Living the gospel in weakness

I have been working on a project on the topic that I – HANDS DOWN – feel most passionate about.  Weakness.  Why is it that so many mature-Christian-faith-parties are crashed by the onset of weakness in our fallen world?  In part, I know the answer is in the question – we live in a fallen  world.  But even more… has the church equipped God’s people with a theology of weakness so that they find the gospel in their weakness rather than faithlessness and fear?  Not on a broad scale.  Has the church equipped God’s people to refreshingly and transparently live out the gospel through their weaknesses before the onlooking world (a world which is, by the way, in search of anything that will alleviate their accurate perception of their own weakness)?  Seems not.  I will write about this subject in the weeks/months to come, but the following is a little excerpt from my ‘project’ – Why I don’t want to be a Strong Christian: Living the Gospel in Weakness  (OK, it’s a book in embryo – any publishers out there?!?!)

“I love the church.  For the sake of Christ, I long for the church to live the gospel before the onlooking world.  That is only the reason for this book – that the church, by God’s grace and for God’s glory, might live the gospel in a contagious and attractive way; that individuals who are filled with the Holy Spirit and governed by God’s Word would live and love the gospel in a spirit of dependency.  In my life, the churches and believers who have attracted my attention and ignited a contagious passion for the gospel have done so through weakness-sharing.  I have never seen a ‘strong’ Christian live the gospel, though I have heard ‘strong’ Christians articulate the gospel.  I have never seen a church filled with strong people live the gospel, though I have been in strong churches that celebrate the gospel.  Corporately and individually, I have never seen the gospel lived apart from weakness.  This book is about living the gospel.

That being said, at the risk of self-deprecation, I divulge my deeper motive: I confess that I naturally fight against this.  I want to be strong.  I cozy up to the idea that others might think of me as a strong Christian (especially because I know I’m not).  I want the label, though I am offended by it.  I idolize position and prestige and strength.  Simply put, I am not content with weakness, though I am familiar with it.  Thus in this book, you read my attempt to permanently reframe my mind and cement in my heart a biblical theology of weakness.  Because I am weak, whether I like it or not, I am in the privileged position to trip over the gospel with every step.  Why would I turn away from such a continual reminder?  This book is a chronicle of my footsteps.  I am a journeyman walking in weakness, but I am not alone.  I walk beside my wife in her weakness, in front of my children in their weakness, in front of my church in its weakness, and in view of my community in its weakness. 

 So I confess to you that, in my flesh, I would rather walk with a swagger than limp with a Savior.  Using the pattern of Paul’s words in Romans 7:22-23, I confess that:  In my inner being I delight in the thought that weakness is the means of gospel dependency on a Savior who became weak for me, but I see in my members another law waging war against that gospel – that I am supposed to be a strong Christian.   

I don’t want to be a strong Christian.”    (quote copyrighted by … blah)

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4 thoughts on “Living the gospel in weakness

  1. CovenantBride says:

    yeah…thisi s soooooooooo needed…whaat a great post…thx… be bless… -g-

  2. Jeremy says:

    Hi

    Certainly see where you are coming from and acknowledge there is some real truth in that. However, there are two sides to the coin. Many Christians are so focused on how weak they are in their own abilites that they fail to grasp “I can do all things through Christ” ie the strength we now have in God. So when faced with things like the great commission they pray only for God to sovereignly move beleiving that is the only way we will see revival rather than rising up as sons and daughters in the likeness of Christ and asking God what actions he wants us to take to actually bring it about. In saying that I

  3. Rob says:

    Reflections on a theology of weakness:

    We need to consider the wise function of weakness in God’s NT economy. Paul’s choice was to manifest a gospel that was not muddled with the attachments of his personal wisdom, persuasive speech, or apostolic authority in order that the greatness of God’s goodness and sufficiency would not be missed. I think this is always the case; in all the opportunities to frame the primary focus and front line story of Christ we allow our stories to be peripheral and at best merely illustrative to the truth of the gospel.

  4. weakchristian says:

    Rob, obvious theological astuteness on your part! Thank you for your words. I concur with you, and sense your posture of biblical humility. “Our stories are peripheral and merely illustrative to the truth of the gospel (story)” – I like that. My only thought in response is that the apostle Paul did not just make the choice to manifest a gospel that was not muddled with the attachments of his credentials, he also manifested the gospel through the weaknesses he discovered about himself that he could not choose to keep or wish away. 2 Cor. 12 is about a weakness that – had he the choice – he would have dismissed, but the Lord chose him to embody the gospel through said weakness. Paul’s choice for a ministry philosophy of self-periphery (as you point out) is apropos and the model I pray we all emulate… Then again, there were weaknesses he did not choose nor have the power to choose-away – driving his dependence upon a strong gospel all the more (by choice and necessity). Blessings in all your ministry Rob!

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