What Christians Get Wrong About STRENGTH
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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
We often read passages in the Bible that talk about suffering, and the power of suffering well, and rightly stand amazed at how counterintuitive these teachings are. But I believe we err often by assuming that because pain & suffering have a good purpose in our lives, that they should therefore be normative. This is probably one of the most insidious ideas in the church today that keeps many people from conquering their personal demons.
I submit that the biblically normative posture should be that of happiness, contentment, success and blessing. What these look like will be different for each person in each season of life. Sometimes success means getting up every day and conquering dark thoughts as you contend with a difficult situation that life has thrown at you. But that doesn’t change the fact that THESE are the normative traits of Christian life lived under God’s blessing.
Suffering is not normative; God didn’t design the world to suffer. Suffering is an indication that something is wrong, and instead of embracing suffering as many well-meaning Christians erroneously teach, we have a responsibility to root out the cause of it with the help of the Holy Spirit and with God’s wisdom. God is glorified in our TEMPORAL WEAKNESS when we suffer well, but he is equally as glorified in our EVERYDAY STRENGTH when that strength is sourced in him.
To the faithful you show yourself faithful, to the blameless you show yourself blameless, to the pure you show yourself pure, but to the devious you show yourself shrewd. You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty. You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great. You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way. (Psalm 18:25-36)