Finding Power in Weakness

“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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

We have been considering hope this week and how God’s hope prevails over all others. In Him we find peace and power to live a transformed life, but power arrives at unusual times.

The Bible often makes startling statements that get our attention. They often sound like contradictions. For example, we can be exalted through humility:

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:10).

Similarly, we have been made free in order to serve (Romans 6:18). Such expressions are called paradoxes, or statements that seem to self-contradict. Consider the verse that heads this page: Power is made perfect in weakness. How can that be? In life, strength seems to bring more strength, but spiritual laws often run counter to natural laws. How can we explain finding power through weakness?

1. When we admit our weakness, we can appeal to God for help.
The so-called strong of this life congratulate themselves on their achievements. They will work these exploits in most conversations they have. But “weak” people, or the so-called weak, know that true strength comes through admitting to God our utter reliance on Him.

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

We recognize that God helps the humble, but often debases the proud:

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11).

2. God will not work through proud people.
The proud of this world compile elaborate life résumés, parading every accomplishment that can be remotely linked to them. They even take credit for another’s work, but God works mightily through His people who look only to Him and care only that God gets the glory. Sometimes God humbles His own people so they will trust Him more. In fact, God humbles us throughout life so that we learn to rely on His powerful resources and not our own.

The power God brings “is mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4). The world cannot match God’s work, however hard they try. We demonstrate wisdom when we rely on God to help us in our time of need.

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