Thankful for Our Weaknesses

Thankful for Our Weaknesses
By: J. B. Hixson, Ph.D.

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

The more I observe the Spirit of God moving among the people of God, the more convinced I am that God uses imperfect people. I am not thinking of people who are just a little rough around the edges or who have minor flaws. I am talking about those with major defects and blemishes that should render them useless for God’s kingdom. As I read through the Bible, I recognize that the men and women most often used in a glorious way for the Lord’s work are those whose lives have been molded and shaped by difficult experiences, even when those tough times have been self-inflicted.

Consider the following biblical examples. Noah was a drunk. Abraham was a liar. Jacob was a con man. Moses had a bad temper. Hosea married a prostitute. David was an adulterer. Solomon was a polygamist. The woman at the well was promiscuous. Sarah was too old. David was too young. Peter was overzealous, obstinate, and cowardly. Lazarus was dead. Miriam was a gossip. Jonah ran from God. Thomas lacked faith. Timothy had health problems. Jeremiah suffered from depression. So did David. Elijah got burned out. Martha was too busy. Mark was rejected. Moses was a murderer. So was David. So was Paul. By all accounts, there is no way God should have used any of these people. Yet, He did! What does that tell us? No matter what your flaws may be, you are in good company.

Let’s face it, we live in a rough world where Satan is the prince. Who among us can make it very far in this life without being tainted by the effects of sin? These effects may take on the form of failure, mistakes, tragedy, crisis, heartache, or other negative life experiences. Yet, rest assured, even the strongest among us is weak enough to stumble. It is precisely that principle that we must never forget. Jesus told Paul, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” God uses weak people. In God’s paradoxical plan, it is not the strong who make great warriors, it is the weak. Why? Because the weak are humble. The weak know their limitations. The weak understand what it means to depend on God. The weak are able to empathize with others who are also less than perfect. The weak are not prone to arrogance and self-aggrandizement.

Perhaps Jesus told Paul what He did because Paul was weak. His weaknesses were a daily struggle in his ministry. When we study Paul’s writings in the New Testament a frequent theme emerges—that of the spiritual struggle between good and evil that is waged every day in the hearts of believers. Paul describes his own personal weaknesses in various ways, but he always comes back to this basic challenge: walk in the strength and guidance of the Spirit, not in your own strength.

As we seek to find role models in Christianity today, maybe we have been looking in all the wrong places. Instead of pursuing those who have it all together, perhaps it is the weak who should be given a second look. After all, the “perfect” are ripe for a fall, but the flawed have already discovered what it means to be humbled and have learned to walk in that humility.
Have you thanked God for your weaknesses today? In your mind, run through the list of your biggest failures, mistakes, and flaws. Make it an honest indictment. Make it a list of accurate descriptions so unflattering that if others read it they would dismiss you as a lost cause. Then, thank God for that list. Because your list of flaws is really just a profile of credentials making you a ready vessel in God’s hands—if you will only give that list to Him and allow Him to use you in spite of your weaknesses.

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