Strength Out of Weakness

by Bill Denton

Strength Out of Weakness

"And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor 12:9-10 NASV).

And from Charles H. Spurgeon: "It is not our littleness that hinders Christ; but our bigness. It is not our weakness that hinders Christ; it is our strength. It is not our darkness that hinders Christ; it is our supposed light that holds back His hand."

Surprisingly, we Christians sometime develop the wrong idea about who needs what. Don't misunderstand. Certainly, we should obey God's commands, we ought to take seriously the work God has given us to take the gospel to all people, everywhere, and surely we ought to be involved in doing good in this world so full of things that are bad. We ought to make a positive difference.

The trouble is that we sometimes get the idea that God can't get along very well without us. We develop the attitude that it is through our strength, our ingenuity, our talents and effort that great things are done. Actually, while we should offer Him all of these, our offering is really pretty puny.

Charles Spurgeon understood something about God's greatness. It works best when we don't hamper it by getting our puny little selves in God's way. In fact, we end up accomplishing more and better things when we allow God to work in and through us.

When you think about all the great things that God has done throughout man's history, you've got to be impressed with how He used the least expected resources. Take the nation of Israel. Compared to other nations, it never was really much at all, yet God used Israel to bring the Messiah into the world.

Getting more specific, who would have picked an isolated shepherd, keeping a flock out in the middle of nowhere, to be the guy to lead God's people out of Egypt? Yet that's exactly what Moses was at the time he was called. King David was just a young man, probably rather small, yet he took on the giant Goliath when Israel's army shook in fear of him. And, who really, expected a handful of Galileans-former tax collectors, ex-revolutionaries, and fishermen-to change the world? No, you just have to stand back and be amazed at how God has chosen to do things. He picks the weaknesses in humans and turns those weaknesses into great accomplishments, all to display His own power and might.

The question for us, though, is how to get out of God's way. It's not always clear. God certainly can and will use us for His purposes. What isn't so clear is when we are effective tools and when we are a hindrance to what God wants to do. Perhaps the answer is to keep recognizing that it doesn't depend on us. Maybe the concern is one of our faith in God. When we realize that it's not our strength that matters, but God's, then we're ready to become as useful as possible in God's hands. It doesn't mean we should sit down and refuse to act. It means that we act with the knowledge that God will use us.

That, by the way, is really the only way you'll ever take on things that look bigger than you, and sooner or later, you'll run into a few of those. When you do, let God make you strong.

Copyright 2001, Dr. Bill Denton

All rights reserved. Used by permission.