First of all, we need to understand that the world’s definitions of strength and weakness are very different from God’s.
In the world:
- Power means having the ability to do whatever I want to do.
- Weakness means not being able to do exactly what I want to do all the time.
So power means I have total control to do what I think is best. It is all about self being on the throne of my life.
In God’s kingdom:
- Power is about having the ability (totally from the Holy Spirit) to obey God and walk in holiness.
- Weakness is about trusting self, living in sin, having a lack of faith in God, living apart from fellowship with God, and using human wisdom and strength.
God calls all believers to crucify our old sinful selves. There is no help for my sinful self. I can’t make it “better” enough in God’s sight. He doesn’t have plans to make my old self better, either. It is impossible. I don’t just need washing or sprucing up. I am not an old house that just needs a bit of renovations. In God’s eyes, nothing from my old self is salvageable. It is only fit for crucifixion. Time to bring in the bulldozers and completely raze the old house. My old self is fit only for condemnation and death.
God doesn’t call me to be weak. He calls me to be dead.
Dead to this world. Dead to sin. Dead to fleshly pleasure. Dead to human wisdom. Dead to my own efforts. Dead to my desires and my will. Dead to my pride that there could be any good in me or that I could possibly please the Lord on my own.
Every part of my old self must go to the cross to die with Jesus. I can’t keep my strengths, weaknesses, or anything else. All must be laid on the altar. All must be completely sacrificed and burned to ashes.
Of course, He calls men to do the same.
- Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
(For more on this, please read Romans 6.)
Thankfully, God doesn’t just call me to be dead. 🙂 He also calls me to live a new life in Christ.
This is where many of us don’t understand ahead of time. How could we, really, if we haven’t experienced it yet? It would be as difficult for us to understand in advance as it would be for a caterpillar to imagine being a butterfly one day, wouldn’t it?
Sometimes we see that we are called to die to self. We see that we give up our will, our desires, and our dreams. We have to wrap ourselves in that dreaded cocoon. All we see is misery, confinement, and death. It seems awful to have to completely surrender self to God. That seems too great a sacrifice from our perspective before self has been crucified.
What we don’t realize yet is that when we yield to God in this way, when we give ALL of ourselves to Him in total surrender, obedience, and trust, He gives ALL of Himself to us. What we gave up was trash. What Jesus gives to us in return is great treasure – Himself! Because I am “in Christ” – His death belongs to me. But also His Life belongs to me. Everything He has and all that He is becomes mine because we are one in Spirit now. He is the head and I am part of His body – the church. His death was my death. His resurrection is my resurrection. I come out on the other side of the cross with new wings and a new body, just like that beautiful butterfly.
But I didn’t cause myself to sprout my own wings. It is not because of my efforts, goodness, or abilities that I am now a butterfly. It is because of God’s power, alone.
Now I can receive all of Jesus’:
- Spiritual power.
- Victory over sin.
- Obedience to God.
- Perfect thinking.
- Spiritual treasures.
- Spiritual authority to accomplish His will on earth.
- Fellowship with God.
- Plans for me.
A butterfly has no resemblance to the caterpillar she once was. Her old life is over. Her mouth is very different. Her legs are very different. Her body is completely different. Her diet is totally different. A butterfly no longer wants the food she used to eat as a caterpillar! She needs a new food. Her mode of transportation and habitat are different. She has a brand new purpose and incredible beauty.
So it is when we die to our earthly self and begin to experience the life of Christ in us. We are completely different.
We have a new Spirit and a new purpose. A new diet. A new habitat. God calls us to soar on wings like eagles as we live in His power (Isa. 40:31).
God’s ways are always totally opposite of the world’s ways. God calls me to do things as a believer and woman like:
- Honor my husband’s leadership.
- Respect my husband.
- Forgive those who sin against me.
- Love my enemies.
- Humble myself before Him and before others.
- Repay evil with good.
- Seek fulfillment in Him alone, not in anyone or anything else.
- Trust His wisdom more than my own.
- Humble myself so that He will raise me up to a place of glory.
God’s wisdom is never about weakness.
The world may view God’s ways as weakness – because the old sinful self doesn’t get anything. It is dead in a tomb!
But in God’s kingdom, things that seem foolish to the world are wise and powerful. When God’s will is done, everyone is blessed and His kingdom grows by leaps and bounds here on earth and in heaven!
When I give up the world’s wisdom and its ways, the only thing I lose is my ability to destroy my relationships and myself. I gain the power of heaven to experience all of the blessings and spiritual riches of Jesus Christ. Not just in heaven, but now!
When I am fully yielded in submission to Christ as my Lord, I am not weak. I have the very power of God to accomplish God’s will and His purposes. Not because I am good. But because Jesus is good and He is living in and through me.
There is a principle in scripture that the weaker I am, and as I reckon myself dead to this world and self, the stronger Christ is in me! (Romans 6:11, 2 Cor. 12:9) Now I come into relationships from a position of great strength and victory in Christ. Victory over sin. Victory over death. Victory over the flesh. Now I have God’s ability to pour healing, goodness, and Life into my relationships. I am like a big wide-open pipe that is now able to let God’s Spirit gush through me into the lives of everyone around me. My only strength is found in Jesus! I long for everyone to get to experience this new life!
- God’s version of femininity and masculinity are so much stronger than anything we could experience in this world.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Cor. 5:17
The Offense of the Cross – Austin Sparks
If you want to talk about how you can become a follower of Christ, please leave me a comment. 🙂