Editor’s Note: This article is a part of our annual Rooted Student Series, where high school, college, and graduate students share their voices, wisdom, and experiences in learning to be disciples of Jesus. This entire week (and a few more times though the month of August), we will share articles from students to encourage parents, youth pastors, and fellow students in their own walks with Christ.
Weakness. We don’t like to talk about our weaknesses. Our shortcomings. Our doubts. Our insecurities. Our fears. Our sin.
Have you ever been overwhelmed with the reality of how weak you are? Have you ever found yourself on your knees, feeling small, crying out to God from a puddle of tears to save you from your sinful heart? Do you get frustrated when your fleshly desires go after the same old sin? For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate (Romans 7:15). Does doing the very thing you hate lead you deeper into doubt and anxiety?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you are not alone. If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then fear not: you are closer to God than you realize.
Weakness Reveals: Our Desperate Need for Grace
In today’s world, weakness is rarely welcomed. There are countless false gospels that are tempting to believe because they make you feel good about yourself, pointing you to “your” own gifts and strengths. And truthfully, it feels good to be praised and affirmed. After all, it’s not fun to feel weak. Too often, rather than bringing our weakness before God, we look to the world or ourselves to make us feel strong and praised. This can manifest itself in many different ways, including: how well we do our job, our gifts, our money, our fame, our looks, our status, or any number of things.
But these false comforts are just deceptive and empty flatteries. Satan uses flattery to get us talking and thinking about ourselves because once our eyes are on our accomplishments, our gifts, our strengths, and the fact that we are being “good” little church-going Christians, then all the sudden our focus has been totally taken off God.
When we forget our weaknesses, we find ourselves so wrapped up in our egos that we fail to see our desperate need for a Savior. If we are blinded to our brokenness and our need for a Savior, how can we experience God’s grace? Without grace, how can we be saved? In many ways, acknowledging our weaknesses before God is the first step to receiving salvation and grace. Faith is the posture of crying out in the middle of our weakness. Grace is what God freely gives, when we see how much we truly need Him.
In a world that idolizes strength, we serve a God who calls us to humbly submit our weaknesses, failures, and fears before Him. The song Yet Not I, But Through Christ In Me offers beautiful encouragement, singing, “I labor on in weakness and rejoicing / For in my need, His power is displayed.” Likewise, Paul urges us to remember our weaknesses, for it is His power that saves, not our own:
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Weakness Reveals: God Working In Us
As a child, whenever I felt extreme conviction of sin, I would go to my mom crying. She would hold me in her arms and say, “God is holding a mirror up to your heart right now, and you are seeing what is really there. Sin. When this happens, we need to thank Him. It is a gift to be given the mirror.” After sniffling and lifting up a prayer of thanksgiving for his forgiveness and Spirit of conviction I would always walk away feeling closer to God. Through the devastation of seeing how I had sinned against my precious Father in heaven, I was able to experience His grace. However, it took seeing my weaknesses to encounter this grace.
We grow in Him through seeing our sin and falling on our face before Him. When we see the reality of who we are—especially in our weakness—we are walking in faith and turning our eyes upon Jesus as He cleanses us of our sin. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). The recognition that “we are weak, but He is strong” sets us up to receive His grace. When the world tells us to be strong and fix our lives on ourselves, the Bible reminds us that when we cry out to God in the midst of our brokenness, we’re actually living out our faith.
Weakness Reveals: God’s Character
In the gospel of Mark, a father brought his son who had an unclean spirit before Jesus. In the midst of his weakness, humility, and helpless uncertainty, he cried out to Jesus, “I believe, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:23-25). The father declares his trust in Jesus, but at the same time, he acknowledges his weakness by crying out for help with his unbelief. This is the mark of real faith that points us to His grace! When we believe in Him, we see how small we are in comparison. This reveals our desperate need for Jesus, and seeing our weakness allows us to cry out to God in faith, and through this we get to experience His grace.
The Lord is not only gracious to show mercy to sinners in the midst of our weaknesses, but He embodied the beauty that comes through humility by sending His one and only Son down from heaven (Philippians 2:6-11). Jesus came into this world as a baby, not a wealthy king. He rode in on a donkey, not a chariot. He washed people’s feet instead of having someone do that for Him. He died on a cross, for you and me, instead of saving Himself.
Friends, my question for you is this: do you know what God has already done for you? Do you realize the strength in humility? Don’t you see that in His eyes our weakness is beautiful? His love is unconditional. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end” (Lamentations 3:22). He loves you for the loveliness He put in you, not on the merits of your strengths. No, not even on the strength of your faith!
In our weakness, we are reminded of God’s wonderful invitation: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). Similarly, the prophet Isaiah paints the picture of Jesus waiting to pour out His grace by saying, “Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you” (Isaiah 30:18).
What the world sees as weakness is actually a beautiful picture of God’s grace. We serve a God who loves us in our weaknesses, not despite of them. When the “mirror” is held up and we see the reality of who we are, which is not always what we like to see, this is God’s way of calling us to run back to Him and fall into His arms. He desires not to leave us to ourselves, but to embrace us as we realize our frailty and desperate need for His strength. We serve a God who has already declared, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).
Follow Rooted’s annual student series on the blog this week and throughout the month of August, and check out all our student series articles from over the years here.