Strength out of Weakness
2 Cor 12:7-10 NKJV: And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Hebrews 11:32-34 NKJV: And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
These scriptures reveal to us that we can get strength of out of weakness.
Paul says ‘I take pleasure in infirmities’..for when I am weak, then I am strong.’
In other words, weaknesses and difficulties are an opportunity to get more strength from God. Some of the heroes of faith listed in Heb. 11 used their faith to get strength out of weaknesses.
We are to use infirmities, reproaches, needs, persecutions, distresses as stepping stones to perfection in Christ:
James 1:2-5 NKJV: My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
Notice that inside the trial we are to ask God for wisdom concerning the trial so we can overcome it.
Furthermore, it is instructive to note that it is not the trials that perfect us. No! Rather it is the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit that we use to overcome the trials that perfect us:
1 John 2:5 NKJV: But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him.
Psalms 19:7 NKJV: The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
1 Corinthians 6:11 NKJV: But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
Ephesians 5:26-28 NKJV: that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
However, it is the weaknesses and difficulties that we face that make us acutely conscious of our weaknesses and so of our dire need for God’s wisdom and power, motivating us to seek God with greater diligence to overcome the afflictions.
So, while afflictions in themselves alone do not teach us anything, they are necessary to force us to pay more attention and diligence to what the Holy Spirit will want to teach us through the Word.
Psalms 119:71 NKJV: It is good for me that I have been afflicted, That I may learn Your statutes.
Because of the deceptive and distractive satanic power in the air that attacks our minds, wills, emotions and bodies (Eph. 2.2-3), we do not seek God as diligently as we should when we are not faced with an affliction or difficulty.
This is why we, like Christ, only learn higher levels of obedience by suffering higher levels of affliction or temptations:
Hebrews 5:8 NKJV: though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
In our article next week, we will see how to learn from God while suffering in a trial or affliction.