“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
Our own power is insufficient to the task of life. We don’t have what it takes on our own. We cannot make right what is broken in us by ourselves. The only hope, the only power that is up to such tasks is the power of God. His alone can overcome the various obstacles in this world and bring about the incredible life available in the kingdom.
This is one of the deep truths of the Gospel. Until we know this truth, not just in our heads, but in our hearts, we will not be able to live as fully and freely as we have been invited to do.
Because of this, the ethic of the kingdom of God is very different from the ethic of the world. The world celebrates success and triumph. It prizes power and might. It honors wealth and achievement. The kingdom of God doesn’t necessarily denounce such things, it simply doesn’t give them the same priority.
Instead, the kingdom of God celebrates loss and weakness. It prizes suffering and hardship. It honors failure and persecution. When we are at our lowest point and our power is utterly broken, the kingdom of God is at its strongest. When we reach the end of ourselves and have run completely out of strength, if we will lean into the strength of our God, we will find more than we have ever known otherwise. Or, as Paul put it, when we are weak, then we are strong.
When you are down and out, look up. Look up into the arms of your Savior and let His power restore what was lost and broken in you. Let Him lift you up and fill your sails once again. Rely not on what you have to bring to the kingdom, but what God already has there waiting for you to receive. It is His kingdom after all. He will make certain it succeeds and you with it if you will rely on Him. Power and success and wealth are fine in their own right, but we cannot look to them for the kind of power that is truly powerful. They will fail us when the going gets tough. But the power of God will never run out; never dry up. Tap into that and you will always be strong.