Friday, September 24, 2010

God Uses Us Because of Our Weaknesses









Blessings in Disguise


By Abraham Israel




Many times we get frustrated with our weaknesses. Still at other times we become hopeless because of our indwelling weaknesses. A few other times we go to the extent of living in despair and dread when we think of these weaknesses.


Do you know that Jesus became a man just like us in the weakness of humanity not only in order to know and symphathize for us, but in order to be a compassionate priest of God to help us in all our weaknesses in our daily life (Heb 4:15).


Many times as we fall in to the same weakness of our flesh, we immediately think that we have lost our faith and we are no more a Christian because we are doing the same sin again and again.


C.S. Lewis’ in Mere Christianity says:


“A live body is not one that never gets hurt, but one that to some extent can repair itself. In the same way a Christian is not a man who never goes wrong, but a man who is enabled to repent, and pick himself up and begin over again after each stumble—because the Christ-life is inside him, repairing him all the time, enabling him to repeat (to some degree) the kind of voluntary death which Christ Himself carried out.”


Sin always hurts. But the life of God which resides within us heals the hurts and reapairs itself, as it is the nature and potential attributes of the God-life that works within us because we are His dear children (1 John 3:8-9; 5:11-12). We should understand that falling down and gettings hurt is not the end of our faith life, it is just a process where we learn to live with the weaknesses. We pick ourselves and repent by looking towards God saying, "Lord, I am sorry for doing it again and then we thank Him for His faithfullness for having forgiven us the moment we said sorry (1 John 1:9)." Then we ask for Him to empower us to make us die the voluntary death to our soulish life which Christ has already acheived for us (2 Cor 4:10), which we also carry within us inorder to see the power of His victorious resurrection through us and be known by us (Phil 3:10-11).



When Paul says '[I] carry in my body the dying of Jesus.' In other words it means that "If I welcome the cross and see that it has already put to death the flesh of sinful nature inside me (Rom 6:6, 10-11), then I find myself able to say no to its passion and strong desire that works to deny me from fullfilling the will and destiny that God has for my life (Rom 6:17-19)." 


A.W. Tozer beautifully says: "The new cross does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect... Christ calls men to carry a cross; we call them to have fun in His name... We want to be saved but we insist Christ do all the dying. No cross for us, no dethronement, no dying. We remain king within the little kingdom of Mansoul and wear our tinsel crown with all the pride of a Caesar; but we doom ourselves to shadows and weakness and spiritual sterility." It is one thing to believe to be saved from hell fire, but another thing to take up our cross and live the superabundant life of Jesus on earth as it is heaven. 


If we do not understand to say no to all the weaknesses of our soulish fleshy life, we will never come to live the abundant life that God has given to us through Jesus Christ (John 10:10). It is not in our natural strength to say no to all fleshly passion and desires that consumes us most of the time, but it is in the dunamis power of God that is within our new spirit-man which can make it possible under the direction and guidance of the Spirit (1 John 4:4; Rom 8:16).    


Many of us feel inadequate and not worthy to serve God after we fall in to our besetting weaknesses. We allow ourselves to think and say to ourselves with this so called unworthy-mindset and say to Abba God like the Lost Prodigal Son, "18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, 19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’.... 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’" (Luke 15:18-19, 21).


But never forget that it is our Heavenly Abba's goodness that draws us towards him in repentance and that too before we could reach Him (Rom 2:4). The moment we feel sorry and walk toward our Heavenly Father, He runs towards us and reaches us before we could ever reach for Him. He then kisses us with His Presence and embraces us after we repent and come towards Him each time after we fall in to sin nature and run away from Him (Luke 15:20).


He not only accepts us, but he gives us a heavenly party of righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit each time we come back to Him (Rom 14:17), and then He puts a signet ring of authority to us through already accepting us "in the beloved" (Luke 10:19; Eph 1:6), which makes us rebuke the demonic influences that has made us to sin (Luke 15:22-23). Finally the devil flees away, the sorrow that lasted for a night would have fled away to bring the joy of sunshine in our spiritual walk with God (James 4:7). Our mourining turns to morning, what a joy (Ps 30:5).


Never forget that God does not use us inspite of our weakness, but because of our weakness. The weaknesses in us makes us not to lean on our own strength but the strength of the Lord. When Apostle Paul cried out to God to remove the fleshly soulish and physical weakness from him (1 Cor 9:27; Rom 7:16-17; Gal 4:13), Our Lord Jesus said to him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in [your] weakness." (2 Cor 12:9). In other words it is like God saying, "I know what your weaknesses are, I do not want to take it away because you cannot see my power operate in you and through you unless it is there. So use my empowerment to overcome it as a conqueror when ever you are tempted to give in to it or fall in to it, and above all don't feel like a failure because you are really a sucessful winner with Me because of your weaknesses."


Just think about all the people whom God used in the times past, Adam was a failure (Gen 3:9-12, 17-19), Noah was a drunk (Gen 9:20-24), Abraham was too old (Gen 17:16-17; 21:2-5), Isaac was a daydreamer (Gen 24:63), Jacob was a liar (Gen 27:12, 19-24), Leah was ugly (Gen 29:17), Joseph was abused (Gen 37:24-36; 39:7-20), Moses had a stuttering problem (Exod 4:10), Gideon was afraid (Jud 6:11, 13, 15, 27), Sampson had long hair and was a womanizer (Jud 13:3-5, 24; 16:1-4), Rahab was a prostitute (Jos 2:1), Jeremiah and Timothy were too young (Jer 1:6-7; 1 Tim 4:12), David had an affair and was a murderer (2 Sam 11:3-4, 14-15), Elijah was suicidal (1 Kings 19:4), Isaiah preached naked (Isaiah 20:2-3), Jonah ran from God (Jonah 1:3), Naomi was a widow (Ruth 1:1-3, 5-22), Job went bankrupt (Job 1:20-21), John the Baptist ate bugs (Matt 3:4), Peter denied Christ (Matt 26:69-75), The Disciples fell asleep while praying (Matt 26:36-44), Martha worried about everything (Luke 10:40-41), The Samaritan woman was divorced, more than once (John 4:16-19), Zaccheus was too small (Luke 19:3), Paul was too religious (Phil 3:4-6; Acts 8:1; Acts 23:6; Galatians 1:13-14; 1 Timothy 1:15-16), Timothy had an ulcer (1 Tim 5:23), Lazarus was dead (John 11:17-37)...AND above all Jesus had no comeliness or beauty that we should desire him (Isaiah 53:2)! All these people were chosen and used because they were weak in themselves but strong in God whom they trusted with all their heart, soul, mind and strength.


The next time you feel like God can't use you, just remember that all of these weak people whom we saw God use right through the Bible were really used because they were weak. God is not searching for people who have it in them to do great works for Him, but he is really on the look out for those who are weak enough to cling on to Him desperately as a baby tries to hold on to its parents. God is not impressed with greatness and talents as the world sees it, but God is impressed always with the hopeless who cries for help like a child and clings on to Him in utter helplessness. He sees great potential in all who find nothing but weakness and hopelessness with their own resources. One of the greatest pioneering missionary of the past centuries Hudson Taylor said, "God uses men who are weak and feeble enough to lean on Him." Yes indeed, God truly uses weak men to lean on Him and as a result do mighty exploits for Him. 


Charles Spurgeon, who was called as the prince of preachers, said it beautifully, "When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord, then is he clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. When sin is seen and felt it has received its death blow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it. 


Spurgeon continues, "Sin mourned and confessed, however black and foul, shall never shut a man out from the Lord Jesus. Whosoever cometh unto Him, He will in no wise cast out. Though dishonest as the thief, though unchaste as the woman who was a sinner, though fierce as Saul of Tarsus, though cruel as Manasseh, though rebellious as the prodigal, the great heart of love will look upon the man who feels himself to have no soundness in him, and will pronounce him clean, when he trusts in Jesus crucified. Come to Him, then, poor heavy-laden sinner, Come needy, come guilty, come loathsome and bare; You can't come too filthy--come just as you are."


Because our Lord is on the look out for people who are weak and small in their own eyes like a Gideon who threshed wheat in the winepress because of the fear of the enemies who were strong according to the worlds standard (Judges 6:11-14), we have hope who see ourselves as wretched and weak in our own eyes. Actually because God is sending us apsotolically in to the world to affect it with His power, very soon we will come to realise that we are strong in God because of all our weakness and not inspite of it. One of these days our very weaknesses might become a new song in our mouth with the blessed Lyrics, "9 ....Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor 12:9-10). When the world hears such songs they might mock, but we who have come to the Lord seeking refuge will rise up in His glory and power to shine forth as 'Apostolics in Christ' of our generation.


We need constant encounter with God like Jacob had, time after time in each season's of our life to realise that we are indeed weak. If the Lord had not touched the thigh of Jacob to dislocate it in order for him to limp, he would never have trusted God's supernatural ability to protect, preserve and prosper him or be blessed by God Almighty to become a 'Israel' which means 'Prince with God' (Gen 32:24-29)


Our weakness in us transforms us from being a 'liar' Jacob to Israel the 'Prince of God' (Gen 32:28). The realisation of our weakness and our inability to please God by our own strength will always precede our transformation from "glory to glory" (2 Cor 12:9-10; Rom 12:1-2; 2 Cor 3:18).


Conclusion:


"Weaknesses! How we dread and fear them; how we allow it to take us out of His glorious way! 
But the Master never planned that we should fall beneath their sway. 
Paul made weaknesses serve him, made them glorify his Lord;
He boasted in his weaknesses till he could say, filled to full with His power today; 
He turned each weaknesses into blessing as he boldly preached the Word eachday. 
'These things turned to my advantage,' this old warrior oft would say. 
'For our good they work together,' though they seem to shroud the day." 
         





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