1 Corinthians 1: 25-31
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God – that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’
Picking sports teams in school was never something I looked forward to. I wasn't particularly good at any sport, plus I had asthma, a combination which almost certainly guaranteed that I would be one of the last to be selected from among my peers. The best players were always chosen first. No one wanted a weak player on their side.
I'm so glad that God uses different criteria when choosing us to be part of His family. Look at what Paul writes:
"...God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him." (vv. 27-31)
God, in His selection process, is especially drawn to weakness, to those who from a worldly perspective seem unimpressive, to those who are conscious of their inadequacies and inabilities. He loves to display His mighty power through them, to show off His strength in them, to shine His goodness and glory through their weakness and wounds.
Your weakness is not an embarrassment to God. Rather it is an invitation to Him to show Himself strong on your behalf. People who are conscious of their weakness most often realise their total and absolute dependence on God. They lean completely on Him. If He doesn't come through for them, it's simply not going to happen. They are also the most likely to offer praise and worship to Him for anything good that happens rather than boast about their own achievements. They know they're not that good in their own abilities and gifting.
Unfortunately, our tendency is often to think: "God could never use me. I'm too weak. I'm not ____ (good/educated/gifted/mature/spiritual/attractive/confident/organised etc.) enough. However, we need to understand that God’s power comes on us, not at our best, but at our weakest. He fills us with His strength when we feel most fragile. He partners with us in our pain.
On Sunday past Alan spoke about the late John Wimber, the father and founder of the Vineyard movement of churches. In his prime, John was a physically large and imposing figure and great power had always accompanied his ministry. However, in his latter days, when his body was ravaged with cancer, his weight plummeted and he became incredibly frail and weak. Nevertheless, he didn't slow down his schedule as he knew his days were numbered and he wanted to make the most of whatever time he had left. In his weak, fragile, deteriorating physical condition, God still showed up with incredible power when John ministered, he demonstrated His all-surpassing strength through John's frailty.
John once wrote this: "How do we learn to lead according to the New Testament model of personal dependence on the Master? Unlike the managerial and professional models of leadership, the key is not mastering certain skills or accumulating knowledge. The key is humility - humble character and humble dependence on the Lord. We must understand that humble servant leadership entails weakness."
He understood that our gift to the world is not our brilliance and strength, but rather it's our brokenness and weakness. The thing we're trying to hide is the very thing He's wanting to use. So we can pray and pray for God to remove our weakness. However, rather than remove it, He will release His power in our weakness and will use us in spite of it. That way it's clear to us, and everyone else, that the power has come from Him.
Is there an area of your life that you’ve been covering over or hiding because you feel weak and vulnerable? Why not invite God’s power to come and fill that weakness, that He would use it for you to relate to and reach others who have had similar experiences. Your biggest weakness could become your greatest witness to His awesome power.