Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Antidote For Weakness

Do you have anything that you hate?  I do.  I hate that I hate weakness.  It totally gets in the way of the usefulness that weakness has for me, because it leads me to Jesus, who is perfect in weakness.  Oh, how I have found him there!  But sometimes I am so slow to call His name or to turn my thoughts toward him.  Instead, I try to work my way out of weakness, to stop being angry, to blockade against envy, to deny that I’m disappointed, to pretend I’m not hurt by a particularly pointed insult, or that I’m not frustrated when EVERYTHING’S frustrating!

I know that I am experiencing what the apostle Paul did.  He wrote a lot about weakness—more than anyone else, and I’m thankful to be included with him for the grace and power of Christ in me, which is what weakness is about.

There are lots of New Testament passages that Paul, the former King of the Stuffy Pharisees wrote that you can look up (including 1 Corinthians 2:1-5; 2 Corinthians 4:7-12), but maybe the Grand Poobah passage of them all is 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.  He writes about a weakness that threatened him, and God’s grace, God’s work in Paul to keep it away from him.

7 To keep me from becoming conceited (that’s the threatening weakness—conceit, cousin to arrogance) because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. (Have you ever done that?) 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you (which I often hear from the Lord, but not always the next part), 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. 10 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.  (Parenthesis mine.)

That’s God’s design.  I’m not always sure that I like it, but, nevertheless, it works!  I suspect that I’m not the only one who relates to Paul and his experience—weakness in the midst of doing something important.  Have you ever had that?  That weakness, however, brought him into focus, it moved his thinking to God, who then revealed himself to Paul—and that’s the greatest thing there is!  Knowing God.  And Paul had that—the treasure—through weakness.

What do I do?  Well, rather than hate weakness for long, I accept it, and let it take me to the One who has no such weaknesses, but who is very well acquainted with them.  You and I are set up in this life to find that Jesus is perfect for and in all of our needs.  He is strength, He is love—He never runs out of it!—He is grace, He is caring, He is comfort—there’s no one better at it, no one who has more—He is smart and wise—infinitely so.  And those are all the things that we try to champion on our own, but where we stumble and look ugly.  And then we fall under fleshly judgment in them, because we’ve been trying to do our best. . .and failed.  And gotten angry, envious, greedy, and lustful and fearful. . .but He doesn’t struggle with any of that, neither does He judge us.  That’s all over with, and you and I have come out rather well.

Jesus is the antidote for weakness because He takes the hate out of it, He takes the poison and uselessness out of it because He shows up in it!  He jumps on the stage inside of you and says, “Here I am!  I am the one for this, and I am with you. I find no fault with you!  Have you forgotten that I am easy to be with and gentle with you? I’m not here to ever put burdens upon you, I’m here to remove them!  I am and will always be all about rest with you.  You can count on it.”

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

(This is a transcript of yesterday's video, “The Antidote For Weakness,” and is for those who might rather read than watch.)

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