God loves to use weak people. In reality if He wishes to use people to do His work on earth He does not have much choice, for we all have imperfections: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. The important thing is not whether or not we have weaknesses, but what we do with them. If we deny, excuse or hide them, we prevent God from doing what He desires in and through us. As he wants to use our strengths for His glory, so He wants to use our weaknesses.
The Bible is full of examples of weak people that God used to accomplish great things. Paul had a “thorn in his flesh,” Peter was outspoken and unfaithful, John had a bad temper. David was an adulterer, Thomas doubted Jesus. Yet all of these men were used greatly for God’s glory.
Rick Warren teaches from Paul’s life how we are to deal with our weaknesses.
- Admit my weaknesses. I need to admit not only that I have weaknesses, but admit specific weaknesses. When I am honest with myself I can learn how God wants to use my weaknesses.
- Be content with my weaknesses. By being content with my weaknesses I am telling God that I trust that He knows what is best for me. My weaknesses will increase my dependence on God. They can also cause me to draw closer to other believers as I share my weaknesses with them and help others who share the same weaknesses.
- Honestly share my weaknesses. Ministry begins with vulnerability. I need to share my failures, feelings, frustrations and fears so I can be an example of humility to others. By admitting my weaknesses I build credibility with others.
- Glory in your weaknesses. I need to see my weaknesses as a “trophy of grace” that shows just how incredible and faithful God has been in working in my life.
God can turn my weaknesses intro strengths. The very things that bother, embarrass and humiliate me most can be used by God for His glory.
Warren quotes the Bible twenty three times using eight translations and paraphrases. One of these quotes caught my attention. In speaking about how God uses human weakness, he quotes 1 Corinthians 1:27 which says, “God purposely chose…what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful.” This passage, though, does not speak about God using weak people to do His will and to prove His power to the world. It speaks about God sending His Son, who was God, in weak, human flesh. It speaks of Jesus, not of sinful men.
Point to Ponder
Today’s point to ponder is “God works best when I admit my weakness.” Honestly, I am not really sure what I think about today’s topic. I fully agree that God can turn my weaknesses into strengths and that He can use them for His glory. I am not so convinced, though, that I need to admit these weaknesses to myself, God and other people in order for Him to use them. I know that I should always be taking inventory of who I am and the things I can do and this requires me to pay attention to both my strengths and weaknesses. But won’t God use my weaknesses regardless of whether I admit them to Him or not? Maybe admitting them to Him is important as a process of surrender, saying to God that I acknowledge this weakness and am willing to let Him use it as He sees fit, even though I may not be comfortable with that.
One concern I had with this section is that Warren did not draw a firm line between weakness and sin. If I have a weakness that involves something God forbids, like lust, is that something I can be content with and glory in? Was David content with the fact that He had a lustful heart and glory in that? No, he was repentant and I am sure He often asked God to remove that weakness from Him. I think there are certain weaknesses that God provides to test and sharpen us, much like Moses being too timid to speak in front of Pharaoh. There are other weaknesses that are not given by God, like David’s lustful heart. It seems that in this chapter Warren may be confusing admitting weakness with confessing sin.
Tomorrow’s topic is Made For A Mission