Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The ability to be weak in the presence of God is an invitation for His Presence to be strong within us.

2 Corinthians 12:9

Joke: A job applicant was asked, “What would you consider to be your main strengths and weaknesses?”

“Well,” he began, “my main weakness would definitely be my issues with reality. Sometimes I have a little trouble telling what’s real and what’s not.”

“Okay,” said the interviewer. “And what are your strengths?”

“I’m Batman.”

Intro: Weakness. It’s something we try so hard to avoid, something we try so hard to overcome, conquer or ignore. And yet for all of our efforts to be strong; to be perfected, we are only to conclude that the closer we get, the longer the journey becomes. Weakness never really goes away and often when it does, it is only to give life to a new weakness.

Now society is full of self-help solutions. The voices of this world will tell us to focus on our strengths, or that if we are determined and ambitious enough, we can overcome our weaknesses. But the fact of the matter is that the world so fears weakness that it is even willing to oppress and kill the weak. Those who fail to meet the ideals of what this world defines as strength are typically cast aside.

Now I’m not denying that this world has compassion. I firmly believe that everyone on earth recognizes the need for a savior. We just seem to differ in what our understanding of a savior is and in who our understanding of the Savior is.

But what if I told you that the very things we despise about ourselves may actually be our greatest weapon?

Illustration: There was a ten-year-old boy who decided to study judo, despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident. The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn’t understand why, after three months of training, the master had taught him only one move.

“Master,” the boy finally said, “shouldn’t I be learning more moves?”

“I realize that this is the only move you know, but this may be the only move you’ll ever need to know,” the master replied.

Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training.

Several months later, the master took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged. The boy deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his success, the boy made the finals. This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out. He was about to stop the match when the master intervened.

“No,” the master insisted. “Let him continue.”

As soon as the match resumed, his opponent rushed in on him. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy won the match and the tournament. He was now the champion.

On the way home, the boy and master reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind.

“Master, how could I possibly have won that tournament with only one move?”

The master turned to the boy and answered, “You won for two reasons. First, you have been able to master the most difficult throw in all of judo. And second, the only known defense for that move that you have mastered is for your opponent to grab your left arm.”

The boy’s biggest weakness had become his biggest strength.

(By Robert Vogel)

(1 Corinthians 1:27) …God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,

Let’s face it, if we were to pool our collective stories together we would likely find crippling accounts of weakness: health issues, physical or emotional defects, abuse, violence, alcoholism, porn addictions, divorces, injustices, anger, bitterness and pain. The scars we bare would likely begin to sting again as we revealed tales of betrayal, loved ones letting us down, friends leaving, loneliness, frustration & rejection.

Like the Island of Misfit Toys, we can all relate to what it means to fall short somewhere in life; whether it’s in the eyes of others or ourselves, or by the standard of God’s word. Even the most put together person you can imagine has a weakness. Truthfully we’ve all been hurt. Some of us are just more honest about it. What it amounts to is that no one is perfect and that’s ok……for now.

In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul observed this as he pondered his own standing in relationship to his peers, in the eyes of his audience, and in his relationship with Jesus Christ.

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