One of the ways to get the attention of our clients—especially our male clients—is to tell them that we are going to pray and ask God to make them weak. You may be thinking the same thing that our clients would be thinking, “Why in the world would I want to pray that?” The answer—it is the only way to have true strength! Let us explain.
Self-Sufficiency and Pride
As we walk through this life and face many difficult things that come our way, we develop ways to deal with things—ways to survive. Many times we learn survival in our childhood–even before the age of five. We grow up before we are supposed to. We become strong, self-sufficient or self-reliant. The problem is that this kind of strength is rooted in our own flesh and not in the power of God living within us. If we learn to function from this place, we will have little need for help from others—including God. Although we might say we need others and God, the way we live and interact in relationships speaks the opposite. In fact, we may have a very difficult time identifying that we even have needs.
Although the world—and even the western church at times—applauds the strong, self-sufficient, and independent individual, such a person may actually be functioning in opposition to God and His will. It becomes a form of pride–not the overtly arrogant puffed-up pride, but the type of pride that says, “I can handle it myself” . . . “I can make it” . . . “I don’t need anyone else’s help (maybe not even God’s).”
An Accurate Picture of Weakness
One of our favorite Scriptures that we share all the time in counseling is the interchange between Paul and the Lord from 2 Cor. 12:9-10: The Lord says to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” Christ spoke this at a time when Paul was asking repeatedly for relief from a recurring struggle of some type (his “thorn” experience). In response, Paul basically says, “Okay then. I get it. So even in my struggles, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” He continues, “For Christ’s sake, I will delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Few would define Paul as being a “weakling” in his Christian life, yet he invited and embraced godly weakness so that the fullness of God’s power could be at work in him. He knew that he could not make it in his own strength. He could not be self-reliant. He could not be independent. He could not fulfill the calling on his life with anything less than the perfect power of God—His “dunamis” or “dynamite power” (the meaning of that word in Greek). Paul knew he had to surrender—Paul leaned into God, embraced his weakness and received the all-sufficient gift of grace.
Paul did it. Can you?
Father, as I reflect on the gift of your Son Jesus this Christmas, I see the ultimate example of embracing weakness. He entered our world in vulnerability and weakness in order to fulfill His calling to save all who would respond. And from this place of weakness, He ultimately manifested the fulness of His glory and strength. I so need to experience your strength at work in me. Please help me embrace a godly weakness and vulnerability so I can live from this place of trusting you with me.
Until next week . . .
NOTE: If you or someone you know is in need of finding a safe place for emotional and/or spiritual healing and restoration, please contact us at The Father’s Heart Intensive Christian Counseling Ministry through our web site at www.fathersheart.com or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
We are located in the North Georgia Mountains in a retreat-oriented environment and have established opportunities for ministry to individuals or couples for time periods as little as a few hours to as long as five days.