“When I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10
Recently, I noticed I’d lost a sense of deep need and weakness. Instead, I noticed a feeling of sufficiency, of imagining I knew something or was able to accomplish something. I also noticed the feeling scared me to death.
Any absence of dependence on God puts me in danger of acting out of my own strength. In the past, that has proved disastrous for myself and those around me. Nothing good ever comes of it. Perhaps, even more sadly, I had no clue I was doing it. I was simply doing what I thought you were supposed to do: be productive.
Jesus warns, “Without me you can do nothing.” It’s not that without him I am incapable of actions; it’s that those actions amount to nothing. Any actions he is not the source of are eventually seen for what they are: dust and ashes. Paul described it as wood, hay, and stubble (1 Cor. 3:12). If self-inspired, self-sufficient works are tested in any way, they are quickly reduced to the nothing they always were.
As uncomfortable as living in the reality of my constant state of need and weakness is, (and believe me it can be very uncomfortable) it’s much preferable to the lifelessness and strength-draining actions that emerge from my misguided imaginings of an ability to do anything.
The path of weakness and need was the path of Jesus: “Of my own self I can do nothing” (John 5:30). It was the path of Paul: “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). Why would I imagine my path would be any different? Jesus said we would do the same works that he did, but I seriously doubt that will happen without living the life he lived, a life of total dependence on the Father.
I suppose it’s that word total that gives me pause. I’m beginning to catch a glimpse of what that means: dependence in every area of my life. In the past, it’s been no more than a nice sentiment, a lofty ideal. Now it’s beginning to take on a life of it’s own as God begins to occupy more and more of my life.
So I’ll take being uncomfortable over living in the deception of sufficiency and being ignorantly and utterly fruitless. I’m beginning to get a taste of being comfortable with the uncomfortable. It’s only a taste, mind you. A tip of your tongue sort of thing. But who knows? The taste might eventually become an appetite.