Some preachers and missionaries hate to show weakness. They apparently believe it undercuts the message of God’s power in the gospel. They give the impression that they have arrived, in the spiritual sense, that they are nearly perfect, all the while using language of humility about how we are all sinners.

Perhaps they fear for their “jobs.” (Some people in full-time ministry are lackeys; some churches like lackeys.) Perhaps they fear showing vulnerability. Whatever their reasons, they do their Lord a disservice. They provide bad examples, because they put forward a false front.

There is no true faith without transparency and honesty. The Lord Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, Jn 14.6. Part of that truth is knowing what is in man—in admitting what is in each of us.

No one is good, not a single person. And even though the Lord brings forth a new creation when people turn to him, saints must still deal with the trials and temptations, the challenges of faith and weaknesses of the flesh, the stumbles in many ways that happen to all.

Rather than hide our weakness from others, we must confess them, ask others to pray for us, and glory in them, that the power of God might be manifest, 2 Cor 12.9-10.

4 thoughts on “What to do with weakness

  1. Amen, Randal! If I had to worry about putting up a false front to my church family, or to anyone, I just wouldn’t make it! At first it was very hard for me to be honest thinking that others would reject me or think something was wrong with me if I told them my weaknesses. Now, it’s okay. Not that I tell everybody everything (that can be very damaging), but there is a level of transparency with me that lets my brothers and sisters know how I am doing spiritually. It is my safety net, and if I start to stumble or have a problem, they can pray for me and help me work through it. The preacher and elders at my congregation readily admit that they have difficulties just like everyone else and ask that we pray continually for them. A couple of Sundays ago we had a teenager come forward and ask for prayers. He said he had a problem with lying and it had become a regular part of his life and he couldn’t control it. Apparently other teens knew of his problem. Now that’s transparency and honesty. Not sure I could have done that. I think he was able to because the leaders in the church set the example.

    • They are wise and good men, then, to set such a good example, and I’m thankful to hear about them. Thankful also that the Lord has put you in such a good place.

  2. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me,” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NET).  William Barclay wrote, “Paul prayed that it (the thorn) might be taken from him, but God answered that prayer as he answers so many prayers: he did not take the thing away, but gave Paul strength to bear it. That is how God works. He does not spare us things, but makes us able to conquer them.” In Paul’s weakness, others could see Christ’s strength magnified. As you wrote, weakness doesn’t have to be something we’re ashamed of.

What do you think?

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