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Feeling weak is good for you

posted 8 Oct 2015, 10:41 by Bert Weenink

The name Brené Brown probably means nothing to most of you. She is a very successful American ‘self-help’ guru. She is earning mega bucks as she has found a new way to help people becoming strong. Her new method is to convince her clients that they shouldn’t be afraid of making themselves vulnerable or  feeling weak, because that, according to Brown, is the way that leads to greater strength.

It surprised me greatly that so many in the U.S. are so enthralled with this lady’s teaching as what she is presenting is not new at all! We find the same emphasis on the blessing of weakness in God’s Word, the Bible. That doesn’t surprise me, as God understood our needs long before this lady in America. After all, He is our Creator and He made us to depend on Him.

When the apostle Paul struggled with a particular problem that made him feel very weak, he pleaded with God to take that problem away. God didn’t answer that prayer, but instead He said to the apostle: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

The apostle responded to that in his own radical way by saying: “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 12:9-10)

It shouldn’t surprise us that God got there long before Brené Brown, but the challenge is how we respond to weaknesses, insults,  hardships and difficulties. Most people hate the idea of appearing weak – it is embarrassing—we all long to be strong. Whether it’s physical might, emotional courage, or mental strength – at work, at home, at church – we want to be known for our successes, and we want our failures and weaknesses hidden far from sight.

How often do we drop into conversation something that demonstrates our value, our ability, our godliness? How often do we avoid telling others the things of which we are ashamed, the things that make us look fragile, unsuccessful, or even sinful?

The thing is, appearing weak makes us vulnerable. Everyone admires the person who is strong and capable and being admired is a comfortable place to be.

We persuade ourselves that being a “good” Christian means being productive, enthusiastic, and taking life in our stride. It’s not to struggle with, to find life difficult, to feel weak and fragile.

All these are weaknesses, and weaknesses should be left in the shadows, relegated to the realm of private prayer.

But that’s not what Paul thinks, when he writes: “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses” (2 Cor 12:9).

Did you hear that? He doesn’t just say that we must put up with our weaknesses or accept them, but we are to gladly boast about our weaknesses.

Why would Paul do that? How is that even possible?

The clue lies in the sentence before, when the Lord promises him this: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

It’s an astonishing thought. A revolutionary truth: God’s power is made perfect in weakness. God’s power will be at work and seen and experienced in our weakness.

Let’s join the apostle Paul in the human weakness revolution and say it out loud: “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!”

 

Pastor Bert

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