Weakness... God's Strength
We are weak in many ways.
- One of the weaknesses we tend to underestimate the seriousness of:
temptation and sin - Matthew 26:41 (also Mark 14:38); Romans 6:19.
But God helps us; he provides the strength we need.
- Jesus understands our weaknesses; he experienced them himself,
so he knows how to help us!
- He even died for us, because we were too weak (helpless) to deliver
ourselves from sin - Romans 5:6.
- [Note that the Law couldn't help us, because it was too weak -
- The Holy Spirit helps us, as we pray - Romans 8:26.
- Don't forget Romans 8:28, the guarantee that God will use all things
to accomplish good, in the lives of those who love him. This applies
in spite of our weaknesses, and because of his strength.
- When we go through trials, God will strengthen us.
- God does not guarantee that we will escape from trials, but
that he will strengthen us through them - 1 Corinthians 10:13.
- God can use our weakness to display his glory.
- His "weakness" is greater than our greatest strength - 1 Corinthians
- He can use weak things (for example, us!) to shame the strong - 1
- [Again, don't forget Romans 8:28!]
So how should we respond?
- We should be willing to acknowledge our weaknesses - to accept
the fact that they exist, and then to live by God's strength - 2 Corinthians
- By doing this, God's strength, power and life can be seen in our lives.
- It is like light shining out of darkness - 2 Corinthians 4:6. Also
Ephesians 5:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:5.
- It is like a treasure in a clay jar - attention goes to the
treasure, not to the container - 2 Corinthians 4:7.
- We should be willing to accept others who are "weak in faith."
- An example - Romans 14:1-2 (illustrating the principle).
- Don't do anything that will cause such a person to fall into sin -
- Bear with their weaknesses; don't be preoccupied with your "right"
to please yourself - Romans 15:1.
- We should be willing to associate with weakness, for the sake
of others - and we should do it voluntarily, as an expression of love, not
by force or coercion.
- Help those who are weak - Acts 20:35.
- Associate with those who are "lowly" - Romans 12:16.
- When we do this, we are simply living-out the truth that we are not
superior to them. We are admitting the fact that our strength comes from
God, and not from our own selves.
- Accepting our weakness does not mean that we use
weakness as an excuse for sin!
- Romans 6:19. (Also v. 23 - Those who choose to remain slaves to sin
- When we think there is a need to brag, we should focus
people's attention on the truth about ourselves: We are weak. Then God's
strength will be seen for what it truly is.
- Example - 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.
- There is a type of weakness we should avoid (example).
- Abraham was not "weak in faith" - Romans 4:19.
- This phrase "weak in faith" is similar to what is found in Romans
14:1-2 (mentioned in a previous section), but it has a somewhat
different focus. The context makes all the difference!
A weak person who's example we should follow: Paul.
- See 1 Corinthians 2:3; 4:10 (contrasted to the Corinthians,
who considered themselves to be quite strong); 2 Corinthians 11:29 (he
shared the weakness of others); 11:30; 12:5.
- It's not Paul's weakness that we should imitate, but his
willingness to be honest about it, and his willingness to trust God (who
could then display the greatness of his own power - 2 Corinthians 12:9).
- Note that there are certain types of weakness he did not have -
because he trusted God, the same way we can, if we are willing.
Something else you can do:
Evaluate yourself - your attitudes and actions.
- Do you believe the various facts
stated in these verses? If so, what impact do they have on the
way you live and interact with other people? If they don't have
any impact on the way you live and interact with other people,
what are you going to do about it?
- How have you responded to the commands
found in the various verses (each understood within its own
context)? If you have not been obeying the commands, what are
you going to do about it?
- You may also want to look for verses which make
reference to the opposite concepts - such as arrogance,
self-sufficiency, strength (when in reference to someone who
thinks he doesn't need to rely on God), etc. See what the Scriptures say
about such attitudes.
Dennis Hinks © 2004