Saturday, February 4, 2012

How God's strength is shown in your weakness.

"Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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 Corinthians 12:7-10

Why would a God who loves you allow you to be tempted? Seems contradictory when you don't think about it very hard, doesn't it? Paul uses the term "thorn in my flesh" to describe the temptations that pass his mind from time to time, and are an irritating distraction to him. He says he pleaded with God to take them away. Have you ever done that? Asked God, "God, why I am still battling this ridiculous thing!?! I mean, really, haven't we been down this road before, and wouldn't this be a great time for you to just take this away from me once and for all so I can focus solely on you?" There are times when we pray to God to remove something from our lives and He does and we experience a freedom from the thing. There are other times, though, when we must learn to work through, trusting God to be God, and clinging to our faith in spite of the "weakness", whatever that weakness may be.

Maybe it's a temptation that irritates you, maybe it's an illness, a hardship that you can't seem to get away from...whatever it is for you, it is seen as a weakness. If you compared yourself to others who are not battling with the same struggle, you might think that a pity party is in order. After all, why would a God who loves you want you to be weak?

Here's your's not about you. If it was about YOU, then YOU would have everything you could ever want all the time. You would never struggle and everyone would marvel at how amazingly set apart YOU are for being so perfect. YOU are NOT supposed to be perfect, as frustrating as that may seem. Perfection is not something you can attain on this side of Heaven. In fact, if you are weak, but seeking God for your strength, that is when God uses you the most. How could you ever possibly relate to anyone else if you had everything together all the time? God makes it clear that his will for all of his believers is to love those around them, helping the oppressed, the widowed, the fatherless. If you had everything you could ever want all the time, you would not be able to relate to those who need help. Everyone would look at you and say, "Well, of course she is happy! She has it all!" God is not looking for perfect people to reveal himself through, because that person would be ineffective in carrying His message of love to the rest of the world. The truth is when we acknowledge and admit our weakness, THAT is when we can say, "I may be weak but guess what...God is strong." God loves to reveal Himself through the "weak", the "less than perfect", "damaged", "broken" people in the world because these are the very people who are humble enough for Him to be revealed through.
"The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
(Psalm 34:18)
Learn to lean on God for your strength, cry out to Him, rest in His love for you, trust Him to protect you, and find your strength in Him. When you do, you will come out on the other side of your time of weakness saying, "My God is an awesome God, and He is my strength!!!" If your weakness is a temptation, we know from 2 Peter that there will never be a temptation in our lives that is so strong that we cannot possibly overcome it.
"His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires." (2 Peter 1:3-4)
What a great testimony you will have, if only you choose to trust God with your weaknesses looking to Him and His promises to you during those times, and there WILL be blessings around the corner if you just seek Him, and cling to His promises in your life. Someday you will see clearly how God was at work, but until then you press on in faith that He IS at work, and speak out of that faith as God brings it to your heart. He will move on your faith. May you be blessed in abundance as you live out, and speak out of, your faith.

You are loved.

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