We are too strong!
But like me I suspect you think you are not strong enough.
After all, I have weaknesses, shortcomings, lack, inabilities and blindspots. These weaknesses can easily intimidate and confine me – but my main problem is not that I’m too weak. My main problem is I’m too strong.
We generally buy into a narrative which says to be successful we have to become stronger. Everyone from sporting teams, company directors, politicians, school academies and basically every other sector of society are all trying to build strength in order to be successful.
Churches do the same thing – If we had a stronger team, more financial resources, better buildings, more personal gifting etc then we could be more successful at doing what we do. It is of course a logical argument but the problem is not that we are too weak, it is we are too strong.
Gideon was a man aware of his weakness (Judges 6). He declared himself to be the lowest in his family and his family to be the lowest in his clan. He didn’t feel very strong – but as is God’s character, He saw through all this weakness and said the Lord is with you ‘mighty warrior’. God saw Gideons weakness as a perfect opportunity to display His strength.
Go forward in the story (Judges 7) and Gideon aquires an army – a pretty sizeable army of 32,000 fighting men – not bad going! The problem was the oppressive enemy nation had an army of 135,000. The lowest in his family, from the lowest family in his tribe and now with the smallest army – poor Gideon!
What would you do? I may begin to plan a recruitment and training programme to overcome my weakness and match the enemies strength.
What did God do? He said ‘let’s reduce the numbers because you are too strong’.
He directed a filter process which whittled the army of 32,000 fighting men down to just 300. And with these 300 men they were now weak enough to be fully reliant on God and know miraculous success!
The issue here wasn’t that God can’t use strength. The issue was that when we have strength we avoid relying fully on God. God didn’t say they couldn’t win with 32,000 but He said if they did, they would believe it was their own strength that accomplished the victory. This would have resulted in missing a very important lesson; that an army of just ONE is big enough when God is fighting for us.
If God is for us who can be against us! (Romans 8:31)
When we change our understanding from ‘God is on my side’ to ‘I am God’s side’ nothing is impossible. When we surrender fully to God and allow Him to guide our steps, our weakness can be a wonderful partner for the strength of the Lord. This is not a time for the church to hide in any sense of inadequacy. This is a time for the church to shine in the darkness, to loose chains of injustice and see the good news of the gospel breakthrough in the toughest of communities. This is a time for the church not to rely on its own strength but to surrender to Gods. Whether your church has 5 people or 5000 is not important. What’s important is are we surrendered. Are we humbling ourselves before His ability or pridefully trying to do it all in our own strength.
Come on church let’s stop hiding in the winepress. Let’s stop allowing the enemy of our souls to destroy our communities. Let’s stop saying we are too weak. Let’s stop saying ‘when we have more resources we can do it’. Let’s humble ourselves and rise up boldly now with the revelation that ‘greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world’. (1 John 4:4)
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