With tears in his eyes and as much attitude that he could muster, my six-year-old son looked at me, flexed his right bicep, and yelled, “I’m as strong as a bear!” He took a pillow smash in the face from his older brother and it hurt. He just didn’t want anyone to know it. I tried to comfort him and intervene but he wasn’t interested. He just wanted everyone to know how strong he was.
He spent all night preparing a sermon he thought would mark a turning point in his church. He preached it with passion, then punctuated it with a well rehearsed song. When the appeal was made, no one responded. It was like God slept in that Sunday. What happened?
2nd Corinthians 12:9-10 says, “Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Our weakness is the condition that allows God to work! He works in us and through us when we are weak. Every time I read this passage I’m amazed. “My power works best in weakness.” He didn’t say, “My power works best when your strong.” or “My power works best when you keep your chin up.”
Paul didn’t say that the power of Christ worked through him because of his speaking ability, education, ministry budget, musical talent, new sound system, or Bible software either. I’m not against those things but it floors me how many ministers will spend five hours preparing their message and five minutes preparing their heart.
It’s our weakness that drives us to our knees. It’s our weakness that keeps us centered on Jesus. It’s our frailty that allows Him to comfort us, heal us, and give us wisdom when we’re hurting or afraid.
In ministry, it’s the awareness of how feeble we are that keeps us fully depending on God to move, instead of using our talents to manipulate people to respond to our message. When we realize how truly useless we are without Him and cry out to him for help, then He can move in and do what only He can do.
So be free to be weak. You really aren’t as strong as a bear. Your abilities, talents, and budget are needed and are good things, but they really won’t change the world. When we stop flexing our muscle, God will flex His. And when He flexes… it changes everything.