I was thinking the other morning how people have said to me in the past that I have a strong faith.
And my thoughts took me to the Apostle Paul, writing about the ‘thorn in his flesh’, a particular trial that he was enduring. Some say it was a physical ailment, others are not sure, but whatever it was we read from him in 2 Corinthians chapter 12 vs 8 and 9:
‘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.”’
And so, we read in vs 9 and 10, that Paul came to this conclusion:
‘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.’
While I was reflecting on those who have said to me ‘you have a strong faith’; I thought, actually, no, I have a weak faith. For I know how often I fall and how I fail to worship and praise God as I ought to, how I fail to look to Him for all my needs and fail to depend on His all-sufficient grace in times of trial and persecution of my soul.
The secular world says mankind has the strength to do all things as long as we believe in ourselves. Our children, grandchildren, are told their dreams can come true, anything is possible, you have it in you to achieve! In other words,...you are not weak...you can do this...you need to be assertive and have masses of self-esteem, you’re not a failure, you’ve got this! Don’t get me wrong, there are times when we need to overcome our fears and encourage ourselves and others to achieve what we can in life.
The early church was described in Acts 6 as those ‘men who have turned the world upside down’. Because Christians go against the flow of the world.
As we read in 2 Cor 12 that when we acknowledge we are weak, then, as Christians, we are strong. And it even says we should boast in our weaknesses. Can you imagine Boris Johnson confessing his weaknesses, his failures, no, that’s not what the country wants to hear from their leader.
We don’t put our hope in our self because we know we are not strong. As Christians, we confess our sins and draw near to God, and we say, ‘I can’t do this, I need you Lord’, and we find once again, His all sufficient grace, and power, and love, and strength through the forgiveness obtained at the cross of Calvary where it looked to the world that Jesus was weak as he hung on the cross, but it was there in His weakness, that he was defeating sin, the devil and death.
It even says in the verses that we are to delight in our weaknesses, in our hardships, and persecutions, for it is then His power is at work in us, that same power that raised Christ from the dead, it is that power that produces the strong faith to persevere through the trials, through each day, and for that, He deserves all the praise and the glory.
For that is when we see with our eyes fixed on Jesus, our highly exalted Saviour, that we come to acknowledge Him to be the perfecter of our faith.
As the song goes:
It is only by grace that we enter
only by grace that we stand
not by our human endeavour
but by the blood of the lamb.
Into Your presence You call us
You call us to come
Into Your presence You draw us
And now by Your grace we come
Now by Your grace we come
Lord, if You marked our transgressions, who would stand?
Thanks to Your grace we are cleansed by the blood of the Lamb
Words by Don Moen