Being Strong in the Lord
By Maria Fontaine
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“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
I’ve written about the need to confess and admit our weaknesses because, as Christians, it is easy to take on the mistaken idea that we’re supposed to be so strong and “perfect” all the time. And some have felt that if they couldn’t be perfect, they were at least supposed to look like they were perfect, or pretend they were perfect! They tried to never let anybody know that they made any mistakes or that they had any trials or weaknesses, and in so doing they portrayed the wrong idea of what being strong in the Lord1 is supposed to be like.
But to be weak just for the sake of being weak is not the goal or the end; our weakness is supposed to show the Lord’s strength, and as Paul said, “so that the power of Christ may rest” upon us. That’s the purpose of honestly confessing our weaknesses: to show that the Lord is strong, and that even though we are weak, He can be strong in us. Through our weaknesses, He can be shown to be strong.
Of course, “boasting all the more gladly” of our weaknesses2 was never intended to give anyone the impression that they’re supposed to be so weak that they’re like jelly on the floor. What would be the purpose or testimony in that? People would see that and say, “Look at that poor guy! The Lord and the gospel don’t seem to have much to offer him. I thought God was supposed to be able to do miracles in your life. I thought God was supposed to manifest His strength in our weakness.”
We can use our weaknesses to show the Lord’s strength. “His strength is made perfect in our weakness.”3 The Word says, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”4 We’re supposed to be strong, but we find our strength in the Lord, not in ourselves. To help others understand that our strength is in the Lord, we need to be open about our own human weaknesses and lacks, but at the same time, we show His strength by fighting to be strengthened in our weak areas and testifying to others about how the Lord is pulling us through.
Everybody is human, so everybody has weaknesses in some area. When we honestly admit our lacks, it is so that the Lord will get the credit and the glory when He works through us, and people will know it is the Lord and His power being made perfect in us. When you admit your weaknesses, then you’ve got to fight and let the Lord show His strength, so He gets the credit for whatever gets accomplished.5
The Lord has given all of us certain strengths from the time we were born. We’ve acquired other strengths throughout our lives, even before we got saved and started serving the Lord. There are some people who seem to be exceptionally strong, or strong in a particular area. Of course, when you’re strong in an area and you’re using that strength and accomplishing something for the Lord, it’s important to give the Lord the credit and the glory. And when it’s an apparently “natural” strength, something you’ve had all along, it’s even more important to verbally give the Lord the glory than when it’s an obviously miraculous or supernatural thing. Otherwise most people won’t have any way of knowing that it is the Lord working through you and not just you.
Some people don’t let themselves get easily distracted. They’re single-minded, and even their own personal problems hardly seem to faze them or bother them. They just do their job no matter what, and don’t spend a lot of time worrying about their problems; they go on for the Lord regardless. With people who have that sort of natural strength, we need to remember that it’s the Lord who made them that way and gave them those strengths to begin with.
“What do you have that you did not receive?”6 We wouldn’t even be here or have been born or had anything at all without the Lord. Even if you were born with very strong good characteristics, it’s still the Lord. The Lord is the one who gives us gifts; it’s all His inspiration. We each are gifted in different ways, and we each have different strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and inabilities.7
The Bible says that “His strength is made perfect in our weakness.”8 In other words, out of our weakness, His strength can be manifested. You’ve got to have strength to do the job. He admonishes us to “be strong in the power of His might.”
The whole point is we’re supposed to be strong in the Lord. That’s what we’re striving for. We can admit and confess our weaknesses, but we shouldn’t dwell on them. Once we admit our weaknesses, we need to realize and be thankful that the Lord is going to make us strong, so we can do something for Him.
“The people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits.”9 That’s the goal! So let’s “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”10
Originally published June 1989. Adapted and republished November 2018.
Read by Irene Quiti Vera.
1 Ephesians 6:10.
2 2 Corinthians 12:9.
3 2 Corinthians 12:9.
4 Ephesians 6:10.
5 2 Corinthians 12:10.
6 1 Corinthians 4:7.
7 1 Corinthians 12.
8 2 Corinthians 12:9.
9 Daniel 11:32.
10 Ephesians 6:10.