Connecting Point: The Appearance of Weakness
November 9, 2022
Montanan men and women going back to the pioneer days have put a premium on self-reliance. As such, even modern Montanans shun outward appearances of weakness. So, we consider weakness as a handicap, something that keeps us from reaching our goals. Weakness, as a characteristic, goes against an early American standard. Work hard and you are supposed to be rewarded. How often do you see weakness celebrated? Never.
The Biblical perspective on weakness is unconventional. God often chose the humble over the proud or the frail over the strong; Gideon, David, and Timothy to name a few. Paul lets us in on a golden gem of Scripture; God’s grace is for those who are, in fact, insufficient. This is quite contrary to the “self-made” philosophy that has ruled throughout American history.
“I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think
more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong,” (2 Corinthians 12:1-10).
In Paul’s era, there was a group referred to as the “Super Apostles” who went around bragging about their spiritual experiences thus giving them clout. Not so according to Paul, they were false teachers with too much influence in the early church. Grace and truth go hand in hand, especially in terms of getting the Gospel correct.
Two paths can come from weakness: One, a person’s heavy burden or weakness can be lifted. Two, the shoulders of the burden bearer can be reinforced by intercession or prayer. God, then as now, has worked with option two very often. Any form of weakness in our life is a showcase for God to demonstrate his remarkable strength.
Like Paul, we should boast less about our accomplishments and more about God’s grace. We also can gain the proper perspective that infirmities do not need to ruin our life, but they can enhance the very power of God. Grace teaches us that strength outside ourselves is more than enough, that which comes from Jesus. Have you discovered that Jesus is more than enough? If not look to him because He is all-sufficient.