Christ’s Strength Perfected in My Weakness

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!

Blessings Reel – May 2012

May has been a big month! I was so busy that I hardly found any time to write any new posts. But it’s been a great month, part of the continuum of this year of Unceasing Fruitfulness.

May was also a month when I learnt to rest in Christ’s strength.

Certainly, being part of Converge has been a great ministry blessing. I was blessed to see so much of the Church in the city of Perth coming together in unity, particular worship ministers at a grassroots level. Relationships have been formed which I think will endure into the future, forging unity through the pillar of worship which will play a critical role in the transformation of the city.

It was also great just to work with worshippers hungering together after God’s presence and to meet some new people.

Someone said to me today that God was increasing my influence in this city. I’m not sure whether that is true or not. But what I am sure of is that this is not the goal. The goal is to see the increase of the influence of the church in the city. I’m just one part of that process.

But the process has also involved a lot of hard work.

And in the midst of it all, I was so busy at the office with two of the partners being on holidays. It was busy during working hours, and it was busy after working hours!

There were times I felt completely out of my depth and thoroughly inadequate for the task I was assigned. In all of it however, I learnt Paul’s lesson in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (MSG):

And He said to me, “My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.”

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

The weaker I get, the stronger I become; or rather, the greater Christ’s strength in me.

So many times, those who counselled me told me to relax, not to stress, to take it easy. In principle, I agreed. But in reality, I struggled. But it was a lesson they’ve already learnt through their many years of ministry. And now, it was a lesson I had to learn for myself as well.

I am so grateful for the counsel and prayers of my leaders and mentors. And I’m grateful for Christ’s strength, shining through in the moments of my greatest weakness that allows me to keep in good cheer, to take limitations in my stride and to let Christ take over!