Hello my friends! Sorry for the recent lack of updates – things have been quite busy, but I’ve finally gotten the chance to collect my thoughts and share them with you!
Last week our Bible reading had us in Matthew 26. This chapter chronicles the final hours before Jesus was arrested and taken to be crucified. It’s a story that I’m all too familiar with, yet a couple things struck my heart in a new way as I meditated on this storyline. This chapter massively exposes the weakness of our human frame. We see it in how the disciples were filled with anger at the extravagant gift of love that Mary poured on Jesus’ feet. We see it in Judas’ willingness to betray a Man with whom He had closely followed and built friendship with for over three years for thirty measly pieces of silver. We see it in Peter, James, and John as the kept falling asleep when Jesus took them to the garden of Gethsemane to pray with Him. We see it in Jesus Himself as He cries out to the Father asking for an alternative to saving humanity without having to suffer the beating, mocking, scourging, and death on a cross. We see it in Peter denying Jesus after vowing that he would never do such a thing just a few hours before it happened.
I could go on with even more examples, but these are enough to illustrate my point. These few scenarios show just how prone we are to pride, deception, manipulation, anger, fear, etc. Even when we truly want to do what’s right, our flesh is weak and will fail us. Sheer willpower can only get us so far when we’re faced with real life circumstances that challenge and pressure us. Apart from submitting our weak flesh to the strength of the Spirit within us, eventually we will fall.
The problem is that it’s really hard and really sucks to admit that we’re weak. I hate it. I hate having to admit that I am weak. I hate having to admit that even being a determined person with a pretty strong willpower, I still fail. Heck, even harder than admitting it, it’s hard to just believe it in the first place! For years and years of my life, I lied to myself over and over again until I genuinely believed that there were areas in my life that I would never struggle in again because I was strong enough to manage them. Until I wasn’t. And then I was faced with a shattered belief system that I had built over years of telling myself I was someone who I wasn’t. But I’ve found that those moments when I fall have become some of the most beautiful moments of my journey. The beauty is in the mercy and grace that forgive us and strengthen us to get back up after we fall. Coming to terms with our weakness and admitting our need for God’s strength to help us become who we want to become is the only way we’ll actually ever get there. Sometimes He’ll put pressures around us in life that expose the weakness of our flesh because He wants to give us the opportunity to remember our weakness apart from Him. It’s when we see it that we can repent and run right back into His arms and find even more strength to press on.
Peter is a perfect example of this. After convincing himself that he’d never deny Jesus (which he was so successful in doing that he thought he could convince Jesus of it too), life happened and the rooster crowed and he was faced with his weakness. All of the sudden, pressure came and he was afraid for his life. And he did the very thing he believed with every fiber of his being that he would never do. But the beauty of the story comes in that moment. As he realized what he had done, he ran away and wept bitterly. He saw the weakness of his flesh, came to terms with it, wept over it, repented, and got back up again. And later on we see the great power and anointing of the Holy Spirit that marked Peter’s ministry in the book of Acts. Because Peter came face to face with his weakness, he was able to surrender it to God and lean into His strength. And when he did that, God was able to use him mightily.
How often do we forget our weakness? And when it’s exposed, do we deny it and keep moving on in our own strength? Or how often do we see our weakness and weep bitterly over it before the Lord and allow Him to come and heal and strengthen us? Even as I write this I’m being faced with my weakness and wrestling with surrendering. I pray the Lord give us grace to embrace our weakness and find His strength perfected in us.