Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Our True Strength

 Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12 v 9 - 10: "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

Today's gyms are filled with those who wish to build up their muscles and strengthen their bodies.  This is the world's level of being strong.  Weight lifters and body builders glorify physical strength however, in the verses above, we read how real strength comes to us.

Jesus told Paul that the first step in receiving strength is to acknowledge that His grace is sufficient for us.  What does this actually mean?

One of the interpretations of GRACE is God's Riches At Christ's Expense.  In Romans 8 we learn that we are more than conquerors.  A conqueror is one who goes out to win a battle and enjoy the spoils of that battle.  More than a conqueror means that the conqueror has given us the spoils.  Like a heavyweight boxer winning the title and a huge amount of money, then going home and giving that overflowing purse to his wife.  She is more than a conqueror!

We never went near that spiritual battle but we won a freedom that only those who have a  great personal relationship with Jesus Christ can understand.  A freedom so far above what so-called freedom fighters can ever imagine.

Christian freedom frees us from the darkness of this world to live in the Light of Jesus free of sin, guilt, bitterness, memories of hurts, feuds, violence, hate, death, fear and everything else.  If we have been set free by the Son of God we are free indeed.  We live by faith, absolute confidence, in Jesus.

If we could travel back in time and interview Mary Magdalene, Peter, John the Baptist, the disciples, everyone that Jesus healed, everyone set free of bondage to evil spirits, we would know what true freedom is.  Jesus says, My grace is sufficient for you. We rejoice in testimonies today of the miracles, healings and deliverances happening everywhere.  Jesus is alive in us to continue His ministry through His Body.

He continues, My strength is made perfect in weakness.  Jesus in us comes to His full power when we have no strength at all.  When we are weak and needy we cannot rely on our own abilities to help us.  That's when we cry out, Jesus help me!  And He does.

Paul then says, Most gladly will I rejoice in everything that completely weakens me, so that the power of Jesus Christ may rest upon me.  Every self-help book, program, or DVD just sailed into the bin.  Every way we build up our own strength keeps the full power of Jesus away from us.  It always a battle between self-will and His will.

Paul goes on to say that he takes pleasure in every desperate need, in horrible persecution, in being reproached, criticized or condemned, in every kind of distress for the sake of Jesus Christ, because when I am weak, then am I strong.  

It makes me wonder if the weakness that has hit the whole world through the pandemic, sickness, fatigue, loss, death could be used to identify with our powerlessness so that we call on Jesus for healing and salvation.  We saw great videos last year of people singing gospel songs like "Because He Lives" and kneeling in the streets crying for salvation.  

Weakness of the flesh and soul brings our spirit into full connection with the Spirit of God.  When the enemy comes in like a flood, God will lift up a standard.  His Son.  God sees the enemy preparing to attack us and when the battle is on and we are being buffeted by demons, we call on the name of Jesus and He rises up and the enemy flees away from the glory of the Risen Lord.  Our God cannot stop the battle but He is with us because He wants to defeat those demons.

The demons all knew Him when He was alive on Earth.  He forbade them to tell people who He was.  They were afraid of Him then......Have You come to send us back to Hell before the time? (Mark 5).  They are afraid of Him now.  They see Him in us and they tremble, hoping we don't launch His name at them!  Sadly, too few do.

James 4 says when you are under attack you should submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee.  Submit + resist = flee.  It's so simple.  I have known full blown alcoholics under heavy temptation who tried this and the craving left immediately.  The strength of Jesus met their weakness and they had the victory.

God has given us authority over all the power of the enemy, and nothing can by any means hurt us.  But we have to use it to be free.  If we read the manual on how to fix a broken car, even waving the manual at it will not get it fixed.  We have to apply the knowledge in that manual and then things change.

Our Bible is the same.  We have to read, understand and apply correctly to get results.  God says in Hosea, My people perish for lack of knowledge.  Ignorance is killing them.  Our strength comes when we are on our knees praying in faith to a Holy God.  When we are at our most vulnerable.  Unless we become like  little children we will not perceive the Kingdom of God.

A little child has no strength.  Our problem is that in our pride we must be strong and invincible.  We must be the hero and slay the Dragon.  Our flesh is no match for those things we cannot see causing our flesh to fail through diseases for which there is no cure.  Admit the weakness, call on Jesus, rebuke the devil and that demon will flee.  When we see how Jesus handles it we prefer to remain weak so that His strength outmanoeuvres the strategies of our enemy all the time.

Paul got that.  He no longer wore the costly priestly garments of the Pharisees, nor followed the Law and all the religious traditions.  That was his strength and authority back then, to throw Christians into prison or have them killed.  Now he discovered that the full power of God rested on him when he was being severely tempted, or persecuted.

Pastor Richard Wurmbrand behind the USSR Iron Curtain of Communism, was imprisoned for five years for preaching the gospel, and tortured to make him turn away from Jesus.  They had to keep changing the torturers because they all got saved and refused to continue.  Richard would pray for them and thank them for the torture for his faith in Jesus.  Weak, bleeding, wounded he broke them through love.  

We will never know this power if our ambition is fame, fortune and a fabulous lifestyle.  True wealth, true strength, is knowing Jesus and showing His love to the fallen world from our weakest position.  Blessed are the meek, the poor in spirit, for they shall see God.  We have to be empty of self, dead to self, to know the power of the Resurrection of Jesus.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, open our eyes to the majesty of Jesus Christ.  Teach us to submit as He submitted to You.  Show us how our strength is made perfect through weakness, the very opposite of what the world believes.  Renew our minds according to Your Word.  In Jesus' name. Amen.