34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:34 – 39, ESV (emphasis added)
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.
2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV (emphasis added)
We often refer to the workings of God in our lives as resulting in & being purposed for the increase of our strength. "What doesn't kill you makes YOU stronger", right?
I’m not sure I agree with that.
If in fact Jesus is a God of relationship (deep, connected, ever-increasingly intimate relationship), & desires to keep us close because of that, then what would be the benefit of increasing our strength in order that we stand on our own?
No; if he increases anything in our lives, it's the awareness of our need.
As we invite Him into our lives, releasing over piece by piece, Jesus is actually growing us in our need---He's revealing our weakness.
This isn’t meant to hinder us, but to teach us a multitude of soul redeeming truths. The first being dependence on Him & His ability, and the second being that His love is worthy of our trust. If in fact this life was never really about us, then our lives were made for Someone else---they were designed to highlight Someone else's accomplishments + power, not ours.
With a God that says, “ I am sticking up for you day & night," a God that sees my battles & proves me to be more than a conqueror through His life, death, & resurrection, I'm not sure my strength was ever of concern.
I'm not going through the trial in order than I would become stronger. I'm going through the trial to draw nearer to Jesus. I'm going through the struggle to find that He really is King of my heart, sitting on the throne of my life. I'm experiencing discomfort & confusion & frustration because He's the One that deserves my trust. I don't deserve my own trust. I do not trust myself---not any part of who I am outside of Who He is, is trustworthy. But me, being found in who He is, discovered through my weakness & realized in His strength---the me that is far better when seen through His eyes, His intentions, His design---that is the me that is introduced by Him & will reflect all of who He is. But none of that happens & none of that is realized until I am grown in my need for Him. None of who I am is known until I am made aware of my complete & utter lack without Him.
So, no. I am not strong. No "this" is not making me stronger. I am not any of those things until I see that He is what I need. I do not display strength until I am found totally dependent on my Savior. It's this out-of-this-world kind of dichotomous thinking that leads me to His right hand---the hand that has the power & authority to claim victory over my every moment, no matter what it might look like. It's this upside down mentality that allows me to see heaven on earth right inside of me today. It's this surrender of the power-struggle that brings me through refinement & into fullness.
He's growing us in our need & teaching us how to stay weak so that He can continue being our source of strength. Don't buy the lie that being "strong & independent" means that you don't need a thing---that you don't need to be saved, that you shouldn't lack or have to ask for help. Jesus didn't die & resurrect His life, and all of ours along with His, so that we could live in denial. He died so that we could live in freedom from the bondage of pride.
Stop striving for strength. Lean back on Him & catch your breath. He wants your weakness.
Alexa | Joy