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 The Strength of Weakness

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PostSubject: The Strength of Weakness   Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:43 am

Strength is that which is relied upon and takes precedence in faith.  For the unlearned believer it is much on self (old self), until it is learned that since self always desires “preeminence” (3Jhn 1:9) it must progressively be denied the outward workings of its “motions of sins” (Rom 7:5) more than not.  For the learned believer, true strength is not even in the new self, but in the Lord Jesus, for Scriptural instruction reveals to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might” (Eph 6:10), which strength is “by My Spirit” (Zec 4:6), as are all things that proceed from the Father and the Son.
 
The principle of displacement is a universal law which involves the concept that no two elements can occupy the same space simultaneously, thus to be strong in Christ is to be weak (lack of dependence) in self (new or old), for there can be no dependence upon both simultaneously.  Thus, it should be axiomatic that the learning of this instruction is paramount if strength is desired—it being among the chief spiritual growth truths, which I believe is well displayed in 1Peter 5:7.
 
- NC
 
 
 
The Strength of Weakness
 
Paul prayed three times that the thorn in the flesh might be removed, but the Lord did not relieve him of it.  It was for Paul’s good to have it*.  We do not know what it was, and this leaves the principle open for general application.  It was something that kept Paul in the constant sense of weakness as to himself.  Great pain is not so trying to a man as the sense of positive weakness.  A man can steel himself against positive suffering, and harden himself to beat it by resolution of will.  But to be reduced to absolute weakness brings a man down as nothing else does.
 
You are obliged to go down under weakness; you cannot gird yourself up against it as you might against external trials or even pain.  Paul was brought down to be conscious of nothing but weakness in himself.  His life and service were carried on really in resurrection power, as he says, “We ourselves had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not have trusted in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead” (2Cor 1:9).
 
All this exercise goes on down here in the one who has been conscious of being caught up to paradise as “a man in Christ” (2Cor 12:2).  If, on the one hand, we touch the infinite privilege of “a man in Christ,” we must be prepared, on the other, for the discipline of God which brings death in upon what we are naturally, so that we may prove the grace of the Lord, and lean how divine power is perfected in human weakness.
 
A dear servant, now with the Lord, used to say that the angels excel in strength but the saints excel in weakness.  It was so with Paul.  He gloried in his weakness that the power of the Lord Jesus Christ might tabernacle on him.  Many Christians are too strong to learn what this means.  Will and energy are the great things in the world, and a great many think that what is effective in the world can be effective in the things of God.  But it is not so.
 
Divine power does not work along with human power.  Human power has to be set aside that divine power may be perfected in human weakness.  Many a man is ineffective in the service of God because he is too strong.  If we pray for more divine power it is most likely the Father will answer by causing us to experience our own utter weakness and nothingness as never before.  This is humbling to us, but it is the Father’s blessed and holy way of preparing vessels fit for the Master’s use.  The power of man must be set aside, crucified*, if the resurrection life of the Lord Jesus is to be manifested in our “mortal bodies” (Rom 8:11).
 
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2Cor 12:9, 10).
 
- C A Coates
 
 
 
Poster’s Notes:
 
*”for Paul’s good”: How can the author claim that the “thorn in the flesh” was good for Paul?  Primarily because regardless of what transpires in the life of a believer, it must “work” for the “good” of the believer (Rom 8:28), and I am doubtless it is because not only are all occurrences foreknown, but are also pre-designed, “according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph 1:11).  It is highly instructional to learn that God has predetermined and foreordained all things for our good within everything we or anyone will think, feel, say or do—none of which can evade His providential provisions.
 
*”power of a man”: I know of no other power within humanity itself greater than its nature, because I believe it is the nature of beings which determines their finality; i.e. all possess the “old man,” or sinful nature, but only believers avoid living by it (Rom 6:6) and instead live by a “new man,” or nature (Rom 6:13).
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PostSubject: Re: The Strength of Weakness   Tue Jan 27, 2015 11:54 am

Excellent and timely message, truly a pleasure to read thanks be to God.
Very interesting, immediately after reading and commenting on your post I opened my e-mail inbox to this:
 
From your friends at
www.RayStedman.org
Read the Scripture: [url=http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/index.php?search=Mark 14:53-72&version=NIV%3b&interface=print]Mark 14:53-72[/url]
Quote :
He began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, I don't know this man you're talking about (Mark 14:71).
Mark is careful to point out the contrast between Jesus' speaking under oath in the inner courtroom and Peter's oath in the courtyard. Jesus said He was the Messiah, the Son of God, and Peter denied that he knew Jesus at all. That was a solemn and serious oath, and just then, Mark says, the rooster crowed the second time. Peter's conscience smote him. He knew what he had done, and according to the account here, he broke down and wept. The word for broke down is very strong in Greek. He literally went out and threw himself down on the ground in agony and tears of repentance, and remorse began to flow as he thought of what he had done.
I think we can see why Mark has so carefully weaved this story together for us. Nothing intrigues me more in this account in the gospels than to see the careful way the writers of Scripture choose incidents that belong together and put them side by side. Mark has done that here so that we might see the contrast. Here is a band of priests who hate Jesus. Their hearts are filled with venom and anger and jealousy and bitterness against Him. And all of it comes spilling out in the spitting and buffeting that follow the verdict. Contrasted to this is a man who loves Jesus with all his heart and is determined to defend Him to the end. And yet, in the moment of crisis, he fails Jesus. He denies that he even knows Him.
Why does Mark put these two situations side by side? He does it so that we might understand that both of them manifest the same thing; both show the undependability of human nature--the flesh, as the Bible calls it. These priests were men of the flesh, men who lived according to the ways of the world, men who were seeking for status and prestige and position. Jesus was a threat to their position and awakened their hatred and their anger, which they expressed in this terrible accusation and mockery and violence. That is the flesh at work. Everybody recognizes that hatred and anger and vehemence are wrong. But what Mark wants us to see is that the love of Peter was no better. It too was depending on the flesh, on human abilities and human resources, to carry him through. In the hour of crisis, it was no more effective than the hatred of the priests. Love and loyalty and faithfulness mean nothing when they rest on the shaky foundation of the determination of a human will.
The most hopeful note here is the tears of Peter. The priests didn't weep. But Peter, when he denied his Lord, threw himself down and wept. Failure is never the end of the story. Peter's tears speak of another day that is yet to come when the Lord will deliver him and restore him, having learned a sobering and salutary lesson.
Quote :
Father, there will come times when I will be confronted with failure. I will find myself, like Peter, doing the very thing I didn't want to do, denying the Lord who bought me. Help me to understand that I must not count upon the power of the flesh to accomplish Your work.
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PostSubject: Re: The Strength of Weakness   Tue Jan 27, 2015 1:52 pm

@theunknownpoet wrote:
Excellent and timely message, truly a pleasure to read thanks be to God.
Very interesting, immediately after reading and commenting on your post I opened my e-mail inbox to this:
Hi TUP - Thanks for the reply!
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PostSubject: Re: The Strength of Weakness   Tue Jan 27, 2015 3:31 pm

The pleasure was all mine N.C., I enjoyed reading it...very inspiring!

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PostSubject: Re: The Strength of Weakness   Tue Jan 27, 2015 3:42 pm

@theunknownpoet wrote:
The pleasure was all mine N.C., I enjoyed reading it...very inspiring!
I know what you mean.  Many of the materials of which I share are about 3 centuries or more old.  I've been studying them in Scripture for 15 years now and learning from them more all the time in the sharing.

I share them, along with some original articles on 13 sites now and with about 40 on a group email list from various churches, thus many are learning the spiritual growth truths contained in them.

God's blessings to your Family, and God Be Blessed!
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PostSubject: Re: The Strength of Weakness   Tue Jan 27, 2015 3:44 pm

I think I've run across your blog or one of them at some point in the blogosphere?
God's abundant Blessings be unto to you and yours'.
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PostSubject: Re: The Strength of Weakness   Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:33 pm

Would you kindly read my poem "unnerved" in the poetry section and offer your insights please?
Perhaps it is too harsh for sensitive ears?

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PostSubject: Re: The Strength of Weakness   Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:57 pm

@theunknownpoet wrote:
Would you kindly read my poem "unnerved" in the poetry section and offer your insights please?
Perhaps it is too harsh for sensitive ears?
I believe what you've shared there is applicable and accurate in pertaining to the unsaved, who "know not what they do."
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