Monday, February 20, 2017

Strengths and Weaknesses- Opportunities or Threats

UV 2205/10000 Strengths and Weaknesses-Opportunities or Threats
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12 v 9

God sees our weaknesses, limitations, difficulties, shortcomings as great opportunities to pour in His strength, resources, power, mercy and grace. Even as the Good Samaritan poured in the wine and the oil into the wounds of the waylaid traveller, the Lord pours in His grace and power. In so doing, He heals the hurts, turns the weaknesses into strengths, completes or finishes what is incomplete in our faith. In most organisations whether business or governmental, the leaders and managers try to leverage only on strengths. They fight shy of acknowledging or owning weaknesses. They believe that only the strengths of people are assets for the organisation. They believe that the strengths will enable them to best utilise the opportunities. They think that weaknesses are threats. But the manger leader or manager uses prayer, the Word and faith as levers to acknowledge and transform weaknesses and limitations into opportunities for the grace and power of God to be revealed. A famine or shortage is often needed to prove the abundance of the provision of the Lord. Ill health is needed to prove His healing hand. Crisis and distress are needed to prove the reality of His comfort, eternal hope and assurance.

If the Israelites had horses and chariots like the Egyptians, Jehovah would not have caused the Red Sea to part to allow them safe passage. If the Israelites were not in bondage in Egypt, the Lord would not have raised a leader in Moses to speak for them, rescue them and lead them into Israel. Likewise, if we are not weak and sinful, we would not need a Saviour. It does not mean that we should revel or wallow in sin, poverty, misery but that we should feel a deep need to be redeemed. We should know deep in our hearts that whatever we have been through, whatever crisis we are facing, the grace of the Lord is able to bring us through. Paul wrote that “when I am weak, then I am strong.” It implies that when we are physically, intellectually, emotionally, socially, financially strong, our dependence or trust in the Lord is limited but when we are feeling down and low emotionally, physically, socially, professionally, then we are spiritually strong for we are at these moments in time most dependent on the Lord’s grace to pull us through. In such times, we realize that any breakthrough or solution that we have is not due to natural reasons or due to our abilities or resources but purely due to the power of Christ at work in us. This is the reason the Lord cannot use proud, self - satisfied, complacent persons but He can use people who feel broken, defeated and needy.

Confessing our weaknesses is not then just about our sins or shortcomings, it is about acknowledging our limitations and failures in different areas of our lives. We are therefore not “crack pots” for Christ but the “cracked pots” of Christ. He will pour His grace, power, wisdom, resources into the cracks to fill, heal, deliver, bless, equip, multiply us. The weakness that Moses saw in his slowness of speech, his stammer and stutter, his obvious lack of eloquence, the Lord saw not as a stumbling block but as an asset and opportunity. His lost self esteem, his brokenness after having to spend forty years from his family and people, from the riches of Pharaoh’s palace was a sure foundation for godly leadership. Likewise, St Paul was stated to be weak and ineffective in speech unlike a Greek believer called Apollo skilled in rhetoric and eloquent but Paul’s leadership and influence is global and lasting unlike Apollo’s. We no longer then need to be proud of our strengths or ashamed of our weaknesses but be glad about our weaknesses and humble about our strengths. Anything that we take pride in as our natural advantage, our source of strength is a weakness in the sight of the Lord. Of course, when we surrender both strengths and weaknesses to the Lord, He will further perfect our strengths and turn our weaknesses into strengths.

Prateep V Philip

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