The Power of Weakness

Morning glory flower, species Ipomoea nil

“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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

One of the most difficult things a Christian faces is the simple human desire to hide our weaknesses and failures from the world. We don’t want people to think badly of us. We don’t want to appear unreliable. We don’t want to be embarrassed, or to embarrass those we care about. So, when we fail, when we are weak, as human beings we often desire to sweep it under the rug. The results are usually two-fold. First, we begin to live a lie, behaving one way to the world and another way in our hearts. Second, the more we fail or the more weakness we discover in ourselves, the more often we will quit before completing the tasks God sets for us or refuse to start because we assume we’ll fail.

If we look back at our lives each of us will discover a time when we felt discouraged and gave up. Each of us harbors memories of a road not taken, a challenge not accepted because we couldn’t bear the thought of one more failure. Some of us may still be locked in the fear those moments build up over time, knowing we are called to more but unable to break the bondage of shattered expectations. Others of us remember that fear, remember the bondage, and have stories to tell of the amazing and terrifying moment when God thrust us out of our comfort zone.

There is no easy fix for this tendency we have as human beings. It is one of those areas of life where we simply have to make a choice. Do we care more about what people will think of us and because of that are willing to live lives less full than we were meant for? Or do we care only what God thinks of us and because of that we are willing to be fools in the eyes of the world?

Paul tells us in his letter to the Corinthians the choice God desires us to make. He also tells us what we must do to be free of the chains of fear of failure and false expectations, and he tells us why. We must humbly reveal to the world our failures and our weaknesses. We must do this not to cause us embarrassment, not to leave us vulnerable, but because it is in the midst of our failures and weaknesses that God’s glory and strength shines most clearly. That is both the purpose and the promise in this verse we so often cling to. His grace is sufficient, His power is perfect in our weakness. When we boast in our weakness, the power of Christ shines forth into the world, setting us and those we touch free. Be bless, and be a blessing.

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