Be strong

2 Corinthians 4:7-10 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”

Do you realize that the Lord made us weak and vulnerable for a reason?

We as people are very susceptible to injury, whether it’s physical or emotional, a virus or a hurtful word, we reflect our humanity on a daily basis and yet the Lord has entrusted us with His Holy Spirit. Doesn’t this seem like a risk for God to entrust us with being a ‘temple’ of His sacred anointing?

2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

The lesson He teaches us is…you don’t have to be a rock, you don’t have to appear invinceable….you can’t be, you don’t have that capacity.

It’s O.K. to recognize your weaknesses, vulnerability isn’t a display of inadequacy, it’s an acceptance of the human condition and can actually be healthy as long as you don’t wallow in self-despair. Allowing God’s strength to manifest in your life, in spite of your weaknesses glorifies the Lord and becomes a testimony of His magnificent grace.
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

When I think about my little granddaughters, I think of the sweet innocence that is present in children. These little ones are vulnerable to influences, whether we give them affirmation or show correction, they respond out of a lack of understanding and also out of their vulnerability. The moment they skin their knee or express a need like hunger or thirst, they show their reliance on those who are taking care of them.

We are reminded by Jesus of the faith present in children and the example of what trusting in the Lord looks like.

Childlike Faith

Mark 10:15 “Truly I say to you, whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a child shall never enter into it.”

What are the attributes of a child that Jesus is referring to?

Simplicity and Faith

We so often muddle up life by making it far too complex. We worry about situations that are overblown, amplifying situations that do not carry the weight we give them. If we want to be apart of the Kingdom of God, we must consider what Jesus taught.

The temperament of a child can be exemplified by:

  •  being teachable
  • mild
  • humble
  • free from prejudice
  • lacking obstinacy

Jesus was reflecting on these attributes when He was considering those who can receive the Kingdom of Heaven. For those who struggle with receiving the Kingdom of God, we witness those attributes that prohibit people from receiving it.

  • Pride
  • Prejudice
  • Obstinate
  • Bitter
  • Self-sufficient
  • Having a ‘know it all’ attitude

It’s healthy to be reliant upon the Lord, it’s O.K. to not have all the answers, it’s not weak to show love to others, it doesn’t diminish your ‘self-respect’ by forgiving those who harm you, and yes it is necessary to be vulnerable before the Lord knowing that He will be your strength.

Exodus 15:2 “The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”

Children need to know about the Savior as early as possible, while we must be reminded that just because we’ve grown a little older, we have a little more knowledge, or we’ve experienced a little more of life we think we now have the capacity to manage on our own.

Do you really think we have really gained that much more?

If you listen to the instructions of the Lord, we are made aware that we are just as vulnerable as we were when we were children, the circumstances may have changed and grown a bit more complex but we are still just as frail.

Isaiah 40:29 “He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.”

Doesn’t this reminder in Isaiah reveal that God recognizes our weaknesses regardless of our age?

Adult-like Faith

Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Children may not be able to appreciate the magnitude of trusting in the Lord but they recognize the need to trust their parents.

As we grow in the knowledge of the Lord, we put aside child-like understanding and receive the Word of God in faith. We move from a simple reliance on parental authority to a much deeper trust in Godly authority. If we can’t move from this child-like position, we will find ourselves acting like children when we are old.

2 Corinthians 12:9 “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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

When people get caught up in thinking they can work out their salvation on their own, they place themselves in a position to fall.

You may ask, how do people try to work out their own salvation?

Listen to the wisdom of Proverbs and see how someone walks in trust in the Lord versus those who trust in their own understanding.

Proverbs 11:4-9 “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
but righteousness delivers from death.
The righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight,
but the wicked falls by his own wickedness.
The righteousness of the upright delivers them,
but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust.
When the wicked dies, his hope will perish,
and the expectation of wealth perishes too.
The righteous is delivered from trouble,
and the wicked walks into it instead.
With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor,
but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.”

The path of the wicked is the path of those who reject God’s counsel.

  • They trust in riches.
  • They walk in sin and rebellion.
  • They lust for things that are not given by God.
  • They hope in their own path to happiness.
  • They walk right into trouble because they lack foresight.
  • They speak evil to one another without knowledge.

This is the path of those who think they can handle their own affairs apart from God. They have no future.

Times of Weakness

There might seem like a paradox when it comes to being vulnerable. We are often exhorted to be strong in the Lord, we are told to not fear or be dismayed, and yet we are encouraged to have the faith of a child.

The Lord isn’t exhorting us to be like children in our relationship to Him, we are encouraged to press on to maturity.

1 Corinthians 13:11-12 “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

Childishness is foolishness.

Childlike faith is found in the heart, it is expressed in devotion and obedience and it is revealed in the one in whom we trust.

The Lord expects very little from us.

Hebrews 5:12-13 “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.”

The path of childlike trust is the same path to maturity.

Obedience in Christ is to live with understanding. Knowing that He is able, that He loves us, and brings purpose in our lives is the path of life.

Children express newness of life, I hope your life will be an expression of the newness of Christ in you, that your joy will not diminish but keep you until the day of your salvation.

That is my hope for you.

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