Tag Archives: weakness

Embracing Weakness

Each time he [the Lord] 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.
2 Corinthians 12:9, NLT*

Humanly-speaking, wouldn’t the Apostle Paul have been more effective for the Lord without his limiting “thorn”? Whatever it was, it tormented him and left him weak. It wasn’t a good thing, nor desirable, but God used it for a good purpose – to keep Paul humbly dependent on Him.

Maybe Paul would have seemed more successful in the short term, reaching more people, covering more territory, but would his life and ministry have had such a lasting effect? Might people have been distracted from Christ by the brilliance of the messenger? Would pride have ruined him?

God was so good to give Paul what He knew was necessary, even though it was painful. His goodness helped Paul wrestle through it to understand its purpose. By the time he wrote today’s verse, Paul saw its value. He had pleaded three times for release. Did God tell him to stop asking, or was that when he received perspective?

What do we see as a limitation? A liability or weakness that holds us back? “If it wasn’t for _________, I’d be so much more useful to God.”

God crafted each of us the way we are, and He has plans for us. Even if we’ve taken a detour and feel that our “thorn” is self-inflicted, God can use us as – and where – we are.

Just as Paul learned to embrace the things that kept him weak, knowing they kept him dependent on God’s power, we can do the same, as God helps us to do so. It won’t be easy, but even here His grace is enough.

Instead of “doing things for God,” we’ll be positioned for God to work through us. After all, it’s not about stroking our pride. It’s about showing the world who He is.

Holy, powerful, and sovereign God, You have chosen to work through the weak, to show what only You can do. Sometimes this hurts us, but please help us entrust ourselves to You. In our weakness and in our apparent strength, protect us from the snare of pride and from self-reliance. Help us find our sufficiency and our value in You, surrendered to Your purposes and living for Your glory.

Casting Crowns’ song, “In Me,” shows where our true strength lies.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Help for a Monday

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.

Don’t assume that you know it all.

Proverbs 3:5-7a, MSG*

This was my devotional reading on Monday in the NIV**, but when I saw how The Message phrases it, with that “listen in everything/everywhere” that has been encouraging me lately, I knew that was the version to use here.

Monday… definitely one of those days I longed to crawl back into bed. I wasn’t sick, just painfully sluggish in body and mind.

It was also a day full of commitments.

These verses from Proverbs are old friends to me, and still verse 5 brought a new insight this time:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

It brought back recent advice I’d heard to dwell on the positives: to say “I’m great, thanks” instead of “I’m so tired”. The idea was to talk oneself into a better outlook, not do deny serious trouble, to choose good over bad when both are present.

A question popped up in my spirit: Am I going to believe my mental groaning of “I can’t do this”—or am I going to believe God’s promise that His grace is enough to strengthen my weakness?

Denial is another form of lying, and trying to think things better because we want God to agree with us is shaky ground.

But for me, it’s more a case of settling for less, of listening to my own understanding of how I feel instead of trusting God to be enough to make a difference. Sure, I’m tired, but am I really as tired as I say I am? As I’ve come to believe?

Today’s Wednesday… how did Monday play out? I was slower than normal, but everything got done that needed doing. The biscuits I made to go with supper even turned out fine!

Father, You are faithful to Your promises and loving towards all You have made. Thank You for Your grace. Thanks for reminding me to trust Your perspective instead of mine. Thanks for times of weakness that remind us to trust Your strength.

I’m glad feeling weak can remind me of God’s strength. Here’s a vintage Amy Grant song (written by Gary Chapman & Michael W Smith) with a similar perspective: “I Love a Lonely Day”.

*The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.

**New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Christoverts, Unite

…be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:1b, NIV*

I’m writing this on Monday, after a three day writers’ conference and a Sunday packed with church, Fathers’ Day celebrations for my husband and for our fathers—and an extended family barbecue on my husband’s side that included relatives from out of town. Some of these folks I’ve met before, some are new to me.

My husband’s uncle died last week, and we’ve gathered to support the immediate family and to work through our individual and corporate loss. Today we’ll be together for visitation and another meal. Tomorrow will be the funeral. And then the hard part will come: learning to live without a man who loved well.

I am not a people person. Groups drain my energy. But it’s not about me. I need to be a support and a comfort, especially these next few days.

As I prayed this morning and committed this crowded day to God, I reminded myself that He is my strength. When I opened my Bible, what did I see but this verse from Paul’s letter to Timothy? I’d highlighted it in the past, and it jumped right out at me in living orange.

He is so good to each one of us.

I’ve been thinking that as Christians we don’t have to be limited and labelled as introvert or extrovert.

I will find my identity from now on as a Christovert. Since I’m inventing the term, I’ll set the pronunciation: the ‘i’ is short, like in ‘Christian’, not long as in ‘Christ’.

Father, thank You for being so near to us, so ready to encourage each of us in ways perhaps only we will recognize as from You. Thank You that we don’t have to rely on ourselves. Help us draw our strength from You. Help us to be Christoverts.

Our song this week is “The Solid Rock (My Hope is Built on Nothing Less)”, presented here by Amazing Worship:

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Weak is Okay… When Your God is Strong

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV*

Monday came with a low-level anxiety. Too many deadlines looming too near. I felt unsettled, needed comfort, reassurance. An anchor.

I found a quiet corner with my Bible, to spend some time with God. Wished I could just be with Him, instead of feeling so weak.

A new thought surprised me: don’t regret the weakness, be glad it’s pointing me to my Strength. Rest in God, draw what’s needed for each moment as it comes, be glad of the reminder to do this. Forgetting only leads to launching out alone, which tends to mean missing the mark.

I don’t have to be strong in myself. God never asks that. He asks me to recognize my need and His bounty, and to love to run to Him.

Father, I’m so thankful that in my weakness Your strength shines, and that we’ll navigate today by Your plan. It will be enough. Today I will be neither introvert nor extrovert, but Christovert.

He also gave me this song for the morning. What a God, so good on so many levels. Here are my favourites, the newsboys, with “I’ll Be,” from their album Born Again. May it bless you today.

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Escape Route

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
1 Corinthians 10:13, NIV*

For some reason, I always think of this verse in terms of temptations to do things: steal, lie, cheat, whatever. When the opportunity presents itself, God will make a way that might involve a literal running away from it.

I’ve been reading Joanna Weaver’s excellent book, Having a Mary Spirit, and in one chapter she shares the example of a woman who couldn’t stop drinking too much with her friends but who believed this verse.

God promised to make a way… but she couldn’t see it. So, smart and desperate as she was, she asked Him to show her. Once she recognized it, she was ready to seize it!

I believe the promise too, and rely on it, but this idea of asking Him to show me the escape route caught my attention. (Guess that makes me less than smart and less aware of my desperation!)

As this realization hit me, so did another: this works for temptations of attitude and self-focus too!

We tend to believe the lie that what happens inside us just “is” and while we may pray for release we think it’s up to God to change us. But as He retrains our minds, we do have a part to play. We have to cooperate, or to use Paul’s words, we have to bear what we can and to stand.

And we have to be patient with ourselves, as God is, when we mess up. We need to get up and go another round… or 20… until the fight is won.

Lately I’ve noticed that when the temptation comes, often so does a verse or part of a song: something to help me keep focus. When I’ve chosen the good thoughts, the bad faded away. I just hadn’t recognized these as escape routes!

Father, this is a big deal for me, because most of my temptations are those inner ones. Thank You for the promise of a way out. You know our weakness, and You are faithful to help us. I believe You want to strengthen us as we learn to rely on You. Help me do that. Help me recognize the mental temptations that come, and help me see—and take—the way out!

Stay Strong” from the newsboys is a great reminder to stay on track.

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5, NIV*

“I can’t do this without You, LORD.”

Many of us pray this way regularly, about hard tasks or scary appointments, or just about hauling our exhausted selves out of bed to face another day.

It’s a fine prayer, and it’s scriptural. Jesus warned us, “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5, NIV)

The key is where we put the emphasis. If we focus on the difficulty “I can’t do this” it weighs us down. If we focus on Jesus, our hope and strength “I can’t do this without You” it reminds us where our confidence lies.

Acknowledging our weakness keeps us from getting into messes. Focusing there could keep us from doing anything at all. Let our weaknesses remind us that Jesus offers His strength. Our confidence is in Him, and He is enough.

Our song for the week is Casting Crowns’ “In Me.”

*New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.