2 Corinthians 12:9-10 [NIV]
“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. 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.”
How can you read this verse and not feel empowered? Paul is writing to the church in Corinth and is speaking about his hardships. Paul is telling of his hardships, and in chapter 12 begins to “boast” about them. Paul could have continued his focus on why the Lord put him through so much suffering, but instead he began to rejoice in his suffering.
As Christians, we should learn a lot from Paul in this situation. Sometimes I catch myself feeling sorry for myself, in fact I was in a constant state of bitterness last year. Thankfully, I am coming to the realization that my bitterness is not effective for God’s purpose for my life. To allow God to use me as a ministry tool, I needed to let my weaknesses become strengths through him. I don’t know about you, but feeling weak is not my favorite thing. Throughout the Bible, we are given several verses of encouragement about our weaknesses and God’s strength. Here are some:
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.”
“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”
Recently, I decided that I needed to try to become healthier, so I started working out. This may sound cheesy, but has really been relevant to me physically and spiritually. When we first begin something for the first time, we are usually weak. If we only ever focus on that weakness, instead of focusing on the strength that can come from the weakness, we will never get anywhere. If the first day I started working out, I became depressed with my weaknesses and didn’t go back the next day, or didn’t put in more effort, I wouldn’t have become any stronger. Our faith is the same. If we focus only on our weaknesses, we will become consumed by our weakness, putting us directly where the devil wants us to be. If we focus on our strength, our God, we become STRONGER. God gives us power to do and say things we wouldn’t be capable of on our own. Our faith grows and we mature. We begin to become more like Christ and less like the world.
In our weaknesses we feel like we have nothing, but we will always have one thing: God. If God is all you have, you have all you need. How beautiful is that?