Happy 2014 everyone! I hope that this year will be your best year yet!
For my first post of the year, I want to talk about weakness. This is not a popular subject in contemporary Christian circles. We are taught to work on our weaknesses and play to our strengths. We are seldom told to rejoice in our weaknesses.
But listen to what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 12:9ff:
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…. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
In the Greek, the word “perfect” is teleioo which means to complete, accomplish, to consummate. If we are honest, we like doing things that we are good at. This is because it means we can be responsible for, and guarantee, the results. If I am an amazing singer, then in all likelihood, people will be moved when I sing. But that muddies the waters. Who is doing the moving? My amazing voice, or the Holy Spirit?
Tozer once said:
If God took his Holy Spirit out of this world, what the church is doing would go right on and nobody would know the difference.“
The church today is good at doing a lot of stuff. We are good at stirring messages, creating sights, sounds and imagery and producing great programs. But how much of it is the presence of God?
When we play to our strengths, there is less room for God’s miracles.
I love how God uses the weak things of the world to shame that which is wise. I remember Joseph Prince telling how he used to stutter when he was in school. Today he preaches to millions. Or hearing about how Nick Vujicic, with no arms and no legs, can inspire people to live life to the full.
Even to this day, I wonder how I ended up leading worship. People seem to think I sing well, but those closest to me and who know me well (or who listen to our Sunday worship recordings) will tell you that I haven’t got a great voice. (Granted, I have a loud voice – my wife reminds me of this frequently!). When I was in school, I was told my voice wasn’t good enough for me to join the choir. And yet, I have this privilege, week after week, in meetings of varying sizes, to use my voice to lead people to encounter God in worship.
When I stop to really think about it, God is really performing a miracle each time by His grace. His strength is being made perfect and complete in my weakness.
You could say that it is when we are most empty that Christ is most complete in us.
What are you weak at? What do you struggle with? What trait don’t you like in yourself? Perhaps God is using that very weakness to miraculously demonstrate His strength. Perhaps it is in those very things that are broken and empty that gives space for God to pour out His strength completely.
In 2014, allow Christ’s strength to be perfected in your weaknesses!