Saturday, January 03, 2009

Weak Is the New Strong

I've just been reading a piece by Andy Crouch about the emerging movement and he makes a comment about a sermon by Rob Bell entitled "Weak Is the New Strong." I kind of like that. My thoughts went to the concept that God is our strength and that His strength is made perfect in weakness and of course I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Too often in the past we have focused on the strength part of those verses (ie be the strong one in Christ) - perhaps rightly so. However, I think the real hope in those verses is that we really are weak and it is only as we admit our weakness that He can make us strong. A friend of mine likes to pray (in jest) "Lord, we've studied and we've worked hard. We've practiced and we're well prepared. We've have all the necessary technology to do a good job today. Our instruments are tuned and the sermon notes are ready. Besides that we've been told that we're very intelligent and good looking too. We don't think we'll need you much today. Amen"

It is in our weakness that he does amazing things. Under the temple system purity was lost by coming into contact with something unclean. But when Jesus came he made the unclean leper clean, he touched a woman with an issue of blood (unclean) and healed her (made her clean), he ate with sinners (unclean) and brought them salvation. He didn't wash his hands properly (unclean) but blessed the food and fed 5000.

We need to remind ourselves that every turn toward God and every positive work is a work of the Spirit of God. The stuff we build won't last unless the Lord builds the house.
Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. Psalm 127:1

We need to be more like the little children and let the Father do the work. We are too much and too often like adults. We try too hard, we worry too much and we don't have enough fun.

Maybe that's a good New Year's resolution. Become like a little child.

1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven
. Matthew 18:1-4


Anonymous said...

...become like little children..."?

During our Advent readings we smacked up against this statement;

"Jesus wasn't speaking to the innocence of children as what he was their incompetence."
(Barth ?)

I like your friends facetious prayer ;o)


hillschurch said...

I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing that my ideas are lining up with those of the eminent Karl Barth. Maybe I should have titled my post "Incompetence is the new strong!"

Every parent knows that children are not innocent. My interpretation of "become like little children" would be more like "be carefree, don't worry about what other people think, and trust your daddy."

Anonymous said...

You got that right fer shur!

However you might re-write this post it will still be counter-intuitive to all that we "know" conventionally. Dang if Jesus doesn't know how to mess up our apple carts... ;o)

It's a great post, bro. I'm saving it.