Wednesday, January 28, 2009
What is strength? Webster defines strength as “Capacity for exertion or endurance” Where does it come from? Hardship? Awareness? Genetics? Training? As a young kid, I always associated strength with muscle, then as an “old kid” it was enduring physical pain. Now? Hmm, well I am learning now. Now is a time of learning. I am learning strength is in weakness, and weakness is in strength. I am learning the unfortunate reality of weakness that manifests thru pride which often times is inherited by strength. I am learning that a Christ given steadfast mentality is always the result of humility provided by a state of weakness. So where is the line drawn? How can I be strong without becoming weak? Sounds simple enough. In theory, sure. In practice, it has become the catalyst to the confusion that motivated this attempt to organize my thoughts. I find strength in many things. Working out. Heavy objects that I elevate then relegate, then elevate, then relegate. This seemingly tedious task of working my muscles to the point of controlled injury, brings me to a state of weakness. My muscle fibers in their weakened state, have literally been torn apart slightly creating small amounts of space between them. This is the reason my legs experience pain and weakness after a workout. I must endure the weakness, to gain strength. The gap in the muscle fibers must be filled with additional proteins. The body will utilize proteins in the blood stream to repair the gap to the best of it’s ability by creating additional muscle tissue. The extent of repair however is dependent on the amount of vital resources available in the blood stream. So it’s a two part process. Break the muscle down to the point of weakness then provide the body with the necessary resources to repair the tissue. True strength can only be found thru weakness! We must become weak to obtain strength. That is physical strength, what about mental, emotional and intellectual strength? Yes, now I see it is all exactly the same. To obtain any kind of strength, I must become weak in that area. How can anyone obtain more of anything, if they believe there is no room for growth? I must see my weakness, and proceed from the place of weakness. I looked up some passages from scripture in this regard and found the answer I was looking for in 2 Corinthians 12:9 :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.” Acknowledgement of weakness is really a lack of pride. Pride in our strength is the reason we limit our growth and prevents us from seeing our weakness, and is the very thing the makes us weak. Knowing that becoming weak can result in strength, how do I become weak? What is the emotional or mental equivalent to the Gym? How can I become weak so that I may grow? Difficult Times in Life make us weak, Trials. These are the times of enduring, the situations that create weakness, These are the times we must not only endure but rejoice knowing they are an opportunity for growth! James 1 verses 2-4 state the following … “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” This is the It! This is our gym, that will develop strength. Just like the gym, I must endure the weakness to gain strength. Knowing this, do I pray for struggle? I would not say that. I will pray for revelation. Revelation of Christ. Who He is, and what His purpose is in my life. I will follow Him, and in this, I may be led through some “Harsh Terrain” On the other hand I don’t believe this ‘Call to weakness’ is completely dependent on the occasional struggle in life. I believe this becomes a state of mind. Humility, dying to you is self, considering others greater. Weakness is not just the place you find you’re self after you lose your house through economic catastrophe. Even in times of prosperity we must strive to clench to a heart of weakness. We must be submissive, and soft. Maybe this is why giving is so important. True Giving is giving when you can’t spare what you give. True giving requires faith in the strength of Christ. This place of giving makes us weak, which will become the platform for strength.
In our weakness His strength is made perfect:
Well knowing where our weakness comes from, now, just like the muscle repair, we need to ingest the resource that will become the building blocks for strength. Christ! He is our strength, just as Paul has mentioned in the above verse. “So that Christ’s power may rest on me”. So in the spiritual case, it is not our own strength that is obtained but Christ’s. The more we endure our struggles, we become weak, and this weakness creates an openness in our spiritual muscles, which, if we want to become stronger, must be filled by Christ. 2 Corinthians 12:10 “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.” Jesus is the ultimate example of this both in weakness and in strength. God become flesh and lead a blameless life, He was perfect. Thus, perfect in weakness to the point of death, His life and sacrifice was the ultimate act of humility and weakness, which allowed for God’s power to be ultimate in him …2 Corinthians 13:4 For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God's power we will live with him to serve you. The more I learn about God, the more I realize how revolutionary this life is. While the rest of the world is advertising strength, Jesus suggests, weakness. Strength is not found in thy self where the capacity is low, but in Christ who is God incarnate and who has an infinite capacity for strength. So, there it is. The true origin of strength. Christ is my answer. Christ is always my answer.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
GODS WORD: BOLD
My Thoughts: Not Bold
2 Corinthians 1
1:3-4 …the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in ALL our troubles, SO that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
5-8 For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation;
(Paul is working for their salvation, His burden is that which will become the comfort and salvation of those he is talking to)
If we are comforted, it is for your comfort,
(Paul’s comfort is the result of their current spiritual condition & “salvation status”)
which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.
(If salvation and “comfort” is obtained by the recipients of Paul’s letter, their agenda changes, then they see and become burdened by the same burden as Paul)
And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.
(Once you get our burden, you to will understand our Satisfaction… For others?)
12-14 Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to Gods grace.
(While in the world, They have conducted themselves appropriately and have approached their relationship with holiness and sincerity that is from God. They have a clear conscience because of the trust in God and the power of God that has been granted to them because of their faith.)
For we do not write you anything you cannot read or understand. And I hope that, as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus.
(Seems Paul is trying to say he is blessed by them as he hopes they feel blessed as well?)
18-24 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “no” (Law) For the Son of God, Jesus Chris, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not Yes” and “No”, but in him it has always been “Yes” For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
(Christ is the Yes to ALL of the promises of God, Christ is the fulfillment of Promises made by God)
Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
(Gods Spirit in our hearts, and his anointed power is the reason we stand firm in Christ, even our faith is the result of Gods power, all glory to God Amen!)
I call God as my witness that I was in order to spare you that I did not return to Corinth. Not that we lord it over your faith, but we work with you for your joy, because it is by faith you stand firm.