Who doesn’t appreciate the story of the First Avenger, Captain America. Here is a man named Steve Rogers. On the outside, there’s nothing of value that could be used by our military. He is rejected over and over as he attempts to volunteer to fight Hitler. Time and again, the army only sees the weakness visible to the outside. However, it is that weakness that makes his inner character shine that much greater. And it is that inner character that makes him the perfect candidate for the experiment to make a super soldier. His inner character shown brightly because of its contrast to the outward weakness.
Paul repeats Jesus’ words to him saying, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9) Paul is not saying we should somehow pretend to be weak or attempt to enhance or over emphasis our weakness. On the contrary. Paul just finished all the reasons he could boast if he chose to. Paul is talking about real human weakness. The kind of weakness where we know if it were up to us, we would fail. Because then we have to rely on the Spirit within instead of ourselves.
There’s an old saying, ‘Pray like it depends on God and work like it work like it depends on you’. My problem with that saying is that if we ever work like it depends on us, we will face one of two problems. First, we could fall into the trap of believing we have what it takes to accomplish the goal. When we do that, we stop relying upon the Spirit and believe we can do it. Second, we could realize we don’t have what it takes, but since we’re working as if it depends on us, we stop to believe it can be achieved at all. Neither of these is OK.
Instead, I believe we should ‘Pray like it depends on God and work like you believe it.’ It still starts with prayer, but since we know our own weakness, we stay firmly planted in the knowledge that in our weakness, He is strong. If we believe it depends on Him, then we will know that “All things are possible for one who believes.” (Mark 9:23)
So don’t hide away from your weakness, but don’t brag about it either. Embrace it for what it is, a part of the character that God made in you. Recognize the area(s) of your weakness and know that if you rely upon Him in those areas, then His greatness shines even brighter.
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