There Is Power In Your Weakness
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 12:1-14
Sunday 30th April 2017
As we approach another Family Convention month, I want to seize this moment to strengthen each of us with this message titled: ‘There Is Power In Your Weakness’.
Here is our foundation scripture in 2 Corinthians 12:1-10, which reads: ‘This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord. I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows. Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell. That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong’ (NLT).
Many people, including some Christians have erroneously magnified their weaknesses above their strengths, and this has resulted in a truncation of their God-designed destinies. A good reference point in scriptures is Simon Peter, who decided to return to fishing, after the crucifixion of Christ. He concluded that the ministry days were over, and it was safe to return to his old occupation. In the same way, we may have doubts about our abilities to succeed in our family life, finances, spiritual development, education and so much more. Our foundation scripture in 2 Corinthians 12 provide a good backdrop and a focal point in understanding and applying the insights that we can derive from relying on God’s strength in tackling our weaknesses.
This episode of Apostle Paul’s life, which we have privy to, is a good illustration of what God can do with our weakness. In the church, we’ve been erroneously led to believe that God cannot use imperfect people and many of us shy away from taking our place in the Kingdom because of this. St. Paul had an incredible experience – He was caught up into Paradise and heard amazing things that were so difficult to express through words, and which no human was allowed to describe. To keep Paul humble, he was given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan. Here was St. Paul weakness, which God utilized for His glory, by making it clear that His strength is perfect in his weakness.
Like St. Paul, we may also have instances in our lives, in which we’ve concluded that the strength necessary to thrive in life is eluding us; we acknowledge our limitations instead of focusing on God. In such instances, may God help us to confess these words like Paul: ‘when I am weak, then I am strong’.
This is because God’s strength works best and it is magnified, when we have come to the end of our human efforts. In fact, God specialises in revealing His strength through our weaknesses. Once we understand this truth, it becomes easier to live our lives from a standpoint of divine strength. Notice that St. Paul used the word ‘when’. This implies that along the journey of life, we will encounter our personal weaknesses and limitations. On such occasions, we must be ready to exchange our weaknesses for God’s strength. In submitting our weaknesses to God, His strength is released. Here is Ephesians 6:10: ‘A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power’ (NLT). If we are going to be distinguished in life, it will necessitate understanding how to depend on God’s strength. In other words, those who make impact in life are those who have understood the importance of turning their weaknesses into strength, with God’s help.
Here is the truth: we all have weaknesses. The word ‘weakness’ is a Greek word called ‘Astheneia’ which means feebleness of mind and body. The weakness of the body could be further described as, frailty and sickness. In the soul, it could be described as the lack of understanding of a particular subject, lack of wisdom, of skill in speaking and human management. It could also mean the lack of strength to restraint corrupt desire or to bear trials and troubles.
Here are three things to do to turn our weaknesses into strength:
(a) Acknowledge your weaknesses before God: There is nothing noble about pretending or being hypocritical before God. It is important that we present our weaknesses to God. Tell Him your struggles. Self-deception is highest form of deception and as Christians we must desist from it. Each of us must be ready to put aside the desire to put up a show before God, trying to be what we are not. Instead, tell God of your inadequacies and frustrations. Then confess your total dependency on Him. For God is looking for vessels who recognise their limitations, and also acknowledge God’s immeasurable strength. 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 reads: ‘Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God’ (NLT). The weaknesses that we experience, qualifies us as God’s choice candidates. Hence, we must never write ourselves off.
There are several bible characters whose weaknesses were turned around into strength, by God. People like Moses in Exodus 4, Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1 and Gideon in Judges 6. We have stories of Tamar, Rahab, Ruth – women who did not naturally qualify to be included in the genealogy of Christ, but experienced God’s strength beyond their natural limitations. God uses ordinary for extraordinary accomplishments. So, St Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; ‘Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong’.
(b) Focus on God’s strength and not on your weakness: Here is a rendition of King David’s conclusion about God. Acts 2:24-25: ‘King David said this about him: ‘I see that the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and my tongue shouts his praises! My body rests in hope’. Psalm 16:8 reiterates this further: ‘I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me’. Your focus determines your direction and ultimately your outcome in life.
(c) Draw strength from God: Ephesians 6:10 reads: ‘In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides]’ (AMP). The story of King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20 is a good example of a man who depended solely on God for the strength needed to overcome the army that came against him and the nation of Israel. He acknowledged his inadequacy and God turned his weakness into strength and ultimate victory. We all can learn from this story. Our weaknesses can be turned upside down to become the strength from God, when we depend on Him for our deliverance, strength and victory in life.
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