When I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)
I have learned by way of personal experience that the devil loves it when we think we are standing strong, able to withstand any wind of temptation or trial that blows our way. Our remorseless enemy cackles with delight when we believe we are are impervious to temptation or trials, because that’s when we are most likely to find ourselves overwhelmed by them. “If you think you are standing firm,” Scripture warns us, “be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
Our verse for today gives us a wonderful reminder from the apostle Paul to frankly acknowledge our weakness, because we all have a tendency to imagine that we are stronger than we really are. We all tend to serve God in our own strength and ability, leaning on our own understanding rather than His. When we do that, we set ourselves up for a pratfall. But when we acknowledge our need for God and embrace our dependence upon Him, He is ready, willing, and abundantly able to fill us with His strength, which empowers us to withstand the slings and arrows of the devil. It is only when we are living in the power of the Holy Spirit that we can be effective in living out the plan and purpose God has for our lives.
The key to understanding how Paul could live out this truth is found in the first part of the same verse, 2 Corinthians 12:10 — “For Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecution, in difficulties.” It was for Christ’s sake that Paul could acknowledge his weakness and depend totally upon the Lord to strengthen him, regardless of the circumstances he was facing in life. Paul could actually find contentment in many difficult situations, because it was for Christ’s sake and the expansion of the cause of His Kingdom.
If you were to take Paul’s test of strength by acknowledging weakness, what grade would you get? We live in a world that abhors weakness. But God takes our weakness and uses it as a witness to His glory. As we learn to trust and depend upon Jesus alone, we enter into the “Hall of Faith” along with some of the great saints of God, “whose weakness was turned into strength” (Hebrews 11:34). Remember, when we pass the test of strength and acknowledge our weakness, God makes us more than conquerors through Christ.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!