Is it ok to be weak? And if so, is it ok if we are perceived as weak by those watching us? It is something that has been on my mind lately and while I don’t have all of the answers I do believe that God’s Word has some things to say about the idea of weakness.
Before we look to God’s Word I think it is important that we define weakness. For the purposes of this blog post weakness will be defined as “unable to accomplish something or not having the necessary resources to do something in our own strength or under or own power”. Think of an old-fashioned steam locomotive travelling up a long incline and not having enough fuel (coal, wood or oil, generally) to reach the top. The train slows and then is at risk of stopping and going backwards unless more fuel is found to power up the steam engine.
With that definition in mind, let’s ask our original question again: Is it ok to be weak and is it ok if we are perceived as weak by those who are watching us? The answer is absolutely yes, on both accounts!
Why is this? Because despite what the world and society tells us, self-sufficiency is a lie. In the temporal realm even the strongest of us is vulnerable to disease, to injury, to mental and physical deterioration and eventually, to death. Spiritually speaking, without divine intervention, we are in even worse shape. Because of Sin we are all born spiritually dead and without the washing and regeneration provided by the Holy Spirit at the time of salvation we are all bound for eternal separation from God in a place called Hell. In other words, to rely completely on self in this life is to face death alone while headed straight for Hell. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of anything worse than that!
Perhaps we need to rephrase our original question at this point. Based on this discussion it would seem that in actuality, everyone is weak but some do not choose to acknowledge it and in fact do everything in their power to hide it. Maybe what we should be asking is, “Is it ok for me to acknowledge my weakness and to not try to hide it or pretend like it doesn’t exist?” The answer is still “yes” but by rephrasing the question like this I believe we get a little bit closer to God’s truth about our self-sufficiency or lack thereof.
In the spiritual realm, unless we come to the place where we acknowledge our weakness and inability to save ourselves then we will never turn to God and ask Him for His salvation. Once we’ve done that we can also begin to take God’s point of view about our physical bodies and mental capacity and see that no matter how physically fit or intelligent we might be, we are a long, long way from being perfect and from being like God intended us to be.
The Apostle Paul, looking as it his own condition stated: “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 Corinthians 12:9) Paul, who was responsible for writing most of what we call the New Testament and was a missionary to so many people in the early church was still able to realistically see himself for what he was; a sinner, saved by grace. When he prayed to God about it the Lord answered Him and he recorded that answer in 2 Corinthians 2:9. For Paul, his weakness was an opportunity for the power of Christ to show through him and so it is with us today.
I believe that anyone who spends any amount of time with us or who knows us on more than just a passing basis should see that we attribute our hope and strength to the Lord. The people around us should know that our provision comes from God and that only by His grace are we able to stand. Our own strength should not be what shows forth when people look on us from the outside and our attitude should be “less about me and more about Jesus”.
This is a difficult concept. Making our lives about something other than ourselves is not in our nature. Even when we get to the place where we acknowledge that we need a savior and begin to understand how utterly non self-sufficient we actually are it can be a long time before we begin to show forth Jesus to others. If this is where you are right now then I would say to you don’t give up and don’t stop striving. Spiritual maturity takes time and effort but comes with the absolute best reward possible; constant fellowship with the Heavenly Father who loves us so very much.
As for me, I’m still learning to embrace my weakness. The various problems and trials that I face seem to be mystifying at times but they do keep me on my knees asking the Lord for deliverance and for strength. And if that’s what it takes for the power of Christ to rest upon me then so be it, let them come.