One day, I was pouring my heart out to the Lord, and confessing my fears and weaknesses to Him. I was telling Him things like, "Lord, sometimes I feel so weak. And I know that others often see me as weak, too. I want so much to be strong. But it seems that no matter what I do, there are still times when I feel helpless and fearful." I know the power of confessing God's Word. There is hardly a day that goes by that I don't declare, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" (Philippians 4:13 NKJV) And I know that "the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness." (Romans 8:26 NLT) Even so, I can't deny that there are days when I just don't think that I can go on. As I called on the Lord on this particular day, He led me to the verse above. He impressed upon my heart that He was well aware of my weaknesses. But He was also well aware of how hard I tried to please Him, and to be faithful to Him in the toughest of times. And because of that, He had every intention of blessing me, and using me for His glory in wonderful ways, in spite of my weaknesses.
For centuries, Christians have admired the apostle Paul for his uncommon courage and strength. But the Bible reveals that he had his share of weaknesses, too. In the case of his "thorn in the flesh," Paul records that he turned to the Lord repeatedly for deliverance. But instead of God rescuing him, He says, "I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people." (2 Corinthians 12:9 TLB) I am so glad that the Lord didn't tell Paul, "Stop being a wimp and straighten up!" No, He reassures His faithful servant that Paul's weakness will only serve to highlight God's supernatural power working in and through him. I love Paul's response in the second part of this verse. He says, "Now I am glad to boast about how weak I am; I am glad to be a living demonstration of Christ's power, instead of showing off my own power and abilities." Imagine a courageous man like Paul boasting about his weaknesses, instead of trying to hide them or make excuses for them. He goes on to say, "Since I know it is all for Christ's good, I am quite happy about 'the thorn,' and about insults and hardships, persecutions and difficulties; for when I am weak, then I am strong - the less I have, the more I depend on Him." (2 Corinthians 12:10 NLT) Amazingly enough, Paul is not anxious or fretful about his weaknesses. Instead, he says that he feels comfortable with them, because he knows that in the end, God will be glorified. Wherever Paul's strength ends, that's where the Lord's power begins.
In First Corinthians 1:27 (AMP), Paul writes, "For God selected (deliberately chose)...what the world calls weak to put the strong to shame." It gives me great comfort to know that even if the world sees me as weak, the Lord can use me in wonderful ways for His glory. I want to get to the point where I can say, "I admit it - I am weak by the world's standards. But in God's kingdom, that doesn't disqualify me for service - it just makes me more valuable to Him!" And why is that? Because as long as we see ourselves as needy and dependent upon God, we will be earnestly seeking Him every step of the way, leaning heavily upon Him and drawing on His strength. I worry about people who view themselves as independent and self-sufficient. In most cases, the Lord will not be able to use them to their fullest potential, because they will be constantly getting off track and doing their own thing.
If you are feeling weak today, I encourage you not to lose heart. As long as you are earnestly seeking God, and doing your best to become all that He created you to be, He will open doors for you, use you, and bless you in extraordinary ways. May Paul's declaration of faith be ours this day: "So I am well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God's strength]!" (2 Corinthians 12:10 AMP)
Prayer: Lord, help me to see my weaknesses from Your perspective. Remind me that when my strength gives out, that is when Your supernatural power kicks in. Deliver me from all my fears, according to Your Word - including the fear of failure, the fear of being rejected, and the fear of man. (Psalm 34:4) Thank You that as I rely heavily upon Your grace, and seek to please You in all things, You will bless me and use me in extraordinary ways for Your glory!
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