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Is it true that only the strong survive? Do you have to be tough and have it all together to encounter God? Does God want you to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and then you can experience Him?
In God’s Kingdom
The surprising answer is NO, not in God’s kingdom. When you are weak, you are in an ideal position to experience God. Because when you’re weak, you begin to die to self and come to a point where you know you can do nothing in your strength. You become desperate for the presence of God. See also Experiencing God’s Presence for additional information.
When I speak of being weak, I’m not talking about sins, but rather trials and tribulations, a thorn in the flesh such as the Apostle Paul endured, health issues, things of that nature. These are situations or circumstances beyond your control.
And in these circumstances, you may feel like God can’t use you because of all these issues in your life, but this is where God needs you to be exactly. He can use you and your circumstances to testify to a God who uses people regardless of the situation they find themselves in — actually, it makes you a better candidate for God to use you.
But, at first glance, these don’t sound like appealing attributes, do they? If I was describing someone, I might choose things strong, bold, having an awesome job title, and put together. But God, who calls you to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might, does not call you to be strong in yourself, but strong in the Lord. You get your strength from His empowering strength. It comes from Him and Him alone, not by anything you can muster up.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (Eph. 6:10).
Oh the wonders that when you’re weak, then you’re strong. How is that for a backward perspective compared to the world? The world tells you that only the strong supposedly survive according to human wisdom. The world usually doesn’t find much use for you if you’re weak. But glory be to God, the burden of feeling that you need to be strong in yourself or appear strong is lifted and put on the Lord in God’s kingdom. “His For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:30). Your usefulness is never determined by your weakness.
When you’re weak, God is able to manifest His presence in your life when you acknowledge your weakness in yourself and dependence on Him. You get to experience more of Him — because in your weakness He shows up in strength.
Are you feeling weak? Then you are in the right position for where God wants you to be.
In writing to the Corinthians, Paul was giving a final warning to them for the third time. They must have been asking for proof that Christ was speaking to him. And Paul was saying this is it, this is my last warning, and he gave this word to the church. “For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God” (2 Cor. 13:4). Paul was depending on the power of God to address and deal with them. His power didn’t rest on his own abilities.
Further, you have a Savior who was weak, lowly in spirit, and meek. This is encouraging that Christ emulated those very qualities that you need to as well in order to experience more of God. Paul wanted to emulate Christ and His weakness came in the form of a thorn in the flesh. He wrote that after he prayed 3 times for this thorn to be removed, this is how God answered:
“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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9).
The pressure is off that you need to be strong or appear strong. Because when you are weak, God is able to abound more in power.
What are Some Ways to Become Weak to Encounter God?
(1) Lay Down Your Pride
And embrace humility. Come before God with a humble and contrite spirit. Acknowledge that without Him you can do nothing. Even when it appears that you can — apart from Jesus — you can do nothing of kingdom value. These are dead works when you it’s in your own strength and apart from Christ. But when you acknowledge your weakness, you’re saying “Lord, in my own strength and power, I can do nothing, help!”
(2) Remove Disbelief
And believe the impossible. Sometimes you can get in the way of what God wants to do and be overcome by doubt. You disbelieve that God can work through you because of your weakness or circumstances. Believe that the Lord can work in and through you because of your weakness rather than in spite of your weakness. Power and strength comes from the Holy Spirit in you. Ask God to open your spiritual eyes and you can see how God is at work even in ordinary, every day circumstances to help your unbelief.
(3) Remember the Patriarchs
Because you see throughout the Bible that weak vessels were used extraordinarily by God. When remembering the patriarchs of the Bible, it helps to build your faith and encourage you to depend on God. For example, Moses, the man God used to set His people free from Egypt. Moses didn’t even want to speak on behalf of God before Pharaoh because He didn’t speak well, he acknowledged his weakness. Despite his limitations, God said he would help him to speak. Moses still only saw his weakness so God ended up using his brother, Aaron, to speak on his behalf. Even though Moses lacked the trust that God would help him to speak, God still used Moses mightily through God’s strength regardless of Moses’ weaknesses.
(4) Depend on God Through Prayer
As Jesus was constantly praying to His Father. He epitomized praying without ceasing and is our perfect model. Constantly pray to God through adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication. You know where your power source is because of His life, death, and resurrection, Jesus is our intercessor. We have access to the Father and the prayers of the saints are like a sweet aroma to God (Rev. 5:8). It also helps to pray the Word. Donald S. Whitney’s Book is a great source to pray back God’s word in Praying the Bible.
(5) Boast in God Rather Than Self
Because the world can encourage people to look to themselves as the source of their accomplishments. But it is always God’s grace whether you acknowledge it or not.
“For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” (1 Cor. 4:7).
God gave every person, created in God’s image, talents and gifts. Encountering God through weakness is where He wants you to be. Not in your own self-sufficiency, but in the sufficiency through Christ. He wants you to boast in Him rather than yourself.
The power of God is made manifest through Christians who are weak in Him. Christ purchased this on cross. If you are weak, then you are strong in the Lord!
How has God used your weakness for His glory and empowered you with His strength?