Lent Day 7: When I Am Weak, Then I Am Strong
1 Corinthians 1:27-29 ESV
27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.
Many of you have heard the term less is more. This is considered a paradox. “A seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true.”
As we see in the text above, those things that the world considers as a strength, like worldly wisdom or power, conversely, God says those are the things that are actually weak and worthless, as it relates to what God wants to do and how he chooses to operate in our lives in the world. He is asking that we depend on his strength and power to accomplish his purposes. The great deposit of his power and love is given to those who are most undeserving, considered low and despised by worldly standards. As we see in the text below it is so that the glory would be of God and not man.
2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
When we allow God in our weakness to move in and through us in this way, it confounds the world and reveals the splendor and majesty of God’s power.
In the following Scripture we again see the overwhelming privilege and power of God’s love and grace as it is displayed in those of us incapable on our own of fulfilling His calling in our own strength. And yet, it is in the places where we are most vulnerable and incapable of overcoming so many challenges on our own, that Christ’s power is most readily seen and revealed to us and through us.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 ESV
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
It is for this reason that we should not choose the systems and the ways of the world as substitutes for the power of God in our lives. As difficult as it can be sometimes to choose the hard way of God in weakness, we choose it anyway. Brueggemann reminds us, “God chose what is foolish to show the wise little acts of compassion that violate our learning. God chose what is low and despised in the world to reduce to nothing the things that are low and despised, in the form of Jesus of Nazareth, and the rulers of the world are not finished with him yet.”
But in choosing this way, we find our happy and glad dependence on God, as Jesus did. And while the world thought it was a failure, the Father smiled on the Son, with the approval of his resurrection. So, to with us in our weakness, we can find strength. We can celebrate that God delights in our dependence on him as He fills us full of His power with the things the world considers foolish and weak. For Christ sake, “when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Let’s pray with Brueggemann, “You have ordained a new order in which the first are last and the last are first. Turn us away from the false values of the world, that we may pursue your priorities, that which makes you happy; steadfast love, justice and righteousness. Amen.”