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The Power of Weakness

• Brenda Salter-McNeil

God’s kingdom is paradoxical. The paradox is displayed in how God uses our weaknesses to make us strong. In spite of our weaknesses, God uses us to bring about His kingdom. The things in our lives that we see as weaknesses or stumbling blocks are actually opportunities for God to reveal to us his power and strength in us and through us.

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God’s kingdom is paradoxical. The paradox is displayed in how God uses our weaknesses to make us strong. In spite of our weaknesses, God uses us to bring about His kingdom. The things in our lives that we see as weaknesses or stumbling blocks are actually opportunities for God to reveal to us his power and strength in us and through us.

By contrast, we gravitate towards those who display power, prestige, intelligence and importance. Society functions not in weaknesses, but in abilities and strengths. It is very difficult to believe that there is power in weakness. However, God’s kingdom is an upside-down kingdom. God’s love and grace is present to those who humble themselves and allow God to use their weaknesses to display His power.

Paul, the author of 2 Corinthians, speaks about his experience with how God had been working in his life. In the eyes of the world, Paul was a very powerful and important person. He was previously a Pharisee, one who was very knowledgeable about the ways of God. He was respected and revered in his community. Yet, Paul mentions that he did not boast in these strengths.

God had left weaknesses in Paul’s life to keep him humble. These weaknesses helped him to not be conceited in the strengths he had. He was humbled, and this allowed him to rely upon God for strength. He now boasted in his weaknesses, rather than in his strengths.

Like the apostle Paul, God desires for us to be humble in attitude and boast not in our strengths, but in our weaknesses. Humility comes about by the realization that we are not perfect and have weaknesses and faults. It is through humility that God can use our imperfections to bring about change. God gets all the glory, because we realize that it was not by our own strength that the change took place.

God uses our weakness to bring about change in our individual lives, but he also does this corporately with the Church. God’s desire for the church today is to be a body of believers who impact this world and bring about change. Change does not come about by our boastings or the strengths which we possess. Rather, God desires to use our humility of heart and weaknesses to bring about transformation, healing and reconciliation. At the heart of this is reconciliation; between us and God, and reconciliation with one another. If we are to be a people who desire to be reconciled with one another we have to have a posture of humility and allow God to use our weakness for his purposes.

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Topics: Humility, Power, Reconciliation


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Focus Scripture:

  • 2 Corinthians 12:3-10

    And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell. I will boast about someone like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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 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.

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