Imagine a man who wants to bail out of his marriage, who is tempted to hit his teenage son in his anger, who struggles with lust daily.
That man is a pastor. His name is Chip Ingram.
Think you’re alone in your struggle? You’re not. It doesn’t matter what it is. You may gamble your family’s money away. You may drink yourself sick or overeat to escape the pain of life. You may be addicted to pornography even though you’ve said a thousand times you want to stop.
Every one of us has a hole inside of us we’re trying to fill. The hole makes us feel weak. We want to feel strong, in control, so we try desperately to fill the hole ourselves.
The problem is, that hole is often something we didn’t create and have no control over. Any effort to fill it will fail. Any attempt to heal our own pain will fail. Every time.
Even the Apostle Paul opened up about pain like this in one of his letters to the church in Corinth. In 2 Corinthians, he wrote about a “thorn in the flesh,” which he pleaded with the Lord to take away from him. We don’t know what the “thorn” is. Chip imagines it’s chronic back pain. All we know for sure is Paul’s response to it.
‘And He had said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.’ – 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NASB)
Paul went on to write in verse 10, “… for when I am weak, I am strong.”
The mysterious thing about weakness is the power it unleashes when we let go of our urge to control it. Overcoming our weakness is not necessarily God’s desire for us. He does not want us to be strong on our own accord, because we will inevitably never be strong enough. Instead, God wants to be strong within us, despite our inescapable weakness. He desires that we acknowledge our dependency on Him, that we daily find His strength rather than our own within us.
This is why Paul rejoiced in his weakness, and why he taught us to follow his example. Acknowledging we are weak, and always will be, creates the best of opportunities. It allows the power of God inside to be stronger than we could ever be alone.
Watch Chip talk about confronting his own weakness in this clip. As he explains, the hope we have in the grace of Jesus Christ to daily fill the holes in our lives is greater than any hope we could ever have in ourselves to do the job.
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