Isaiah 40:29 “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.”
Have you ever compared yourself with another? Have you ever not? I admit, I have over a long life at times compared myself with others, and what do I always find? Shortcomings! This is because comparison always considers the best in others with the worst in ourselves, never a good thing. One of Teddy Roosevelt’s well-known sayings is that comparison is the thief of joy, and so it is!
If we were to compare ourselves with the heroes of the Bible, we always will come up short. Consider the deeds of Abraham, Moses, Joseph (son of Jacob), Miriam, Deborah, Ruth, Queen Esther, Rahab, Ruth, and Mary, the mother of Christ. I certainly am like none of these and certainly nothing like Paul, an all-out kind of guy who, as a Pharisee, went after Christians with a vengeance, and then, after meeting Christ, had the same zeal to convert all he met to Christianity, suffering greatly in doing so: “Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches.” Physically and mentally, Paul suffered for sharing the Good News. I simply can’t imagine going through all he did!
Then I’ve been reading God’s Generals, a series by Liardon Roberts on those who’ve paved the path for the Good News to be shared with the world, such like Knox, Luther, Wycliffe, Hus, Edwards, Whitefield, Finney, the Booths, and Billy Graham. If I look at myself in comparison to these, I can easily ask myself, “Who am I and what use am I, anyway?”
That’s just the point! Psalm 139:13-16 states, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” God has made each of us to be exactly as He designed for His purposes, not our own. Each of us has strengths, and each of us has weaknesses. Those weaknesses should never be looked down upon, for through them, we see God at work!
"So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, 'My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7b-10
“For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Isn’t it great to ponder the truth that we can’t rely on ourselves for anything good we do, but only on the power of God? “You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.” 2 Corinthians 4:5-7
Indeed, we are fragile clay jars, thrown by the Master on His potter’s wheel, and when we accept Jesus as Savior, we have Him shining in our hearts and empowering us to do the work He has set apart for each of us, even though we may feel too weak to do so. “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
When we acknowledge our weaknesses, yet see the Lord working through us, we indeed know it is only God’s power that is accomplishing the work. Let us always remember that it is not our strength, but God’s that gives us the power and boldness to fulfill His plans; let us always remember never to boast in self, but always in our one and only God.
Philippians 4:13 “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
2 Corinthians 11:6 “I (Paul) may be unskilled as a speaker, but I’m not lacking in knowledge.”
Psalm 121:1-2 “I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!”
Isaiah 12:2 “See, God has come to save me. I will trust in Him and not be afraid. The Lord God is my strength and my song; He has given me victory.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”
PRAYER: Dear Father, I am more than aware of my many weaknesses, the fear of speaking up being one of them. I also acknowledge that You understand that weakness, yet when needed, Your power through the Holy Spirit will overcome my weakness so Your truth will be spoken when need be. A perfect instance was when, at a high school reunion, a classmate was extolling the benefits of the Baha’i religion. Out from my mouth popped, “I’ve been studying the Bible for some time now, and in it Jesus states, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’ ” John 14:6 I would never have done this on my own! Truly, Father God, I am weak while You are strong. Thank You that I can boast in Your strength, and in Your strength only.
DISCLAIMER: I am just an ordinary woman who loves Jesus, accepting Him as Savior at the age of thirty-two and digging into the Bible ever since. How could I possibly hope to develop a heart relationship with God and trust Him with my life if I didn't know who He is?!
These devotionals are written to help you journey with Christ and grow in your heart relationship with Him. However, it is essential that you examine my words, and those of all other "teachers," with God's Holy Word. Therein lies the source of all truth!
Candice Mary Thomas writes about loving God and loving people! Coming to Christ at age 32 and now in her 70's, Candice knows what a difference it makes living with or without Christ as one's personal Savior.