Self-Dependence Is Weakness

MONDAY, MAY 16, 2016

The Mercy of Trials

The question is not whether or not you will face trials. The question is, how will you respond when you do? – Trip Lee (Hip-hop artist and teaching pastor at Cornerstone Church in Atlanta, Georgia)

Key Bible Verse: So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Dig Deeper: 2 Corinthians 12:1-10

When I feel like everything in my life is going well, my heart immediately retreats into self-dependence. It never fails. I start to pray less because I subconsciously assume I don’t lack anything. I become proud because I think I’m the reason everything’s going well. In those times, I forget that God is the giver of good gifts and I still need him to sustain me. I assume I’m entitled to all his mercies.

But when trials come our way, they show us our own weakness. Sickness reminds us how fragile we are, layoffs remind us that hard work doesn’t guarantee anything, and conflict reminds us that we need Jesus in every area of our lives.

Second Corinthians 12 is a comfort to me in times of weakness. Paul recognized that God gave him a trial to “keep [him] from becoming conceited” (v.7, NIV, et al.). And Paul said he boasted gladly in his weakness and that he was content with all kinds of trials (vv. 9-10). How could Paul be content and even glad about his trials? I think Paul was saying that the trials made clear he needed God’s grace and power. Self-dependence is weakness, and dependence on Christ is strength. Paul said, “When I am weak, then I am strong.” (v.10).

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