For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:14).
The world, and often the believer right along with it, looks to and for greatness, prestige, prominence, honor and reputation. God looks to and uses foolish, weak, base and despised things.
For you see your calling, brothers, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nothing things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence (I Corinthians 1:26-29).
It is as weak earthen vessels (II Corinthians 4:7-18) that God teaches us valuable lessons in preparation for our celestial position with Christ in the Heavenlies.
In Our Weaknesses We Learn of Calvary’s Love
We learn of the timing of His love: while we were sinners.
But God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
We learn the extent of His love: great.
But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us (Ephesians 2:4).
We learn the endurance of His love: nothing can separate us from it.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35-39).
In Our Weaknesses We Learn Humility
In our weakness He removes all other supposed sources of personal strength. It is all about Him, and not about us.
Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh? (Galatians 3:3).
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me (I Corinthians 15:10).
In Our Weaknesses We Learn of the All-Sufficiency of His Ability
In our weaknesses we learn that we are the workmanship of God (Ephesians 2:8-10), and He will accomplish His work (Philippians 1:6; 2:13).
I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).
He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you: for My strength is made perfect in weakness …” (II Corinthians 12:9).
In Our Weaknesses We Learn Patience
God’s work in us takes time. We are able to learn patience with ourselves and with others. Our brothers and sisters are the workmanship of God as well.
What a difference that understanding can make!
… We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience (Romans 5:3).
In Our Weaknesses We Learn the Reception of Others
Wherefore receive one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God (Romans 15:7).
When we see ourselves in our weaknesses, and our reception by Christ in that state, it becomes the basis by which we receive others. It deters us from judging, or setting aside our brothers.
But why do you judge your brother? Or, why do you set at nought your brother? (Romans 14:10).
In Our Weaknesses We Learn to Deal Graciously with Others
Our weaknesses cause us to learn the true nature of grace. In our own failures we learn to be gracious with others.
Become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, dealing graciously among yourselves, according as God also, in Christ, deals graciously with you (Ephesians 4:32, Concordant Literal Translation).
Put on, then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, pitiful compassions, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, bearing with one another and dealing graciously among yourselves, if anyone should be having a complaint against any. According as the Lord also deals graciously with you, thus also you (Colossians 3:12-13, Concordant Literal Translation).
In Our Weaknesses We Learn to Forget
We cannot “go forward” “in the past.” Understanding the divine viewpoint of our weaknesses we are able to forget the past.
Brothers, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14).
As weak earthen vessels God prepares us for our “high calling” position with Christ in the Heavenly places!
Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.
Bible Student’s Notebook, #214
© 2009, 2010