I Am Strong

 “Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 

man in muscle back view

You’re home, winding down from the day’s work, making dinner, getting relaxed and ready for bed – enjoying the comforts and privacy that being in your private domain provide. While you are doing so, a burglar is hiding outside in the shadows – watching, waiting, planning, and looking for any weaknesses in your home and in you that he can exploit and use against you. When you finally retire to bed, he readies himself to make a move into your domicile. You close your eyes for rest and drift off to sleep. He’s still lurking, waiting to make sure that you are good and asleep. Then, he breaks into your place, violates your body, and steals your personal belongings. He leaves as quickly and as stealthily as he arrived, with no one on the outside knowing that an unspeakable crime has just occurred. Soon after, he gathers with his cohorts, laughing as he feels he’s dominated you and achieved his illegal, unethical, and selfish goals.

Can you imagine that happening every night? Or, even in the daytime? The kind of way that would make a person feel? In their own home, where they are supposed to feel safe?

Everyone would agree that such acts against another human being are completely wrong. No one wants a burglar coming into their home invading their privacy, stealing their belongings, and especially not abusing and violating their bodies. It’s just not right. And I don’t know of anyone who would call that kind of behavior acceptable. It’s not a kind thing to do, and people who do those things are not loving people. They don’t know the love of Jesus, so they don’t know how to show love and consideration for others. Their father is the devil (John 8:44).

“Why don’t you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to My word. You are of your father the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and has not stood in truth […]” – John 8:43-44

I think the same thing applies with intellectual property, say, for instance, at work. No one wants anyone stealing their ideas, or their thoughts, that they have about a particular project – especially when their only goal is to use it against them, or their work team, to satisfy their own agenda. A person’s thoughts and ideas are his or her own personal and private property. And no one should be privy to them – except, the individual willingly chooses to share them.

Unfortunately, this happens quite often in our world today. People are rude, disrespectful, and unkind to others. They look for what they see as weaknesses in other people, and they exploit them.

It is in no way a good thing – no matter how someone might try to justify it – to take advantage of another person. Some people prey on those who they see as vulnerable or those who have already been abused or mistreated because they deem them to be easy targets. The elderly are often victims of scams from those kinds of people.

You would think, that anybody would good sense and some decency would not hurt and cause harm to someone who has already been abused or is already subject to be targeted by others.

To those people, I say: Stop what you are doing. It’s not nice. It’s unkind, and it’s unethical on so many levels. Just because you have the means to do something doesn’t give you the right to do it. It’s wrong. And, it’s sin. If you continue in it, you will suffer eternal damnation. You can’t escape that fate, if you don’t stop mistreating and abusing God’s people. It’s that simple.

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” 

Thinking about it has got me to meditating on what Paul said about weaknesses. He said that God chose the weak things of the world to put to shame those who see themselves as powerful or stronger than others (1 Cor. 1:25-27).

He also said that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness and that he   was well pleased  to be persecuted, to be mistreated, to have sickness, and to be insulted. That’s can be pretty hard to grasp. When you think about things that you are pleased to do, being insulted, abused, or sick probably are far from your mind.

But Paul had been through a lot – he was shipwrecked, he was beaten five times with many lashes, he was imprisoned, he was lost at sea for a night and a day, and he was even stoned (2 Cor. 11:22-27). In all that he endured, his faith in Christ didn’t waver. And he was content (Phili. 4:11) and filled with the joy of the Lord.

That’s one thing that people who don’t know Christ cannot understand: how Christians can suffer and experience hardships, but still have the joy of the Lord in our hearts. Nobody is happy to be mistreated. Nobody smiles when they are getting stoned or beaten. Contentment and happiness are two different things.

I can be unhappy about a situation, yet still be joyful and content in my soul, because I know Whom it is that I serve, that trials are temporary, and that God is for me so no one can seriously be against me and get away with it or win (Rom 8:31). That’s why James said that we can count it all joy when we experience various troubles (James 1:2-3).

I look to the unseen, not just what’s before me. So, when others mistreat me or when I am persecuted for being a disciple of Christ, I can still have joy – and I do. My joy, my contentment, and my citizenship is not tied up in this life. I’m living to live again.

So when someone is not kind to me, is not considerate of my thoughts, or is not respectful of my rights, then I take comfort in serving the God of heaven because none of those things really matter to me in the big scheme of things (2 Cor. 4:18). Of course, those things don’t produce happy, feel-good emotions. But, I don’t lose heart just because the enemy is persecuting me. No, I take courage in Christ and my spirit is being renewed which each new day that the Lord blesses me with.

You may see me as weak in tearing me down. But I delight in that, because when I am weak, it’s then….then, that, I am strong.

“So I take pleasure in weaknesses, insults, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:10

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