This is the fourth message in our series “Think About It: Christian Cliches… what’s this even mean?” Other messages in the series include “What’s it Mean to Invite Jesus into Your Heart?” “It’s Not My Gift” and “Let Go, Let God.”
Think about the strongest Christian you know. What is he or she like?
When we think about strong Christians, we think about someone who knows the Bible inside-out, who is bold about sharing their faith, whose prayer-life is something we could only imagine having. Essentially… we think about a Christian ninja. And we know that does NOT describe us!
But what if being a strong Christian is about something else? What if you don’t need to be a Christian ninja for God to use you?
Be a Weak Christian
“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 12:10)
If you think you’re strong enough to earn God’s favor, to keep God’s commandments, to be a “good person” on your own strength… if you think you’re strong enough for these then you cannot be a Christian. Instead, Christianity is an acknowledgement that we can’t do it. We admit, “God, I’m a sinner. I’m broken and I can’t fix myself. I don’t deserve your love, but I joyfully receive your grace and forgiveness as a gift through Jesus Christ.”
Strong Christians are weak. As you grow more Christlike in your faith, the more you begin to realize your sinfulness. So if you look at yourself and think, “I’m pretty good. I’m not too much of a sinner,” then that’s only proof that you’re weaker than you realize.
If you want to be a strong Christian, you need to be a weak one first.
Be a Strong Christian
“…whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:11)
When we do grow strong it is purely through the strength God supplies. And he doesn’t make us strong so we can become bodybuilders – posing on the stage and flexing our spiritual muscles for others to admire. No! We are made strong in order to carry the burdens of others who are weak, so they might see the love and grace of God displayed through us.
If you think you’re strong, then ask yourself, “How am I helping people in need around me?” If you’re not, then ask God for the strength and courage you need.
Who God Uses
“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;”(1 Corinthians 1:27)
God uses ordinary Joes. You don’t need to be the captain of the team. You don’t need to be on the Honor Society. Maybe you’re in danger of being kept back a year in school. Maybe you’re on the team, but the coach never puts you in the game.
God can use you!
God uses the foolish to shame the wise, the weak to shame the strong.
“Could God really use me?!”
Abraham was a liar (Genesis 20:1-15)
David was an adulterer and killed Bathsheba’s husband (2 Samuel 11)
Peter denied Christ (Luke 22:54-62)
Paul was the leader of ISIS (he literally led the extremists who were hunting down Christians and killing them. Acts 9)
But they all received grace, repented, and did great things by the strength of God!
If you ever feel like you’re too messed up or too useless for God to use, then remember this list! The Bible is full of people God used to accomplish incredible things, but the Bible also tells us about their flaws and failures. These failures are included in Scripture to remind us that it wasn’t their strength, but God’s strength which accomplished these amazing things. The men and women of Scripture were obedient to the grace of God, and God supplied the strength!
Here are some questions to consider:
- Have you admitted your weakness before God and received his grace (or are you still trying to prove that you don’t need him)?
- Are you relying on his strength through faith (or are you only doing things that you’re strong enough to do on your own)?
- What might God be calling you to do that you’ll need HIS strength to accomplish?