Sunday Worship at 11AM | 4967 Fincher Rd., Canton, GA 30114

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. (2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV)

For as long as I can remember I’ve heard it said that real men don’t cry. As a kid, I can remember looking up to the rough and rugged cowboys like John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. If westerns weren’t your style, maybe you looked up to Dirty Harry or James Bond. Maybe for you it was John Elway or Larry Bird. From Rocky Balboa to Rambo, real tough guys, the epitome of manhood for kids across the US. For the life of me, I can’t ever remember one of these tough guys ever crying, appearing weak, or needing anyone.

As an American, I know the high value that our society has placed on being self-sufficient, strong, and independent. We place a high value on stories of self-made men and women who rose from rags to riches. We do everything we can to appear strong and have been taught that weakness is something to be avoided at all costs. Spoiler alert: I believe this mindset is anti-Biblical and keeps us from true intimacy with God and with other saints.

Earlier in our devotion, on day 11, we discussed unlearning learned behaviors that turned out not to be Biblical. Question: what if what you were taught about being a “real man” or “real woman” was not only wrong, but what if it was harmful? What if all those rugged cowboys and warriors didn’t convey what it really means to be strong and courageous? Are we willing to put aside what we’ve always been taught or conditioned to believe to truly examine the heart of God? Would a painful journey like this be worth the struggle? I think so.

The Apostle Paul found the secret to being content and he shares it with us: I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13). True strength doesn’t come from within us but from the gracious, merciful love of our God. So, how do we experience true strength? By beginning with admitting our own weakness and inadequacy. When we humble ourselves and admit that what we need cannot be found within ourselves, we can turn our heart and eyes fully to our God who is more than willing and able to sustain and strengthen us.

Paul tells us of a time where he pleaded with the Lord to remove a thorn from his flesh. Although Paul doesn’t reveal what the thorn was, he does tell us the response of Jesus. Paul prayed repeatedly and finally Jesus replies: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” By using context clues from the Scripture, I have to understand Jesus’s answer as a “no”. I can’t be sure why Jesus chose not to remove the thorn from Paul’s flesh, at least in that moment, but I can trust that God is using all things (even things we wish He would take away) for His glory and our good (Romans 8:28).

I find the way that Paul summarizes this experience with Jesus fascinating. He didn’t simply say, “I toughed it out and got over it”. Here is how Paul concludes his thought: 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. (2 Corinthians 2:10) Did you catch it? Paul didn’t deny his weakness, hide it, run from it, or grab a bunch of self-help books to overcome the thorn. Instead, he was content with his weakness knowing that when he was weak, Christ was strong in him.

I don’t know about you but as cool as I think cowboys are… I’d much rather learn to be more like Paul. How about you? Are you able to humbly and honestly confess your weakness that the power of Christ may be made perfect in you?

Father, I confess I don’t want to be weak. Lord, it seems so hard to admit what You already know, I desperately need You. Today I am praying that You would teach me to trust You with my weakness. Give me the confidence to come before You in my weakness so Your strength may be made perfect within me. Thank You that Your grace continues to sustain me and how Your sweet love leads me. Today I pray You would be glorified through my life and all You do in me and for me. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Categories: Devotion