“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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” _2 Cor. 1209-10
i was listening to a sermon this morning from Charles Spurgeon and this is the verse that he broke down for his listeners. doesn’t this scripture seem somewhat paradoxical? it’s hard to understand because it goes against our natural inclination. when i am weak, then i am strong? it may help to better understand this if we look at it backwards:
when i am strong, then i am weak. often times we think we can accomplish some great act on our own. our society takes great pride in strength. when we want to make an impact we select people that are distinguished and accomplished, strong people. when you are strong there is the danger of minimizing the impact of your sin. sin becomes something that could be avoided. we think to ourselves that next time we won’t give in to that desire, meaning that if we just tried a little bit harder we could avoid that sin. so we downplay sin. we minimize its impact. we play it off like it’s not really all that big of a deal. ya i look at porn every now and then, but it’s not that big of a deal. it’s not as if i had killed someone every now and then. if i kill someone every now and then, then i suppose you may call me a sinner, but not if i look at porn occasionally. that can be overcome if next time i just choosenot to look. suddenly we are strong. we are able to overcome sin and our various weaknesses. but really, when we are strong we are weak. for there is rarely a downfall that was not preceded by some form of pride. for the Lord will strike down the proud and he will humble those who sit in lofty places. isn’t this the case? were Pharaoh and his armies not cast into the sea? isn’t it true that when we come to the place where we think that we have it all together, and we minimize sins presence in our lives, that we are most weak. for in minimizing our sin we also minimize Christ’s grace and mercy and triumph over sin. we minimize his sacrifice.
when i am weak, then i am strong. “if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 Jn 0108). claiming to be strong is of no benefit for it, in fact, deceives you. we are not enabled fellowship with God because we are without sin. no, this is not the case, for surely we all sin. fellowship with God is only enabled upon recognizing ones sin or weakness. it is not until one recognizes their weakness that fellowship with God can begin to take place. for if we claim to be without weakness, “we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” so, say it with me, “i am weak”.
weakness is the beginning of strength because His power is “made perfect in weakness.” therefore, Paul says that he boastsabout his weaknesses. when was the last time you heard anyone boast about weakness let alone acknowledge it? why is this so rare? it ought to be common place for it is the beginning of strength. Paul does this for a specific reason though, “so that Christ’s power may rest” on him. you see, this is it: our strength is birthed from the power of Christ. if we claim to be strong then we are not weak and there is no room for Christ’s power to be made perfect in, or take place in, us. claiming strength leaves on void of the power of Jesus for the power of Jesus comes only through acknowledging ones weakness. in argument form, it looks like this:
A) We are weak.
B) Christ’s power is made perfect in our weakness.
C) Our only strength comes through the power of Christ.
therefore, D) We are strong only when we acknowledge that we are weak.
friends, be weary of the temptation to think of yourself as strong for your result will surely be weakness. rather, see and acknowledge your weakness, and rejoice, for Christ’s grace is sufficient for you and his power shall make you strong.