Take 5 (February 20-24, 2017)

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Bill Tanzey • Pastor of Community Life

What To Do When I Feel Weak?

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

MONDAY: Our Weakness Is Far Surpassed By His Strength

1 Cor. 2:1

Famed preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote of God, “When you can’t trace His hand, you can always trust God’s heart.” Those have been words of comfort to countless Christians during times of weakness.

The Apostle Paul lived and ministered long before Spurgeon, but I believe he would agree with Spurgeon’s conclusion. You see, Paul is quick to mention his weaknesses as a preacher of the Gospel: poor speaking skills and limited wisdom. Yet, his was a spirit of dependence and reliance on God. Despite his personal weaknesses, he made it clear that he was in full subjection to God. God’s strength is always far greater than our weakness.

Ask God to allow you to take your eyes off your weaknesses and focus them on His strength.

TUESDAY: Our Weakness Is Far Surpassed By His Message

1 Cor. 2:2

In verse 2, we find Paul underscoring the simple yet profound message that he (and we) posses: Jesus and His crucifixion. He could have come to Corinth with a personal rebuke of their lifestyle and sin. The Corinthians were notorious for that kind of living.

Yet, Paul knew where the strength of the Gospel resides: in Christ, and in Him alone. Paul understood that beating them up with reprimands, without sharing the wonderful good news of the Gospel, would be ineffective. As Ryrie puts it, “If I hurt you, who will be left to make me glad, but sad people? That wouldn’t be any comfort.”

Ask God to allow others to see Jesus Christ through you.

WEDNESDAY: The Weakness of Our Deepest Hurt Is Surpassed By His Strength

1 Cor. 2:3

In addition to coming to Corinth lacking great oratory, Paul also didn’t come with easy antidotes to life’s hurts. Thus, he knew weakness, fear and anxiety. When God calls people, He often uses their areas of weakness as areas of strength; even their pain.

As Paul admitted his own weaknesses, he reminded the readers of his reliance on the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s will. His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). When Paul stopped relying on himself, he found the true recipe for succeeding: God handling the details while Paul soldiered onward.

Ask God to give you strength as you face life.

THURSDAY: The Weakness in Sharing Is Surpassed By What is Shared

1 Cor. 2:4

Earlier, the philosophers of Athens found Paul unimpressive as an orator. Paul saw that clearly. His manner of preaching seemed perhaps mediocre by Athenian standards. Yet, despite the weaknesses of the messenger, it was the staying power of his eternal message that made all the difference!

Clearly, Paul didn’t crush the top of points for style, but his message was over-the-top. That is the same message that you and I as Christ-followers carry with us. It is that powerful message that impacts others, not the speechifying skills that we possess. The Bible is ripe with great servants who weren’t impressive stylistically: Moses; Gideon; Peter; Timothy; to name a few.  When we have a task to do for God, rest assured He often surprises the world by working through our weaknesses to bring success.

Ask God for the opportunity to share the message of Christ with another.

FRIDAY: Our Weakness as Vain People Is Surpassed By His Greatness

1 Cor. 2:5

Paul asks a question that begs an answer: “Where do you place your faith– in God or in men?” Paul knew that there was the utmost danger in his hearers being interested in him or his personality rather than being interested in the living Lord. That phenomenon still exists today. Conscious of his own inability to bless or to save, he was determined to lead people to trust in God alone, rather than the wisdom of men. Throughout the centuries, we have witnessed the danger of hearers edifying the messenger and not the message.

All who proclaim or teach the Gospel message should make this their constant aim: focus on the Lord and not on themselves…all who hear the message should stay motivated on elevating the Lord, not the messenger. Men are fallible; wisdom is divine. Messengers are imperfect; the Good News of the Lamb of God is perfect.

Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 aloud three times, and ask God for strength.