But he said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefor I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2 Corinthians 12: 9

We tend to like strength. It is something that is applauded, held up for praise, and sought after by most of us. It is natural to equate dominance and power to authority, and so, we put those who take charge and exert their superiority over others into positions of leadership without much in the way of question or challenge. Yet, we often fight against the forms that this power takes as it is put to use and exhibited, for the more authoritarian the person, the less that individual is likely to function in a manner that could be deemed as godly or Christ-like. The question, “Why is that so?” leads to consideration of sources and forms of real power and authentic leadership in our world.

Christ’s words for Paul give us some guidance in this question. Paul was remarkably well educated and trained, and he had then been instructed in all things that concerned knowing God and the fulfillment of that knowledge that had been established by and in Christ. Yet, all of this wisdom, position, and experience were of no use at all without God’s grace and the presence of the Holy Spirit residing within Paul. So, everything that Paul said, wrote, and demonstrated by the way that he lived was the direct result of Christ’s redeeming grace, sacrificial love, and guiding presence. All of Paul’s authority to speak to others on behalf of God’s truth and for the sake of righteousness came about because of his submission to Christ; so, it was the outworking of Christ’s strength and the authority to rule over the world that the Father had granted to Him.

We can evaluate our world from this same perspective. Where do we see submission to Christ, and how is that form of spiritual humility expressed by people in positions of power and authority? These are important questions to ask, and this characteristic of boasting only in personal weakness is one to seek after in people who are entrusted with leadership in all aspects of life in our world. Reality informs us that there are no perfect people in our midst, and no leader will ever be fully and absolutely submitted to Christ in this life. Yet, we can seek after those that come close and that, like Paul, are striving to set aside their personal power in order to more fully embrace and live out the Spirit’s leading and God’s will in their thoughts, words, and actions. Paul proved himself worthy to be followed because of his weakness in Christ. Are we each likewise seeking to empty ourselves of strength in order to become weak in this same manner, and do we seek to place people into positions of authority because they, too, are following Paul’s model of strength that comes solely from Christ?    

Advertisements

And Christ said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weakness, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

2 Corinthians 12: 9

 

Do you ever wonder about the way that our culture seems to be fascinated with stories about people who possess remarkable skill, power, and dominance over what life throws at them? Along these same lines, look at the popularity of superheroes in books and films; we spend a lot of money on escaping from our reality into one where evil is defeated by someone who seems to have strength and capacity that comes from a source beyond our access or understanding. Thus, they are heroes for saving us, and since their ability to do the saving comes from a seemingly miraculous source, they are super. How odd is this fascination with power that comes from beyond the human realm; yet, it is all actually completely natural.

 

We live in a world that is at least as perilous and as frightening as the ones where these characters of fiction dwell. We may not be faced by an angry god from some other dimension who decides to take his frustrations out on our planet, but we might consider that, in fact, the war that Satan is raging with God and with His creation is an even more intense one than those in the films. It is also real. This fight for survival and for our eternities is going on at this moment. As the struggle is enjoined, Christ does ask His people to engage in it. However, it is in His approach to it where the story takes a dramatic turn from most of the fiction that we encounter. Christ does not grant us great physical powers and send us into the battle to crush our opponents. Rather, He tells us to develop hearts that love them and that pray for their salvation.

 

Christ sends us into the battle without human strength or skill. He tells us to counter oppressive might with a turned cheek of obedience to God. He has us stop arrows with His shield of faith and protect our hearts from fatal blows with God’s unequivocal righteousness. This is all counter intuitive, and it can make us feel very vulnerable and even helpless. That just might be our Lord’s point! We do have a superhero as our Savior, and He has already completed the victory that we desire. He doesn’t need us blindly and wildly attacking a vicious but defeated foe. Christ wants us to yield our selves to Him and to empty our hearts and minds of our impotent power. Then we are truly strong; for then, Christ with His love, grace, mercy, and righteousness stands prominently before evil, and reconciliation comes under the shadow of the all-mighty cross of Christ.

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weakness, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

2 Corinthians 12: 9

When Christ said this to Paul, He was stating something that is much bigger than just providing direction, for He was making a promise that is given to everyone who allows it to be true. Christ will take each of us from the place of our greatest inability and most apparent lack of knowledge, skill, and comfortability, and He will provide all of those things and much more to us so that we can bring real glory to God through the way that we live. Strength and comfort are found in the life-long process of acceptance of what I can not do and the one of turning to Christ Who will accomplish it all.

My challenge seems to be in found in my on-going attempts to be strong and capable. As I stain and sweat in trying to accomplish this, I keep putting myself out in front, which generally creates a less than desirable result. When I do operate out of my own capacity, my path through the day often becomes twisted and I struggle along refusing to accept the Lord’s generous offer of direction. Then I either abandon a worthy cause due to my own inherent lack of the strength and skill to keep moving forward, or I create inordinate stress in myself in order to accomplish something that may not be all that effective or worthy for the cause of Christ.

It is so much better to simply embrace the flaws and the aspects of myself that God is still working on and allow Christ full control over me. Then I can recognize my status as a person who is broken and needy. It is from this point of view that I am open to listening to Christ’s voice as He leads my efforts, and I am empowered by the unstoppable strength of the Lord. The last time that I checked, the Lord’s understanding, wisdom, and strength were far greater than mine; thus, I am at my strongest when I humbly accept Christ’s gracious gift.

And Christ said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weakness, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

2 Corinthians 12: 9

 

Do you ever wonder about the way that our culture seems to be fascinated with stories about people who possess remarkable skill, power, and dominance over what life throws at them? Along these same lines, look at the popularity of superheroes in books and films; we spend a lot of money on escaping from our reality into one where evil is defeated by someone who seems to have strength and capacity that comes from a source beyond our access or understanding. Thus, they are heroes for saving us, and since their ability to do the saving comes from a seemingly miraculous source, they are super. How odd; yet, just how natural this all seems.

 

We live in a world that is at least as perilous and as frightening as the ones where these characters of fiction dwell. We may not be faced by an angry god from some other dimension who decides to take his frustrations out on our planet, but we might consider that, in fact, the war that Satan is raging with God and with His Creation is an even more intense one than those in the films. It is also real. This fight for survival and for our eternities is going on at this moment. As the struggle is enjoined, Christ does ask His people to engage in it. However, it is in His approach to it where the story takes a dramatic turn from most of the fiction that we encounter. Christ does not grant us great physical powers and send us into the battle to crush our opponents. Rather, He tells us to develop hearts that love them and that pray for their salvation.

 

Christ sends us into the battle without human strength or skill. He tells us to counter oppressive might with a turned cheek of obedience to God. He has us stop arrows with His shield of faith and protect our hearts from fatal blows with God’s unequivocal righteousness. This is all counter intuitive, and it can make us feel very vulnerable and even helpless. That just might be our Lord’s point! We do have a superhero as our Savior, and He has already completed the victory that we desire. He doesn’t need us blindly and wildly attacking a vicious but defeated foe. Christ wants us to yield our selves to Him and to empty our hearts and minds of our impotent power. Then we are truly strong; for then, Christ with His love, grace, mercy, and righteousness stands prominently before evil, and reconciliation comes under the shadow of the all-mighty cross of Christ.

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weakness, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

2 Corinthians 12: 9

 

When Christ said this to Paul, He was stating something that is much bigger than just providing direction, for He was making a promise that is given to everyone who allows it to be true. Christ will take each of us from the place of our greatest  inability and most apparent lack of knowledge, skill, and comfortability, and He will provide all of those things and much more to us so that we can bring real glory to God through the way that we live. Strength and comfort are found in the life-long process of acceptance of what I can not do and the one of turning to Christ Who will accomplish it all.

 

My challenge seems to be in found in my on-going attempts to be strong and capable. As I stain and sweat in trying to accomplish this, I keep putting myself out in front which generally creates a less than desirable result. When I do operate out of my own capacity, my path through the day often becomes twisted and I struggle along refusing to accept the Lord’s generous offer of direction. Then I either abandon a worthy cause due to my own inherent lack of the strength and skill to keep moving forward, or I create inordinate stress in myself in order to accomplish something that may not be all that effective or worthy for the cause of Christ.

 

It is so much better to simply embrace the flaws and the aspects of myself that God is still working on and allow Christ full control over me. Then I can recognize my status as a person who is broken and needy. It is from this point of view that I am open to listening to Christ’s voice as He leads my efforts, and I am empowered by the unstoppable strength of the Lord. The last time that I checked, the Lord’s understanding, wisdom, and strength were far greater than mine; thus, I am at my strongest when I humbly accept Christ’s gracious gift.