Tag Archives: weakness

The Strength of Weakness

I’ve begged,
asked,
pleaded,
take it away –
the pain,
the hurt,
the suffering.

I want to be strong,
I want to be me.

But that’s just it,
when I am strong
I’m full of me,
what I can do,
how I’m going to do this,
where I’m going to go.

I am weak
and broken.
It’s all I am
and all have have.
I can do nothing,
so there is plenty of room
for you Lord.

There is nothing I can do.
Whatever needs to be done,
will have to be you.
Work in me Lord,
fill me
with what I need,
may my strength
be in you
alone.

Less of Me, More of You

2 Corinthians 12:2-10 (CEV)

I know about one of Christ’s followers who was taken up into the third heaven fourteen years ago. I don’t know if the man was still in his body when it happened, but God certainly knows.

As I said, only God really knows if this man was in his body at the time. But he was taken up into paradise, where he heard things that are too wonderful to tell. I will brag about that man, but not about myself, except to say how weak I am.

Yet even if I did brag, I would not be foolish. I would simply be speaking the truth. But I will try not to say too much. That way, none of you will think more highly of me than you should because of what you have seen me do and say.Of course, I am now referring to the wonderful things I saw. One of Satan’s angels was sent to make me suffer terribly, so that I would not feel too proud.

Three times I begged the Lord to make this suffering go away. But he replied, “My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am. 10 Yes, I am glad to be weak or insulted or mistreated or to have troubles and sufferings, if it is for Christ. Because when I am weak, I am strong.

True Power

A very wise previous Minister of ours once gave me some excellent advice.  When I said how nervous I was about preaching, his reply was, “If you weren’t nervous, you should go home, because it isn’t important enough to you”.  We live in a world obsessed with training, being equipped for every possible eventuality.  This is not necessarily a bad thing – much damage is done sometimes by those who think they know what they are doing.  But there also needs to be space in life for vulnerability and weakness, and for God to get a look in where things aren’t over-engineered so he has no room to move.

1 Corinthians 2:1-16 (CEV)

Telling about Christ and the Cross

Friends, when I came and told you the mystery that God had shared with us, I didn’t use big words or try to sound wise. In fact, while I was with you, I made up my mind to speak only about Jesus Christ, who had been nailed to a cross.

At first, I was weak and trembling with fear. When I talked with you or preached, I didn’t try to prove anything by sounding wise. I simply let God’s Spirit show his power. That way you would have faith because of God’s power and not because of human wisdom.

We do use wisdom when speaking to people who are mature in their faith. But it isn’t the wisdom of this world or of its rulers, who will soon disappear. We speak of God’s hidden and mysterious wisdom that God decided to use for our glory long before the world began. The rulers of this world didn’t know anything about this wisdom. If they had known about it, they would not have nailed the glorious Lord to a cross. But it is just as the Scriptures say,

“What God has planned
    for people who love him
is more than eyes have seen
    or ears have heard.
It has never even
    entered our minds!”

10 God’s Spirit has shown you everything. His Spirit finds out everything, even what is deep in the mind of God. 11 You are the only one who knows what is in your own mind, and God’s Spirit is the only one who knows what is in God’s mind. 12 But God has given us his Spirit. That’s why we don’t think the same way that the people of this world think. That’s also why we can recognize the blessings that God has given us.

13 Every word we speak was taught to us by God’s Spirit, not by human wisdom. And this same Spirit helps us teach spiritual things to spiritual people. 14 That’s why only someone who has God’s Spirit can understand spiritual blessings. Anyone who doesn’t have God’s Spirit thinks these blessings are foolish. 15 People who are guided by the Spirit can make all kinds of judgments, but they cannot be judged by others. 16 The Scriptures ask,

“Has anyone ever known
the thoughts of the Lord
    or given him advice?”

But we understand what Christ is thinking.

Weak and trembling, Paul delivers his message.  He recognises that he has no skilful words or wisdom to offer; he only has God’s Spirit.  Any wisdom, and power, any strength, comes only from and through God.

True power comes from our weakness and our leaving plenty of room for God to do his thing.   Ultimately it is not about what we can do, but about what we allow God to do in and through us.  It is not about us having the “right” words or responses, but allowing space in our lives for God to, not being so full of our own clever answers that there is no room for God to speak what he knows is needed.  I think that is an important thing for each of us to remember, wherever we are and whatever we are doing.  I have nothing to say, God has everything.  My words should not be my carefully crafted and elaborate ones, but the ones God gives to me.  Whatever I do, I do only by the power of God’s Spirit.

Forgive me Lord,
for the times when I think
I can do
a brilliant job,
that I have beautiful words,
and stand in my strength.

May I remember always
to stand in your power,
to being your words,
to show your love.

You Are My All In All

Weak and trembling may I stand,

for you are my all

I want to talk to you…

Those words, are always guaranteed to put fear and trepidation into me!  When someone says I want to talk to you, it is almost always serious, and in my case usually means I’m in trouble!

But those are the words God says to Ezekiel.  Ezekiel is not in trouble, but God does have something important to say to him.  God has something to say to Ezekiel’s contemporaries, and he is the man to take the message.  God is perfectly well aware that they may not listen, but Ezekiel is to tell them anyway.  God goes on to tell him not to be afraid – easier said than done – he goes in knowing that he is in a position of weakness.  They won’t want to hear what he has to say, it’s not a popular message, but he has to take it to them.

Ezekiel was a lone voice.  God chooses and uses the weak and vulnerable.  We are reminded of this by Paul’s words.  His infamous “thorn in the flesh”.  Something troubled Paul that would not go away.  It made life difficult for him, but he knew that in weakness, he was strong.  He was reminded that “God’s grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak”.  When we are powerful, we are in control (or we think we are anyway!), we think that our abilities are what save us and propel us through life.  When we know our weaknesses, we know that we have to rely on someone else, and how enriched our life is for that.  I’m told that one of the best services I ever led was whilst I had a bad kidney infection.  That’s because I had nothing to give.  I only had God to rely on, and that gave him the chance to do what he needed to do.

Perhaps that is what is behind Jesus’ command to his disciples.  They are to take nothing with them – no food, no money, no bag, no change of clothes.  They will have no resources of their own.  They are to be dependent on God, and dependent on other people.  Oh how we like to run our own lives, to be in control, to plan for the future!  How much that kind of living means we miss out on the blessings of God, and the generosity of people.  We are not called to be irresponsible, but to be vulnerable.  Weak, not to crush us, but to let God’s strength hold us and work through us.  In the famous words, “to let go, and let God”.

God wants to talk to us, and he wants to touch our lives.  To give us what we need, not what we think we want.  To equip us for his service, that we might go in his strength and his power – and not have to worry about our own.