Your Most Overlooked Asset

 

I’m the type of guy who prefers to cover up his weaknesses. I doubt I’m alone in the preference.

But the longer I walk with Jesus, the more I’m convinced that’s the wrong way to go about things.

Jesus, through his incarnation, intentionally took on weakness (Phil 2:6-8).Saint_Paul,_Rembrandt_van_Rijn_(and_Workshop-),_c._1657

Jesus told the Apostle Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9).

So the Apostle Paul responds, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 2:10).

And in an earlier letter (to the same church), Paul reminds us that when it comes to spiritual gifts of those in the body of Christ, “those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable” (1 Cor 12:22).

What starts to become clear is that, as Christians, our greatest weakness might actually be our greatest asset. Notice I didn’t say strength. I know Paul said that when he is weak, he is strong. But we often hear his words differently than he intends.  At least I do.

I tend to think that if I give my weakness over to God, that somehow he’ll take away the weakness. Or at least the weakness won’t bother me as much– that is, I won’t feel as hindered by it. But that is not what Paul is saying.

The weakness doesn’t miraculously change.  We still experience the burden of limitation. We still have to rely on others for help. We still, in many ways, feel weak. The difference is that now the weakness is an asset to us. It is valuable to us in the sense that it is the means by which God wants to display his glory through us. It is the means by which we get to see God more.

In some strange way our weaknesses may actually be gifts.

If that sounds strange to you, take five minutes and watch the video below.  You won’t regret it. I can’t get enough of this guy…

What’s your weakness? How might God be wanting to show himself off through you?

Why Are There Martyrs?

Chris asked, “If God provides for all of our needs, why are there martyrs? How are their needs being met?”

I love good questions. And these are good questions.

For this post we’ll have to work our way backwards. I’ll answer the second question first, because that will in turn answer the first question.

So let’s begin with the answer to the second question by focusing on the notion of “need”. For example, when the Apostle Paul writes, “And my God will meet all your needs” (Phil 4:19a), what is he saying?

Paul, appears to be saying, “With God, you will never be needy.” But that can’t be accurate because, in Philippians 4:12 Paul writes,

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

We see that for Paul there were times when he was clearly in need. So how can he write, “And my God will meet all your needs”?

The answer has to do with Paul’s “secret of being content in any and every situation”. What was Paul’s secret?  The answer is in the next verse,

I can do all this through [Christ] who gives me strength. (Phil 4:13)

Paul is saying that there have been times of need and times of abundance, but because he has Jesus, he has the strength to be content in all situations.

Now, understanding this is important because Paul uses the same logic in Philippians 4:19. The entire verse actually reads:

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Similar to Philippians 4:12-13, Paul is saying two things:

  1. God promises to meet your needs
  2. But, God will meet your needs through Jesus Christ.

What does all this have to do with our original questions about martyrs?

Everything.

The Apostle Paul understood that Jesus Christ is the only thing you need. If you have Jesus you have everything. Because, as he writes in Colossians, “Christ… is your life” (Colossians 3:14).

Paul knew that Jesus gives you life (John 14:6; 17:3). Jesus sustains your life (Colossians 1:17). Jesus directs your life (Ephesians 2:10). Jesus provides purpose to your life (Colossians 1:16). And Jesus demands your life (Matthew 16:25). Thus to have Jesus is to have no other need. Or as Pastor Tullian Tchividjian famously put it, “Jesus + Nothing = Everything”.

So now let’s apply this to Christian martyrs.

When Christians are killed for their faith (martyred), God actually supplies all their needs. Because God is giving them Jesus Christ. Paul knew this, when he wrote, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”(Phil 1:21). Paul looked forward to death because he knew that after death he would instantly enter into the full presence of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 5:8). Therefore, he would not lose anything, but instead gain everything.

There is no such thing as a needy martyr. Because Jesus Christ fulfills every need. When we die we get all of Christ. We therefore, lose nothing, and gain everything.

God allows Christians to be martyred, because their deaths proclaim one simple and glorious truth—to have Jesus Christ is to have everything.