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Faith: Strengths and weaknesses from a Biblical perspective

If given the choice, would you prefer to be strong or weak? Most people would likely choose to be strong.

If given the choice, would you prefer to be strong or weak? Most people would likely choose to be strong. Who would choose to have a weak and frail body?

Some years ago, an ad appeared in comic books and magazines that promised the development of a strong body like
“Charles Atlas.”

It showed a beach scene with a scrawny young man sitting with an attractive young woman. Along came a big muscle-bound bully who kicked sand into his face. The girl urged her man to do something, and he got up to confront the big guy.

All he succeeded in doing was to get insulted (called a 94-pound weakling and a wimp) and threatened. Scrawny guy gives up in disgrace, and his girl is embarrassed to be seen with him.

Then enters the Charles Atlas development program. Scrawny guy takes the course and develops a strong, well-muscled physique.

The next scene has the young man on the same beach with the same girl. Along comes the same bully who does the same thing, but when the young man stands up, the bully realizes his mistake and apologizes for being so foolish as to kick sand in his face, and retreats in shame.

All the girls surround the new hero to admire him, and his girl is proud to be seen with him now.

The lesson is clear: develop a strong body, and you will get the attention of the girls.

The Bible says a lot about being strong and something about being weak.

Joshua, the new leader of Israel, needed to lead a strong army to defeat the Canaanites so the Israelites could enter the Promised Land. God encouraged him to “Be strong and of good courage.”

The Christians in Corinth were told to be brave and be strong, so they could stand firm in the faith. (I Corinthians Chapter 16 Verse 13)

The Christians in Ephesus were told to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, so they could stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians Chapter 6 Verse 10)

Young Timothy was told to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, so he could teach others and endure hardship. (II Timothy Chapter 2 Verses 1-3)

It is natural for us to want to be strong, decisive, capable, and adequate to meet every challenge. Yet the Apostle Paul seems to say that certain weaknesses are a good thing. (II Corinthians Chapter 12 Verses 7-10). 

This is surprising coming from a man like Paul because by nature he was aggressive and strong-willed. One weakness he had to accept was a physical handicap; he called it “a thorn in the flesh.” There have been many suggestions as to what it might be, but no one really knows for sure. It must have been very unpleasant because Paul says he had prayed three times to be free from it, but the Lord told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” It must be that physical weakness is not such a bad thing if it leads to receiving spiritual strength from the Lord. There are other ways of being strong besides being physically strong.

It starts by having a living faith in a living Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ. That spiritual life is strengthened by reading and meditating on the Word of God. Joshua was told he would be a strong leader of Israel if he would let the words of Scripture mold his life.

The other thing that complements Scripture is prayer. “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah Chapter 40, Verse 31). To “wait on the Lord” equals prayer.

God has provided these means to enable us to become strong spiritually.

It is inevitable that these mortal bodies become weak. We might think we are invincible and self-sufficient, but disease and tragedy can strike without warning, and we may be reduced to a physical weakness we never anticipated.

What Scripture says as written by the Apostle Paul so long ago is still true. “Our outward person is perishing, but the inward person is being renewed day to day” (if spiritual life is present). If we should find ourselves becoming weak in body, that should inform us that we need the Lord Jesus more than ever to be our strength and Saviour. When I am weak, that is when I need the Lord to make me strong.”

Lorne Moorhead is a retired pastor living in Flin Flon.

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