When you read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, you automatically feel confident in your weaknesses, right? You want to shout them to the world, don’t you? Not!
This idea of being content with our weaknesses and feeling strong when we are weak goes against our fleshly nature. Yet, we can’t help but sense the truths that bubble up when we read Paul’s words.
Let’s explore weaknesses for a few minutes in hopes of gaining understanding as to how we can gain victory over and find strength in them.
First, what causes us to feel weak? Lack of sleep and proper nourishment certainly make all of our weaknesses seem worse and even insurmountable. Discouragement, from others working against us or simply just from our circumstances, can also cause us to feel weak (Nehemiah 6:9; Jeremiah 38:4). Sin certainly opens the door to unnecessary weaknes (1 Corinthians 11:26-30), and our own thoughts can absolutely exacerbate any feelings of weakness (James 1:8; 1 John 1:8).
Second, what forms do weaknesses take? Because we are human, we all have physical weaknesses (Judges 16:7, 17; 2 Corinthians 11:30). Political weaknesses certainly exist (2 Samuel 3:1), leaving most of us feeling helpless with regard to state, national and world events. We can feel weak spiritually (Isaiah 35:3) and morally as well (2 Samuel 3:39).
What can we do when we feel weak? We can bear them together (Galatians 6:2), but we need to realize that others need to know about our struggles in order to be obedient to this scripture. We can also support each other by finding common ground in our weaknesses (Acts 20:35; 1 Corinthians 9:22) and by helping the afflicted (Romans 15:1). Finally, we can take pleasure in our weaknesses knowing that God uses them to teach us to rely on Him (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Now that we have a better understanding of weaknesses, how do we gain victory regardless of our weaknesses? We begin by refusing to use our weaknesses as excuses but rather look at them as opportunities to grow closer to and to be used by Christ. Most importantly, we realize that any victory comes only through Christ (2 Corinthians 13:3-4) by grace (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) through faith (Hebrews 11:33-34).
Notice that the word “feel” comes before weak in most instances. This is important to note because weakness is a feeling we have when we realize that we can’t do something because of some sort of perceived limitation. What we need to realize is that God has no limitations. When we rely on Him regardless of how we feel, we tap into a source of power that is truly limitless.
In addition to recognizing the role of feelings, we also need to recognize that we too often take on weaknesses not meant for us. Sometimes, we’re not just spinning our own plates, but we’ve taken on other’s plates as well. Not only that, but we keep spinning plates that God has meant for us to give away or to even break.
The point being that we need to make sure we’re not feeling weak where we’re meant to be strong and trying to be strong where we’re meant to be weak. God both created your gifts, abilities and strengths and allowed for your weaknesses to exist. Living in either extreme goes against God’s intention for your life.
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