Perfection in Weakness

The young women in my Wednesday night Bible study have been working through Priscilla Shirer’s study of Gideon for the last few weeks. We’re down to the last two weeks of the Bible study and last night we discussed week four of the study, which is about Gideon’s offering of food to the Angel of the Lord. (If you didn’t already know…The title used to describe the Angel of the Lord, “Malak Yahweh,” is used to describe the “eternal, pre-existant Christ.” This is why I’ve capitalized it here, in case you were wondering.)

Gideon goes through tremendous work to prepare this meal of goat meat, broth, and bread for the Angel and when he offers it to Him, He tells Gideon to place it on a rock, and to pour out the broth over the meat and bread. Then the Angel touches the rock with His staff and the meal is consumed in flames (Judges 6:19-21). It’s been a while since I’ve studied this portion of text, but I recognize that this was a sacrificial offering to God, on Gideon’s part. He slaved over this meal, only to pour it out before God, and have it used in a manner that he probably didn’t expect or, perhaps, desire.

Priscilla goes on to talk about 4 things we must do in offering our gifts to God: 1) Prepare it, 2) Present it, 3) Put it down, and 4) Pour it out.

Yesterday, while I was driving to church I started thinking about how often I pray that God use me in whatever capacity that He chooses and I even spend time preparing my gifts/talents to be used by Him, but then when I feel like He’s asking too much of me, I pull back. I brought this up during our Bible study, as well. How often do you do this? We ask God to use us and fill us with His Holy Spirit, but then the moment the task seems to large, we pull back because we’re afraid we won’t be able to complete the task He’s calling us towards!

But isn’t that the point?!

The point is that the task IS too large for us…if we try to do it on our own! But when we become completely vulnerable, walking in faith, and trusting the calling God’s placed on our lives, no matter how large (or small), that’s when we reach the point of no return. We then have no choice but to allow—expect and desire—the Holy Spirit to give us the strength, courage, and tools we need to complete our calling, because we CAN’T DO IT ON OUR OWN. When it seems we can’t go on, and the task is too large, and seemingly, impossible, that’s when God is most visibly seen and His power magnified. Just like Gideon’s army of 300 against the abundant Midianite army, the Holy Spirit can use us to accomplish the goals God has in store for us, but always in a manner that glorifies Christ and points the world in His direction.Captain America

What I’ve realized in my own life is that I must go beyond simply preparing my offerings/talents, to presenting it, putting it down, and pouring it out. I can’t continue to prepare my offerings/talents, presenting it before God and then pulling it back in fear when God says He’s got bigger plans. I can just picture myself in Gideon’s position…the Angel asks me to place the meal on the rock and pour out the broth over the meal and I ask “you want me to do what?!” (Lol)

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who questions God’s plans and becomes afraid of the seemingly insurmountable tasks He’s called us to. However, I truly desire, and plan on, changing my response; stepping out on the promises of God and relying on His strength and power, when I am deficient and weak.  What about you?

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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

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I Am Peter

Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter asked, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Then Jesus answered, “Will you really lay down you life for me? I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!” (John 13:36-38)

I don’t know about you, but when I was younger this was me. “I’ll never do that!” I’d state. I learned over time, that it’s much easier to say that, until your life, future, or image is on the line. It’s so easy to fall, fail, or make a life-changing mistake; it happens in an instant! Often one moment of weakness leads to another, and yet another, until you’ve learned to block out the voice in your head telling you to stop for a moment and think about the consequences of your actions.

Peter thought he’d never disown Jesus; he’d lay his life down for Him! He loved Him! But in a moment of weakness–and fear–Peter denied the one he loved and slunk off into the shadows, ashamed, and full of bitter sorrow. Just as Peter wept over his shame and weakness, I’ve found myself in the same sorrowful predicament. I may never have outwardly spoken my disowning, but my actions certainly never showed that God reigned supreme over my life, or that I was His follower.

And yet, just a few chapters later, in the book of Acts, Peter preaches to a crowd of strangers that Jesus is the Messiah; a powerful, Holy Spirit-filled message of truth, love, and repentance! Peter becomes the leader of the early Christian church!

It is so easy to fall. It’s so easy to feel like it’s the end of the world and that God can’t use us because of our failures. But time and time again, He’s shown in His deed and word that He can use us! That His plans for us are solid and good and purposeful!

My experiences have taught me mercy and grace and compassion for my fellow man. They’ve taught me that when you make a mistake you have to fall upon your face before God admitting them. And they’ve taught me that sin is sin. I can’t sugarcoat what I’ve done, I can’t say that it’s okay for some people, but not for others; because it shouldn’t have been done, period. It’s wrong and it will always be wrong. I was wrong!

I am Peter. I may have fallen, but God has picked me up. What He’s got planned for me, I have no idea. What He’s taught me, is immeasurable. But every day I ask Him for another chance. Another chance to show Him that I love Him; another chance to show Him that I can be and do what He’s created me for; and another chance to accept any present and/or future responsibilities that He chooses to bless me with.