Wednesday 25 July 2012

Boasting in our weakness - Rich Novek

Our Weaknness = His Power!

Think of a battery, it has both a positive and negative, right?  He is the absolute Power, or positive, we are the absolute non-power, or negative.  When the relationship between the positive and negative is right… POWER is always the end result!
Could it really be true, that the weakness we have avoided for so long is in reality, the chosen catalyst of God’s unlimited Power?
It’s a ”separated” theology of a distant God “up there” which forces us to believe in a God who comes to us in times when we need Him to strengthen us.  This is a popular held perception of who God is…and a lie that has held more people in bondage than all of the combined prisons in history!
When the truth is, He is here to see that we are “weakened” in every way possible, in the same way He weakened Paul, Job, Gideon, Moses, and countless others!  And not only weakened, but brought them to that same “boasting” place, especially once they realized the Power of God could not manifest itself in any other place!
And when we finally move beyond the place of grieving over our weaknesses to boasting in them, it’s only then we will see the same power of God within the church (people of God) as what Paul and countless others have both seen and known throughout history!
The problem is, the message of the Cross is a message of foolishness to those (within the Body who are perishing on the Vine).  Not too many people in our comfortable “church” culture  are anxious to embrace a message that has at its core…dying to live, losing to gain, and being blinded to see.  This “foolish” message was not designed to win popularity contests or increase membership, but in fact was/is designed to do just the exact opposite!
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those (within the body of Christ) who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” (I Corinthians 1:18-19)
He will frustrate their (so called leaders) intelligence, especially while they continue to frustrate the Grace of God by promoting a false message that says, “Go ahead church, keep on obtaining your righteousness by what you do!  By going to church, reading your Bibles, and tithing.  Don’t worry about loving the world or living for yourself either, all is well!”  And the truth is ALL IS WELL…but only for those who have forsaken all for Him, endured hardships, sufferings, persecutions, and the like, and have learned the “mystery” behind losing to gain…to where they are NOW boasting in only one thing… their weakness.
Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted (frustrated) the Spirit of Grace? (Hebrews 10:28-30)
Who is the Spirit of Grace?
For the Grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. (Titus 2:11)
He (not it) has appeared, and where exactly has He appeared?
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him IN Glory. (Colossians 3:4)
So does the above verse in Colossians say, “when Christ who is your tithe appears?”  Or does it say, “when Christ who is your church attendance appears?”  Or does it say, “when Christ who is performance based religion appears?”  Does it say any of those things are our life?
When Christ who is your LIFE appears… And guess what?  Your life goes with you where you go, doesn’t it?  You are not having to go somewhere other than yourself to find your life, are you?  No, your life is not separate from you and neither is God!  And this passage has NOTHING to do with a punishing God who is waiting for us in a distant place called heaven!
When Christ who is your Life appears, then (NOW) you will appear with Him…IN Glory. (God) (Colossians 3:4)
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ…IN God. (Colossians 3:3)
He doesn’t show up in your life, but AS your Life!  He lives IN us and through us, and  if He is alive, then we aren’t!
The trials and tribulation have a designed purpose as well, to take us to weakness, so that we can see Him as our only strength…And we are strengthened only in one place.
That He would grant you, according to the riches of His Glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit IN…the INNER MAN. (Ephesians 3:16)
The “inner man’ is the new man, the man who took the place of the man who used to see God as separate from himself.  The “self for self” man, who lived only for himself…even if he did learn how to cover it up with all kinds of “Christian” and religious trappings!
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have LOST ALL things. I consider them garbage, that I may GAIN CHRIST and be found IN Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith IN Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the POWER OF HIS (positive) RESURRECTION and participation IN HIS (negative) SUFFERINGS, becoming like Him IN his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:7-11)
And again…
Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is WEAK, and I do not feel WEAK? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?
If I must boast, I WILL BOAST OF THE THINGS THAT SHOW MY (negative) WEAKNESS. The (positive) God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. (II Corinthians 11:23-30)
And finally…
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times (human nature and the historical “dealings” of God would say this is probably more like three very long seasons, or three distinctly different times during this trial) I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My Grace is sufficient for you, for MY POWER IS MADE PERFECT IN YOUR WEAKNESS.”  Therefore…I WILL BOAST THE MORE GLADLY ABOUT MY (negative) WEAKNESS, so that Christ’s (positive) POWER may rest on me. (II Corinthians 12:7-9)
His power perfected in our weakness.
Any questions?

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