Today’s readings: Numbers 1-3, Mark 3
Today’s Thoughts: Strength in Jesus
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
The Bible is filled with stories and teachings that go completely contrary, or against, the views of the world. In Matthew 6:24, Jesus warned us that we could not serve both God and mammon (money). Later, the apostle John would write: "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John 2:15) But today's scripture verse seems to go even a step farther. Paul tells us to "take pleasure" in the things in our lives that make us weak, such as sickness and all other types of distresses. How many of us can truly say that we find pleasure in being sick, having financial problems, family struggles or even persecution from various sources?
As Christians, we are told not only to believe in Jesus, but to follow Him. In Luke 14:27-28, Jesus speaks of those who choose to follow Him, that they must leave everything else behind. He tells them to count the cost before they make their decision. We live in a world today that promotes "self" and all of the accolades that go along with self gratification and satisfaction. We want to be comfortable, we do not want to suffer. Even the weather can dampen our spirits. We have our days so well-planned, so tightly-scheduled that even one deviation from our plan can send us into a frenzy. Throw in sickness and other types of problems and we soon find out where our strength is based. If our strength is not in Christ, then we are headed for a fall. For some of us, we fall several times a day. Jesus says that when we are weak, He is strong. When we truly follow Jesus, we will discover just how weak we really are. It is in the weakness of our lives that He is able to show His power and might. Paul learned to glory in his weaknesses because he saw the Lord work in a more powerful way through him.
We will have troubles in this world, despite our efforts to avoid them. We will have sickness, needs, and distresses, but contrary to the world's teachings, we can take pleasure in these times of weakness. Why? Because Jesus will show us His strength and power in glorious ways. Sin brought these bad things into our world, but Jesus has made a way for us to live through them with peace and joy. Today, instead of complaining about your circumstances, regardless of how painful they may be, ask the Lord to give you His strength through them. Allow yourself to be weak and dependent on Jesus. And, finally, give Him thanks for all that is happening in your life. Look up and see the glory of the Lord, for He is above the activities of this world.