Easy Confidence or Strength in Weakness?


Today I am looking at the subject of faith counter-intuitively, by asking probing questions about human weakness. Some of them are crucial questions, though we may all have different perspectives and vantage points.

It is said fear is the opposite of faith. This has the ring of truth. Fear is certainly a common human trait. One of the most often repeated phrases in the Bible is, "Do not be afraid." We can tend to see these as a rebuke rather than the encouragement intended.

Let us say we have someone who struggles with anxiety issues. Yet, in desperation they seek God’s face in the turmoil. Now let us say there is one who has few fears and is a relatively confident person. They are therefore unmoved by most things. If Scripture says God’s strength is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) which person is exercising more faith? Two men are on a battlefield. One faces the ordeal with confidence, moving toward the enemy. Another is inwardly full of terror, yet in spite of this forges ahead and likewise faces the enemy. Which soldier has more active courage?

Is a steady faith, which has little testing, the norm for the Christian life or is trust hammered out in the trials and pain of life? Can you have profound faith without affliction? Folks with few issues seem so much stronger and together, while those who endure the greatest struggles must, of necessity, cling dependently to their almighty Father. Appearance-wise, the together person is more whole.

We often view human brokenness with judgement. Either we do it to ourselves by feeling we are useless and do not measure up by struggling with different weaknesses or others send the message something is wrong with us. Moral judgment can be quick for those with frailty, when it could be a matter of individual personality, traumatic upbringing, deep inner wounds, or emotional damage. We all bear the injury of our sin, they cause us and others around us suffering.

All of us are broken to some degree. Everyone has been touched by pain and not one of us will get out of life without it. For those who live wounded, the suffering can drive us to our knees before God. There can be a greater awareness of just how much we need a Savior. That is always a good thing.

I have often written about how God is not looking for self-made men or women. He calls us to surrender and totally depend on Him, not ourselves. Self-reliance is a barrier to intimacy with God and useless for a grace-filled Christian life. Nothing reminds us how crucial surrender is more than terrible need.

May it ever be that we need more of Jesus. Our strength is in Him and He will build our faith. It will be on whichever particular anvil of trial he has for each of us, but our eyes are joyfully fixed on the object of our devotion and dependency.

I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5, Jesus speaking)

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise You. (Psalm 63:3)

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