“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. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
How discouraging it can be to see what evil still dwells in our hearts! How we pray and long to be more like Christ, and to see more of Him in us. What weaknesses we feel within us, particularly in our hearts that are so slow to love, to pray, to follow Christ obediently.
What are the purposes of the LORD in allowing our sins to remain within us (although they do not reign over us)? Why does He not remove every ounce of the poison and venom of indwelling sin all at once? The LORD wills that we feel our depravity and weakness, so that we would know Christ better.
“They would not have known so much of Christ, if they had not known so much of themselves.” Hear the very wise John Newton:
“If the evils we feel [within our hearts] were not capable of being over-ruled for good (Rom. 8:28), God would not permit them to remain in us. This we may infer from His hatred of sin, and the love which He bears to His people…But God has gracious purposes in giving us a sense of our sinful weaknesses, so that when we feel our depravity, we may also see the power, wisdom and faithfulness of Christ, our Savior.
Hereby the Lord Jesus Christ is more endeared to the soul; all boasting is effectually excluded, and the glory of a full and free salvation is ascribed to Him alone!
The righteous are said to be scarcely saved, not with respect to the certainty of the event, for the purpose of God in their favor cannot be disappointed, but in respect of their own apprehensions, and the great difficulties they are brought through.
When, after a long experience of their own deceitful hearts, after repeated proofs of their weakness, willfulness, ingratitude, and insensitivity to others, they find that none of these things can separate them from the love of God in Christ, Jesus becomes more and more precious to their souls.
They love much, because much has been forgiven them.
They dare not, they will not ascribe anything to themselves, but are glad to acknowledge, that they must have perished (if possible) a thousand times over, if JESUS had not been their Savior, their Shepherd, and their Shield.
When they were wandering, he brought them back; when fallen he raised them; when wounded he healed them; when fainting he revived them. By Him, out of weakness they have been made strong: He has taught their hands to war, and covered their heads in the day of battle. In a word, some of the clearest proofs they have had of His excellence, have been occasioned by the mortifying proofs they have had of their own vileness and sinfulness. They would not have known so much of Him, if they had not known so much of themselves!” – John Newton
As we recognize what we are as people from the heart, it is humbling. The humbling that we understand, experience and feel is good because God is particularly close to the broken and contrite in spirit (Isaiah 57:15; Matthew 5:3). God is pleased to humble us so that we will depend more on Christ. Our experiences are the Lord’s school to us where we learn wisdom. Even the sinful mistakes we make, and the folly that we find in our poor decisions, are part of the “all things” that work out for good for us, that also glorifies God (Romans 8:28).
When we are humbled, we truly understand that apart from Christ we can do NOTHING (John 15:5), and so we seek Him more, and want to learn of Him more, and we realize we have more of a need for Him. We realize that He loves us more than we at first understood, because he loves unconditionally and contra-conditionally wicked sinners by nature who have lived to offend God.
As we understand our need, so we may come boldly (and quickly!) to the Throne of Grace, and find help for us in every step of our Christian lives. Because of Christ Jesus, we are forgiven, loved, accepted in the Beloved, and nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:31-39). Amen.
ESV Hebrews 4:15-16: For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Love in Christ,