Christianity 201

December 5, 2012

Wasting our Weakness

adrian plass

Adrian Plass:

Here’s a question for you.  What is it that impedes Christians?  Stock answers to this question include sin, disobedience, poor prayer life, failure to read the Bible and lack of fellowship.  It will not have escaped your notice (I hope) that these are all areas of negative behaviour.  We too easily forget that, in Matthew 23, Jesus reframed the Ten Commandments into a list of two wholly positive ones, both of which contain and displace negative behaviour rather than majoring and dwelling on it.

Bearing all this in mind, I would like to offer my own list of impeding factors.  It includes principles, faked spiritual excitement, excessive religious behaviour, and, the one I invite you to consider for a few moments, waste of weakness.  How is it possible to waste weakness?  Remember this passage from 2 Corinthians 12?

II Corinthians (NLT) 12:6 If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

There you are, then.  The stunning fact is that God’s power is made perfect in our weaknesses.  Perhaps because the words are fairly familiar, we sort of think we know what this means, don’t we?  But the concept is worth dwelling on.  Weakness is not a barrier to service. On the contrary, if we are brave enough to wholeheartedly offer God those areas of our lives where we fail, he is likely to recycle them and use them for his own purposes, Paul’s conversion and subsequent career being a perfect example of this phenomenon.  Even more importantly, his strength will actually be more clearly demonstrated to the rest of the world, precisely because he works through us despite our failings.

Our weaknesses.  Great opportunities.  Let’s not waste them.  Here’s a thorny question.  Does all this actually mean anything?  After all, it is so much not the way of the world.  Want another one?  Here you are then.  Are you held back by a sense of inadequacy and weakness? What would it cost to surrender yourself to God as a public example of the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit?  Maybe God is expecting too much?  Why shouldn’t we focus mainly on our strengths?  What do you think?

 

~Adrian Plass, War of the Worlds (Authentic Media, 2011) pp. 69-70