paul was receiving instruction from God, that allowed Him to find contentment at the low times, and the high times.  He could be happy when he was weak and happy when he was strong.  He could do “all things” because he realized he was not independent.  He recognized his need for help, and allowed Christ to be his strength.

Let the weak say “I am strong”. Surrender, and find victory.



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