I saw this picture on a church door last week. What’s the message?
- “Don’t talk in church?”
- “Shut up and listen to God?”
- “Act like a footballer who’s just scored a goal?”
What came to my mind was the story of a child talking in church. An adult told him to be quiet. The child asked, “Why? Will I wake God up?”
Sometimes, when we’re going through a rough time it feels as if God is asleep, “Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.” (Psalms 44:23 NIV11)
But God does not snooze on the job, “He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber;” (Psalms 121:3 NIV11)
Now, does this reassure you? Or frighten you? If the idea that God is always vigilant disturbs you, might it be because you see this as the equivalent of celestial CCTV? “CCCTV”. Perhaps you’ve seen the T-shirt slogan: “Jesus is coming back. Look busy.” There is an idea abroad that God is keeping an eye on us and we’d better shape up.
What’s wrong with this thought? What’s wrong is that none
of us shape up. Ever. Does that bother God? Not one bit. Why? Because there is no glory to God in Christians who “shape up”. As Paul said,
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV11)
When we are weak we are strong – and God gets the glory. What does this mean, and how does this work? I suggest three steps:
- Discover your weakness: ask friends, ask the Holy Spirit. It will become clear.
- Embrace your weakness: thank God for it. “for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses,”
- Boast your weakness: “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,”
We don’t know what Paul’s weakness was. Amongst the many suggestions are: struggles with sin; an eye problem; Judaisers chasing him and ruining his work. Whatever it was, his friends knew what it was (or else there would have been no point him bringing it up in this letter to Corinth). And the point for us is that God’s grace was enough for God, so it was enough for Paul.
God is watching – but not to catch us out. He’s watching because he delights to see the the effects of His grace on us and the joy it brings us. That joy is ours because, as Paul said, “Christ’s power may rest on me.” Experiencing his power is only possible if we discover, embrace and boast our weaknesses. This might be uncomfortable, but it is exciting!
God does not need waking up, and He does not need us to hide our weaknesses. His grace is sufficient. What does this mean to you? Leave a comment on this blog to encourage others. I’d be very interested in your thoughts.
I hope you have a wonderful week.