June 19, 2008

The Power of Being Weak

Mary Southerland

 

 

Today’s Truth

God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27 NIV).

 

Friend to Friend

When our son, Jered, began to walk, I immediately noticed that his feet turned inward. Our pediatrician recommended a specialist who examined Jered thoroughly, then ordered several x-rays. The more he examined Jered, the more concerned we became. When we were finally called in for a consultation, we braced ourselves for bad news…just in case. The doctor’s stoic face revealed nothing but his diagnosis was a gift. “There is nothing wrong with Jered’s feet,” he said. “They are simply the feet of a natural athlete and were designed to give him great balance.” What we feared as a weakness and an obstacle to overcome was really a great strength and part of God’s plan for Jered who attended and graduated from college…on a football scholarship.

 

The same is true in our lives. We were created by God, according to His plan, in love and with purpose, weaknesses and all. "God in heaven appoints each person's work” (John 3:27 NLT). We tend to view our weaknesses as liabilities. However, since our worth doesn’t depend upon us in any way, we can and must be honest about our weaknesses, knowing they don’t diminish our value in the heart and mind of God but can, in fact, become the areas through which He does His greatest work. Instead, we try to ignore weaknesses, hoping no one will notice. We live in denial, assigning blame to others when we fail. Eventually, we attempt to bury our weaknesses only to find them resurrecting themselves when we least expect it. A powerful life embraces pain, brokenness and weakness and understands that perfection is for Heaven, not Earth. The words of Paul are profound, “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27 NIV).

 

I love the bible story of Gideon, because I can relate to his way of thinking. Gideon is a great example of someone who used his weaknesses as an excuse for disobedience. Gideon’s act of threshing wheat in a winepress reflected both his fear of discovery by his enemies, the Midianites, as well as Gideon’s small harvest. Normally, wheat was threshed in an open area on a threshing floor by oxen pulling threshing sledges over the stalks. Gideon complained about God’s direction, “My clan is the weakest… and I am the least.” I would probably have said something similar since the Midianites were nomadic invaders of great number and formidable strength. God wanted Gideon to defeat them, freeing the Israelites. Gideon’s response was so human and so like our own when God calls us to do something that makes little sense and seems impossible.

 

God’s commitment to Gideon reaffirmed His presence with Gideon and the ease with which Gideon would defeat the Midianites. In fact, God told Gideon that he would defeat his enemy “as if they were but one man”. I love it! Here was Gideon, probably the last man anyone would choose to face the Midianites, and God is telling him the victory will be so easy it will seem like he is facing one man instead of an army of fierce invaders. Even then, Gideon’s attitude was lousy! I can almost hear him whining as he blamed God for getting the Israelites into their current mess and voicing major doubts about God’s willingness or even His desire to save them. Still, God said Gideon was the man for the job.

 

When we are honest about our weaknesses, we are conceding the fact that only God can accomplish anything good in or through us. God’s power is instantly recognizable in obvious weakness. Just like God was with the flawed Gideon, He is with us. “God has promised, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’" (Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV).

 

Let’s pray

Father, I have to confess that I tend to depend on my strengths while trying to hide my weaknesses. Please help me to be real and honest when it comes to who I am in You. Help me celebrate the weaknesses that keep me on my face before You and in total dependence upon Your strength and power. Without You, I am nothing, Lord. But with You, anything is possible. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Now it’s your turn

  • Make a list of your top three weaknesses as you see them.
  • What have you done in an attempt to cover up those weaknesses? Has it worked?
  • What do you think would happen if you began to view those weaknesses as opportunities for God’s strength to be illustrated in your life?
  • Choose one of the three weaknesses you listed above. Right now, thank God for His willingness to work through that weakness to illustrate His power and love.

 

More from the girls

I hate to admit failure or weakness, but looking back over my life, I can see how God has used those dark times and failures for my good. Romans 8:28 tells us that God will use everything for His good if we love Him and seek to obey Him. Do not be afraid to recognize your human frailty and celebrate the fact that God’s grace covers it all. The CD, Getting Good at Being You, can help you understand and apply this powerful truth in your life. Check it out!

 

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