Sometimes I get so down on myself that I think God must be really disappointed. My human limitations and weaknesses are just overwhelming to the point I can’t imagine he would be anything but upset with me. Yet, this is not what scripture tells me. Hebrews 4:15 tells me that Jesus understands our weaknesses. In 2 Cor. 12, Paul talks about delighting in his weaknesses, because when he is weak, then he is strong. It doesn’t seem to make any sense in human terms, but it seems that our human limitations are part of God’s way of keeping us humble and dependent on him. The Lord delights in us, and rewards the humble with his salvation and deliverance (Ps. 149:4). I think it would be a lot harder to be humble if I were strong on my own.
So as I sit here day by day moaning and groaning about my shortcomings, I realize should be glorying in them instead, knowing that they are part of his good plan to teach me to cling to him. These weaknesses only become become a problem when 1) I don’t recognize them, or 2) when I make them bigger than God. My tendency is to do the latter, so I have to learn to stop the self-condemnation and use them as motivation to run to him. I need to remember that scripture is filled with flawed people who were used mightily by God. They didn’t suddenly become strong one day, and move into ministry. Instead, their weaknesses were evident even in the midst of their their service. When called by God, Moses argued that he was too flawed, as did Gideon. Elijah panicked and ran off in fear after calling down fire from heaven and defeating the prophets of Baal. David committed adultery and murder, yet repented, and was called a man after God’s own heart. Paul spoke of a thorn in the flesh that God would not take away so that he would not become conceited about the revelations he had received. When he asked God to take away that thorn, God’s response was “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). Paul went on to say that he would boast in his weaknesses, because they were part of God’s good plan.
I have to admit I haven’t learned to boast in my weaknesses yet. Even worse, I imagine that’s probably a pride issue. As much as I’d like to think I’ve overcome all vestiges of ego, I don’t think it will ever leave me completely on this side of heaven. As I sit here contemplating my frailties, and my tendency to beat myself up, I recognize that it’s because I realize that I am not enough. I am not a spiritual giant. When people look to you for guidance, it’s easy to see yourself as some sort of authority or fount of wisdom. The truth is that without him we are nothing, and can do nothing (Jn. 15:5), and that is the reason weaknesses are good. They remind us that it is his strength, and not our own, that is as necessary as breath. I can glory in my weakness, because I realize it drives me to depend on the One who made and loves me.
It really is a wonderful thing that I am not enough! It is wonderful, because if I can receive that truth humbly, it drives me to complete and utter dependence on him. When I am weak, then I am strong, but when I abide in him nothing is impossible (Jn. 15:7). It unleashes his power, and miracles begin to happen. So today, I choose to glory in my limitations and frailties. I will move my focus from self to God, and I know that there I will find the power to overcome all obstacles.
Oh dear Lord, thank you so much for being faithful even when I fail. Thank you for using my weakness to drive me to my knees in desperation. I need you more than anything! I was created to cling to you (Jer. 33:11). Help me to see that dependence as a good thing, and do not to let me pride tell me otherwise. Lord I truly do “need Thee every hour!” Bless me now as I come to you. Amen