"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 weakness, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
I recently acquired a membership to the YMCA....(insert singing of the popular disco song here complete with hand and body motions). After moving from Derby, it was no longer feasible to use the rec center there to work out so I decided to join the "Y". As most people usually do, i felt good about joining a health club and was excited to transform this body of mine into a demolition, fear-striking, awesome machine. Anyone snickering at this point is free to stop reading my article and go read the children's section.
I put a plan in place and began to put together my workout routines. I wrote out the machines and weights i wanted to use, how many sets and repetitions i was planning on doing. I even added a little yoga and cardio just to mix things up. I had this great plan put together. And so with that, I headed to the gym. Of course, most normal people will walk in and be intimidated by the massive "muscle heads" that you will see in the gym. It's easy to be scared out of the gym because you feel like you may never look that way or lift as much weight as they do. But I have been working out long enough to know that everyone is different and I may not be some huge bodybuilder, but I still have a responsibility to take care of myself physically.
I jump on the weights and start my workout. I lift the weights, push the weights, pull the weights, and everything inbetween. An hour later, I finish my workout with a little cardio and some running. Follow that up with a little stretching and then it's home for a protein shake and a shower. I actually left the "Y" feeling great. I felt like a teenager again. I was as light as a feather. I thought I could run 5 miles if I had to. That is..... until i woke up the next morning.
As I limped out of bed searching desperately for the Icy Hot, I felt as thought I had been hit by a Mack truck. This was not the youthfulness I was feeling the night before. I felt as though I was a 99 year old man. What happened. Lifting the milk out of the fridge for my cereal was painful. I could barely grab a kleenex. And I realized in this moment, I am a lot weaker than I thought.
I think the same is true for my faith and the rest of my life. Sometimes I think I am God's gift to the world and sometimes I think I have my life all figured out. Truth is, the only one that has it all figured out is God. Truth is, i am weak. I fall short. I don't have it all figured out. I can't even make it through a day without sinning in some way or another. I like to think I am strong but deep down, I know I am weak. I just can't do it.
For some reason, I have always thought weakness was a bad thing. It's one of the reasons I was motivated to go to the gym in the first place. It's one of the reasons I have strive to have all the answers in my ministry. It's one of the reasons I fail to compromise with my wife because I think I am right. It's one of the reasons I am not real with people because I need to come across as strong. But weakness is a good thing.
Weakness just proves our need for Christ. I can't do it all. I need someone that can. And so when I am weak, Christ proves his strength through me. I may not be the best youth pastor in the world and no one will ever really know my name. I may be just a guy doing ministry in a church, but Christ is going to use me and what I do to carry out big things. He is going to make his name great and famous and I get to be a part of his plan. When I act like I am strong, Christ can use me because I try to do it myself. I don't feel like I need him. But when I admit my weaknesses, Christ picks me up and does so much more than I could ever imagine.
Weakness is not a bad thing. It's a good thing. And I for one am going to make sure that much like Paul, I will boast of my weaknesses and call out to Christ because he is sufficient. I may not be able to lift a ton of weight but that's okay because I know God who carries the world in his hand. I may not be the smartest man alive but I know God who gave man the ability to think and create. I may not live the best life but I know Jesus Christ who came and lived the perfect life. I may not be able to stop my sin all the time but I know Jesus Christ who died for my sin and took this weak body and made it strong.
Don't ever be afraid to admit you are weak. In fact, embrace it and boast of it. Because where we are weak, Christ is strong. Now, if you don't mind, I am going to buy a truck load of Icy Hot. See you in the gym.