We do not like to admit our weaknesses. The expression “play to your strengths” is all about focusing on what we do well. If people could see us for who we really are from the inside – including our struggles, flaws, and insecurities – it could change their perception of us. Our weaknesses may be hidden from view, but God knows. The Lord does not look at the outward appearance, but He looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
Weakness is an opportunity for God to work powerfully in our lives. Even when our flesh and heart fail us, He is the strength of our heart (Psalm 73:26). As we reflect on the areas of our lives where we know we are weak, in whatever capacity that is, may we look to Jesus and ponder how He works through our weaknesses for His glory.
The Lord works in weakness
The Bible is full of people who were weak at times, just like us. Whether it is Joseph’s boasting which led to his brother’s betraying him, the apostle Paul beaten and put in prison for preaching the gospel, or Peter denying Jesus three times, there are fallible people in the pages of Scripture. However, Joseph became the governor of Egypt, Paul’s letters form a large part of the New Testament that we read today, and Peter was reinstated and began the early church. It can be comforting to know that the Lord is at work in our weakest moments and He has a plan and a purpose.
The Lord said to Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV). In order for Christ’s power to work in us we must be in submission to Him, even when we are weak. When we are weak, we are allowing ourselves to humbly depend on a God who is able to align our will to His. It is an opportunity for us to participate in the divine plans God has for the world.
In our weaknesses, people will see that it is nothing that we can do in our own strength, but it is God working through us. It points us away from our own abilities and efforts and onto Him and His all-sufficient grace. When we yield to Him, we will experience His power at work in us, transforming both our heart and mind.
A fresh realization to trust and depend on God
The lyrics of the song “Strong Enough” by Matthew West captures the moments in life of being in the pit of desperation. Some of the lyrics say:
Maybe that's the point
To reach the point of giving up
Cause when I'm finally... at rock bottom
Well, that's when I start looking up
And reaching out
It is at times of crisis that people often gather to pray together and consider God and the purpose of life. At rock bottom of any situation, it may seem that we cannot go any further down. But there is an opportunity to look up and to see Jesus in these times where we are at our weakest.
Rather than cruising through life on our own, thinking that we have it made, our weakness and the trials that we face can bring us to the realization of our need to depend on the Lord. Even at times when life is good, our life is in His hands. We can trust Him for all that we need in every circumstance.
The Lord does not abandon us in our weakness
One of the most comforting promises that Jesus utters is that He will be with us always until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). We can be confident in this because He is the truth (John 14:6) and can empower us, with the help of the Spirit, to turn to Him in our weakest moments. He will not leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:8; Joshua 1:5). By turning to Him when we are weary, we can experience the strength that comes from Him because His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30).
In Hebrews 4:15-16 it says: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Jesus empathizes with us in our weakness, advocates on our behalf to the Father (1 John 2:1) and He gives us the mercy and grace to help us when we are in need.
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God is our help and strength
When the Lord asked Moses to go to Pharaoh and speak all the words that He would tell him, Moses said that he was “unskilled in speech” (Exodus 6:30) and doubted how Pharaoh would listen to him. He said “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue” (Exodus 4:9). He felt weak and unable to do the task required of him. The Lord reminded Moses that He would help and teach him, but Moses asked God to send someone else (Exodus 4:12-13).
Arguing with God seems like a crazy thing to do, but it probably sounds familiar to some of us. In those moments when we feel weak, we may grumble and ask God to send someone else, get us out of a situation or to give us a better ability to do a task. There are times to pray such prayers, but the story reminds us that God is our refuge and strength; an ever-present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).
We can look to Him alone for help, knowing that He will provide us with everything we need. Corrie ten Boom, who survived the Holocaust, said: “You can never learn that Christ is all you need, until Christ is all you have.” We may never experience the unspeakable horrors that Corrie faced, but her words are true - Christ is all we need.
We can come alongside others in times of weakness
God sent Aaron to be the spokesperson for Moses and He enabled them both to speak. There are times when we need support from others and times when we can come alongside others when they feel weak. With the comfort that God provides, we are able to go out in the same manner and comfort others who are in trouble with that same comfort we have received from the Lord (2 Corinthians 1:4). There is power when Christians gather together in prayer on behalf of others. As the body of Christ, the church can display unity to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15).
Weakness also opens us up to honest conversation with God. The Psalms are filled with the heartcries of David who was often weak, in danger and close to being killed. He was physically, mentally and emotionally depleted and spoke from his heart to the living God. At times when we feel weak, we can come to God in prayer and be honest and real with Him. We cry out from our heart and the Lord hears us. We can also take our struggles to someone we trust who will be there to uplift and encourage us through prayer and practical support.
Serving others is not a sign of weakness - it is what Jesus did
Jesus came to serve and not be served (Matthew 20:28) and demonstrated that His disciples were to do likewise. He washed His disciples’ feet, and in that culture, washing feet was a job for the lowest of the low. Feet would have been filthy from walking, yet Jesus humbly wrapped a towel around His waist and began to gently wash away the dirt.
The world favors the influential, successful and strong, but we are to see those who are weak in the eyes of society and lift them up, love and serve them in humility.
Jesus did not use His equality with God as something to use for His gain, but He emptied Himself and took the form of a servant (Philippians 2:6-7). The greatest act of humility in history was done by Jesus who laid down His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28). As His disciples, we should emulate His life by serving others, and His death by laying down our lives for others.
The Christian faith was built upon a moment of perceived weakness
A watching crowd jeered at Jesus as His body hung with nails hammered into His palms and feet. The chief priests, elders and scribes mocked Him saying “He saved others; He cannot save Himself” (Matthew 27:42). The death of Jesus looked like the end to onlookers and His followers. However, it was precisely in not saving Himself that Jesus brought salvation to all who would believe in Him.
Death is feared and often ignored in day-to-day life, but our mortality is inevitable. We cannot escape sickness, disease and death which is the ultimate weakness. However, Jesus has made a way to eternal life through Him and given hope to go through weakness on earth knowing that death is not the end. This is good news.
Knowing Jesus strengthens and sustains in all circumstances
There are Christians throughout the world who are experiencing imprisonment, torture and death for their faith. It is often in these hostile environments that the number of Christians multiply as they know Jesus in a very real way. In whatever area of weakness we find ourselves, whether in ourselves or our circumstances, the Holy Spirit “helps us in our weakness” (Romans 8:26). The grace of God is sufficient and made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) and we can receive grace upon grace from Him in our time of need (John 1:16).
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