"Strength, In Weakness"
The history of the Apostle Paul recorded in the book of Acts, along with many passages from his epistles, might lead us to think that our brother of old was a naturally bold and assertive person. Several passages of Scripture, however, indicate otherwise.
"I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power" (I Corinthians 2:3-4).
"For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible" (II Corinthians 10:10).
"Pray… for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel" (Ephesians 6:18; 19).
Had we met Paul on the street, we would likely never have guessed his calling in life. Even after he began to speak of Christ, we might still not have been impressed. Like his Lord, who came into the world with "no form or comeliness," and with "no beauty that we should desire Him," the Apostle seems to have been a classic example of what God told him: "My strength is made perfect in weakness" (Isaiah 53:2; II Corinthians 12:9). Little wonder then that Paul confessed weakness, fear and trembling. Moreover, his request for prayer regarding bold utterance indicates that timidity rather than temerity may have characterized Paul's disposition and personality. Perhaps this explains in personal, as well as doctrinal terms, the Apostle's declaration to the Corinthians: "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called, but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty, and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are" (I Corinthians 1:26-28).
Human weakness serves as the seedbed for a bountiful harvest of Divine grace. Our "I cannot" provides the vehicle for God's "I can." We do well to make this personal to ourselves. Where we seem the most unable likely serves as our Heavenly Father's primary scene of working in us to reveal an abundantly able Christ. Natural gifts, while sometimes useful to God in consecrated vessels, may nevertheless detract from most brightly and vividly displaying our Lord's capacity to reveal strength in weakness. A man now considered as one of God's most daring and intrepid servants was not viewed in such terms by others or himself during his own lifetime. This is just as we would expect in those called by the Christ who Himself lived in such a manner that his own brothers did not know who He was (John 7:5). Thus, we do well to also expect our Lord's present working to follow the pattern of strength revealed not in strength, but in weakness.
"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."
(II Corinthians 12:10)
Weekly Memory Verse
I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.