“And so His people are still taught to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. When He strengthens them, it is not by taking away the sense of feebleness, and giving in its place the feeling of strength. By no means. But in a very wonderful way leaving and even increasing the sense of utter impotence, He gives them along with it the consciousness of strength in Him. ‘We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us.” The feebleness and the strength are side by side; as the one grows, the other too, until they understand the saying, ‘When I am weak, then am I strong; I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on me.’” (Murray, Andrew. Abide in Christ. Fort Washington: Christian Literature Crusade, 1968, p. 158.)
This is another one of those counter-intuitive passages in the Bible. Who would choose weakness over strength? And so un-American. We tend to see the grace of God as an enhancing my weakness, rather than as strength in itself expressed through my weakness.
It has struck me that Paul’s language is “When I am weak, then I am strong.” The when and the then are concurrent, not consecutive. It is in the place of felt weakness that I become more fully aware of the grace of Christ enabling and energizing power to guide my thoughts, my words, and my steps.
Where have you been trying to be strong? How might you lean into Christ’s power instead?
This is a wonderful reminder that “our total weakness and His complete strength must co-exist together”!