Calling All Weaklings

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“Whether to [work] or to suffer for our Lord, we must have strength from above, and that strength can come to us only through faith.  The remarkable mighty saints of Hebrews 11 accomplished all their feats by a power that was not in them by nature.  They were not naturally strong either to do or to suffer.  If they had been, they would not have required faith in God.  They were quite as weak as the weakest of us, but by their faith they laid hold on heavenly strength until they could do all things.” – Charles Spurgeon

The longer I live, the more I realize how absolutely weak I am.

I have as much power to change my children’s hearts as an ant has of knocking over a sequoia.  My desire to read Scripture is about as hot as a 3-day old used teabag.  My zeal to serve others pales next to my craving for comfort.  Oh weakling that I am!  Who will deliver me from my spiritual puniness?

The Lord puts us in situations that reveal our weakness so we’ll look to him for strength.  He leads us to the lapping waters of the Red Sea with Egyptians hot on our tail so we’ll cry out to him and see his mighty arm.  He throws us into a den with lions, or a rebellious teen or an unreasonable boss, so we’ll learn that the battle is not ours, but the Lord’s.

Weakness forces us to exercise faith in Christ.

It forces us to look up, to seek by faith strength outside ourselves.  It presses us to lay hold on heavenly strength.  When we’re up against the Red Sea with Egyptian hoofbeats and chariot wheels rumbling in our ears, we MUST exercise faith.  We MUST put our trust in God.

If we were strong in ourselves, we wouldn’t need faith.  If the Israelites had been a mighty army, they could have fought Egypt themselves.  But God exposes our feebleness to show us that our only hope is to trust in Christ to strengthen us, as Israel’s only hope was to trust God to deliver them.

Remind yourself that nothing is impossible to God, nothing is too hard for him.  Set your hope fully on God.  When you pray, thank God that the prayer of the upright is powerful and effective, even if you feel like your prayers barely limp off your lips.

Whether you need strength to do God’s work, or patiently suffer, lay hold on the might of the One who “gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint”  (Is 40.29-31).

photo by M.V. Jantzen

  • http://www.thewarriorsforchrist.blogspot.com Caroline

    God revealed my selfish attitude today at work and was very discouraged.Something that amazes me is the working of the Holy Spirit and you wrote this post today, it is such an encouragement. Thank you for the verses, its good at the end of the day(curr time:4:56pm Pune, India) to go back home with it :)

    • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Mark Altrogge

      Hi Caroline,

      I’m grateful for the blood of Jesus that atoned for all my selfishness, and for the hope of changing by his almighty power! I’m grateful the post would encourage you. Thanks for letting me know!

  • http://www.franklyput.wordpress.com Frank

    God’s timing is impressive, and perfect as always. It’s only 8:30, and everything has fought me today…traffic, my car, my kids, my selfishness, even my coffee pot. Spent 20 minutes trying to settle down with my Bible, and even that was interrupted. But my prayers have been those of desperation, and that can only be good. Thanks for another awesome post.

    • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Mark Altrogge

      Hi Frank,

      Thanks for your comments. The Lord loves our prayers of desperation. Even your coffee pot fought you? Now THAT is serious. I don’t think I could survive that one.

  • http://www.worshipfulreader.blogspot.com Ron Reffett

    Hey Mark,
    What amazing timing! I really needed this today, last week was a horrendous week and this week isn’t much better. I am greatly encouraged though because I know that God is still in control and He has allowed these difficult circumstances into my life to increase my reliance on Him. I am so thankful that you shared this today…I definitely needed it!
    Blessings
    Ron Reffett

    • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Mark Altrogge

      Hi Ron,

      Praise God for his goodness. He is doing a great work in your life. I know you are doing this, but keep seeking him, keep asking him to work powerfully in every situation you face for his glory. Nothing is too hard for him. Thanks for letting me know this encouraged you. I will keep praying for you, and if you’d like to email me privately with more details so I can pray, I’d be happy to have you do that.

  • http://www.asacrificeofpraise.wordpress.com emily

    thank you Mark, the last few weeks have been very difficult for me and i’ve found myself losing hope as I become continually more aware of my weakness. what a timely reminder… yet again.

    in my pride, I often desire to be strong for Christ… to do all things well. its humbling yet simultaneously richly encouraging to realize yet again that God calls for humility… He wants my weakness and dependence so that His grace and power will shine through me.

    i’m glad that through every change He remains faithful. seeing His faithfulness continually on display in my circumstances increases my faith and trust in Him.

    • http://www.asacrificeofpraise.wordpress.com emily

      by the way, Mark, thanks for writing "it was your grace" from the Valley of Vision cd… i think that song encapsulates this idea…

      in my weakness, he gives still more grace… but not grace to then step up and do it in my own strength… He gives grace for me to cast myself on Him, dependent on ever more grace.

      i love that song. and it encourages me so often just to remember that it's all about His grace.

      • http://www.worshipfulreader.blogspot.com Ron Reffett

        I would say amen to that! and ditto on the comments about “it was your grace” I receieved that cd on the day my Mom was admitted to a nursing home, was a very timely song.
        Blessings
        Ron Reffett

        • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Mark Altrogge

          Hi Ron,

          You also are a great encourager! Thanks so much for all your encouragement. I’m so grateful any of my songs would ever serve anyone.

      • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Mark Altrogge

        Thanks so much for all your encouragement, Emily. I really appreciate it. So often, when we write our songs, we hope they will encourage people, but often we don’t hear about it. You are certainly an encourager!

    • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Mark Altrogge

      Hi Emily,

      Thanks for your comments – you are so right, when we are weak and dependent his grace and power shines through us. Keep hoping, Emily. Keep holding firm to Jesus! He will continue to be faithful to you.

  • http://WebsiteURL Sara

    Mark,
    So grateful you’re our pastor! Thanks for shepherding our souls. I know you can’t relate to this perfectly, but pregnancy really shows me my weakness! haha! I need to hear that yes, Jesus is still strong enough for me, even when standing on my own two feet to make lunch tempts me to have a temper tantrum. I am glad He is merciful even when I can’t believe He could possibly be merciful toward me one minute longer!

    • http://www.theblazingcenter.com Mark Altrogge

      Hi Sara,

      I’m glad I can’t relate to being pregnant, but I have had times I’ve felt really lousy, and they certainly squeeze my heart to reveal my weakness and sin. Yeah – so glad our Lord is so full of mercy!