2 Corinthians 12:9
It's easy to depend on Christ as my strength when I'm in the midst of a trial, but what about the times that I'm just being a slug? Is His power perfected in my weakness then? He is glorified in my life when my circumstances say there is no way, yet He makes a way. Can He be glorified in my life when my weakness of character says I will accomplish mediocrity? How can I boast and be thankful for those kinds of weaknesses? In this area, where I feel nothing but shame, God has been challenging my heart. The next verse goes on to say this:
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 12:10Yes, it is easy to delight and be thankful in hard times - those times when I know He is growing perseverance and building trust in my life. But I can't delight that I spent more time on facebook than in God's Word, that I spent an hour soaking in the bathtub instead of reading a bedtime story to the kids, or that I watched another episode of Doctor Who instead of catching up on laundry. This is my weakness. This inability to focus, this incessant pursuit of distractions, this is where I am truly weak. How can He be strong in this?
I am embarrassed that this is an area in which I am weak. I don't want to talk about it. But I am seeing discouraged moms around me who ache because they think they are the only one with children who fight, with a family that has suffered the pain that comes with pornography, with a messy house and sticky pencils in the couch cushions. God did not call us to pretend we had it all together. He didn't even call us to actually have it all together; that would negate our negate our need for Him. Instead, He called us to acknowledge our need for Him, to embrace His mercy, to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice. I can do that privately, but it doesn't help my sister in Christ if I pretend I never struggled.
Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,
but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.I have friends who have no idea what I'm talking about. They struggle against the habit of being busy, fighting their inner-nature to say "No" to over-activity. Some of us have an easier time than others in different areas of our lives. I don't tend to struggle with morality; God said no, so I don't. For others, this is a weak area that takes more than a shrug and an okay. I also have friends who struggle to gain weight. Ha! To me, that sounds like a wonderful problem to have, but to them it is a real problem. We all have our different areas and it's not always easy to imagine the other person's shoes. But chances are, if you are still reading, you continued because you identified with my use of the word "slug".
Let me clarify first that I know God is not putting His stamp of approval on my laziness. Rather, He's been revealing to me my need for His strength in this area. During this season, when I just want to focus on giving thanks to Him for His mercies and many blessings, He keeps interrupting my thoughts with these verses about my weakness. I am not okay with my weakness; if I were, I couldn't really consider it a weakness. But I know that it is. Rather than delighting that I have a weakness, I delight that He is strong where I am weak. He reminds me again and again not to bury myself in condemnation for my failings, but to embrace His Mercy and let Him be glorified in my life in this area.
When a person who struggles with their temper becomes a peacemaker, it is not to his glory, but to Christ's. When a person who struggles with greed becomes generous, it is not to his glory, but to Christ's. When a slug becomes diligent, it is not to her glory, but to Christ's.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.- Philippians 4:13
How can I do this thing? Through Him who strengthens me. Not through discovering how strong I am, but through discovering how strong He is.
It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.-Romans 9:16
I can strive and strive, berating myself when I fail, but if I were able to succeed through my strivings, it would be to my glory, not God's.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.-Romans 12:1
If my strivings don't get me there, then what can I do? I have to play some active part in changing this weakness, right? I come before Him penitent. I come to Him yielding.
He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,-Titus 3:5
I remember where my hope comes from. I remember that what I am really thankful for is His Mercy. I remember that I am renewed by Him.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.-Hebrews 4:16
It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.-2 Samuel 22:33
I remember that I am weak, but He is strong .
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.-Psalm 28:7
I remember the many times He has taught me trust Him in the hard times. I remember that I can trust Him in the easy (sometimes too easy) times.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.-Psalm 73:26
I remember that I may falter, but it is not my undoing. I may succeed, but it is not my success.
I remember to thank Him in my weakness, that He is making me Holy by the washing of the Word.