Chapter 7, Content in Weakness, part II
“Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong (II Corinthians 12:10, NAS).”
“For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God (I Corinthians 2:2-5, NAS).”
“We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor (I Corinthians 4:10, NAS).”
Most people, including the majority of mainstream Christians, view strength and weakness incorrectly. Even the most devout of believers think they can somehow be strong enough to overcome their dilemmas with working or praying harder when all that is required is rest. We seem to perceive weakness as bad and fleshly strength as good. At the heart of the matter, that thinking is backwards.
Above we read in several texts that only in our weakness can the strength of Christ prevail through us. It is when we are strong in the earthly sense that we, inadvertently, block the power of God. For me, it wasn’t until life went terribly wrong and my own strength failed that I was able to see God for the first time with clarity and intimacy. It wasn’t until I was stripped of family and friends that I was able to say, “I cannot do this, this thing called life.” Growing up in a common denominational church, I was certain I had great spiritual maturity by the time I graduated high school. It was because of this warped perspective that I could not hear the voice of God or receive His admonishment or direction.
I didn’t think I was boasting; I merely saw it as a fact that I was mature. After all, I was no less mature than the spiritual “elders” surrounding me. As it turned out, we were all spiritually weak because we thought ourselves so strong and wise. As we read above, our faith definitively and without question cannot reside in the wisdom of men. Our only strength comes from recognizing our irreversible weakness. When I think I’m something or somebody, I fail to see Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection abiding through me.
Paul writes in I Corinthians 4:10, “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.” This man was anointed of God to write the majority of the New Testament, yet he made himself a fool for Christ’s name’s sake. Too many want to boast in their righteousness, power, strength, authority, ability, or things of the like and, in so doing, they miss the power, presence, strength, authority and the glory of Yahweh.
Weakness is the best place to be if you want to experience the move and presence of Yahweh. When God’s people begin to understand and accept this simple concept, we will be better equipped and “well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” People throughout denominational churches proclaiming the power of God are still operating with the power of their flesh and don’t realize it. They may have good intentions but by utilizing their natural strength, they’re omitting God. Often people are operating in soul-power as was used by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. I discussed this in detail in Looking for God, so I won’t elaborate here. Holy Spirit power ruling all our natural abilities and soul is the only power from which God’s people should draw. I highly recommend Watchman Nee’s book, The Latent Power of the Soul for further insight on this subject.
“Why me, Lord?” or rather “Why my child?” The question of “why” has to be the most commonly asked question of anyone throughout the ages. “Surely God who is loving has forgotten us. Doesn’t He love us? Is He punishing us? Is He lacking in power, goodness or greatness? Surely a good God would not allow this. If He were great, we wouldn’t suffer so.” To be clear, God is equally loving, good and great. He is all powerful and able to heal in any capacity needed; in fact, His healing is fully intact and is complete in the spirit-realm. The problem lies not in who God is, but in how we perceive Him and our circumstances.
We read in the first few lines of the 73rd Psalm of Asaph, “Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” He continues citing how the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer. Here we witness the candor of a man who was in love with God. He begins with stating the truth about God, that He loves His people, then goes into the confession of his envy of the wicked who prosper. Envy, as shown in numerous verses of God’s Word, is sin. Not only is it sin, but it is mercilessly destructive.
I deeply appreciate Asaph’s confession of his envy of those who flourish yet are wicked. When one has set their cap to serving the Lord yet suffers greatly, it is all too easy to become prideful assuming God should be more mindful of the righteous; this is pride. In our prideful spirit, we believe God has wronged us, forgotten us or altogether forsaken us. This simply is not true. There are a multitude of Scriptures preparing God’s people in how to stand in the evil day, how we have overcome the world yet beset by a myriad of sufferings.
We’re back to the problem: is it God or is it man’s prideful thinking? Without question, it is the latter. When we lay down our fleshly mindset (conscious or unconscious) of “I deserve better because I love the Lord,” already we can deduce we do not love God as much as we think. In fact, we think too highly of ourselves and love ourselves in an unhealthy fashion. It isn’t until we get to know our Sovereign King that we can take hold of a major paradigm shift. The bottom line is, we are all unworthy of God’s grace, yet He extends it regardless. All of humankind deserves hell, yet, in His supreme compassion, He allows us to partake in His worth, His Kingdom, His grace and kindness.
When our children suffer, it is far worse than suffering in our own bodies. Nevertheless, God is sovereign; He is just in all His ways. I believe 100% in supernatural healing, binding away spirits and releasing Holy Spirit in their place, anointing with oil, laying on hands from elders, repenting of known sin and going to sin no more, and breaking generational or other curses. When, however, one who walks with the Lord has done all this through faith and they don’t immediately experience a shift in the situation, we must stand in faith and trust that the Lord is all He proclaimed. His promises remain steadfast and sure.
II Corinthians 1:3-4 states, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” Instead of asking, “Why”, we need to begin to humble ourselves and turn the “why” into praise. Let us come to the Father on behalf of our children so as to praise God in faith that He is who He says He is as well as stand in the faith we proclaim. Additionally, stop thinking only of your situation and begin to ask, “Lord, in all this suffering, how may I aid and comfort another in theirs.”
Asaph closed his psalm with the words, “When my heart was embittered and I was pierced within, then I was senseless and ignorant; I was like a beast before You. Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand. With Your counsel You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in Heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on Earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For, behold, those who are far from You will perish; You have destroyed all those who are unfaithful to You. But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.”
As parents, let us release the bitterness and embrace the God we say we love. Though our feet nearly slipped, allow God to rescue so that our feet are once again planted on solid ground. It isn’t enough to entrust our lives to the Lord, but we must equally, or more so, trust Him with our children.
I Peter 5:10: And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.
Chapter 6: Becoming Base and Foolish, part I
“but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. (I Corinthians 1:27-29).”
Most view weakness as foolishness, as if it’s the worst thing that can happen to someone. Adversely, it’s when we weaken ourselves completely before the Father we are able to go beyond human ability. God purposes to nullify the things that are (anything of human ability) so that we have nothing left from which to boast or pull strength.
God has graciously granted mankind His image which includes a great many assets, gifts, attributes, talents, brains, brawn, and so on. His directive for such assets is so we may glorify the King and flourish in the Earth, subduing it as was intended in the Garden of Eden. We are to bring Heaven down to Earth. Unfortunately, mankind, in all its pride, has become more dependent upon such gifts from God in lieu of God. Instead of leaning upon Christ, we use them when we should submit them allowing God to utilize them for the good of all mankind. For instance, if you have a gift of prophecy, you may speak something out of your great intellect instead of waiting upon the Spirit to lead. This is using human power instead of Holy Spirit revelation. Furthermore, if you have a talent of painting, you may for the sake of a huge paycheck paint something not approved of God because you can. You did it with the mindset, “God must be blessing me” when it had nothing to do with God at all.
People who do subject everything to God are considered foolish, childish, silly, and worse. People say, “You can accomplish____________ in your own strength. Why do you call upon God?” These same people, in due season, become humbled by the same God on whom they spit. We who are hidden in Christ recognize we are nothing and no one outside the perfect will of God. We are to become as dust and ash as did Job at the end of his trials. He once leaned heavily on his abilities to accomplish all he did pre-trials. He stirred God’s wrath by justifying himself. Unlike the norm, Job finally saw the error of his ways, humbled himself and was then positioned before the Almighty to be doubly blessed.
When will we see from the perspective of Heaven? When will God’s people humble themselves, make themselves as nothing so that God may intervene? We’re so busy being angry with God for not stepping in or having allowed our predicament in the first place. We are remiss simply because we do not understand He’s attempting to bring us to foolishness so that He may be our wisdom, our solace, our Savior, our everything.
When All My Strength Has Failed
Chapter 6, part I of III
Alexys V. Wolf
II Corinthians 10:4-7: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. Do you look at things according to the outward appearance?
A major issue with having a chronically ill child is dealing with depression, theirs and ours. For the child, depression is very common and to be expected. After all, they lack the maturity to process their emotions; therefore, in their continuous illness, it can easily become overwhelming to the point of depression. Our role is to keep our children uplifted, both in prayer and in spirit. We must readily encourage them, not with falsehoods but with the hope of Christ and His promises to His righteous seed.
We cannot buckle underneath the pressure of the illness or the possible consequences of said illness. We must not allow fear, anxiety and/or intimidation to set in; anyone with a sick child can relate to what I’m saying. Properly handling your child’s depression will heavily rely on how you deal with it in yourself. First, we must understand that, when we are depressed, it means we have lost sight of our hope in Christ. That applies to me as much as anyone. When I begin to feel it knocking at my door, I must first recognize it for what it is: an enemy of God. Depression is a manifestation of one taking their eyes off God and placing them on themselves, their ability or inability, the situation, helplessness, or what have you.
Secondly, if you, the parent, do not properly assess and confront your depression, there is no way you can aid your child in their depression. Thirdly, one must turn to the Scriptures if you plan to eradicate depression with efficacy. The Word specifically instructs God’s people to “pull down (away from self) imaginations, strongholds, and every high thing that exalts itself above the name of Jesus.” In other words, we must take hold of any and every thought not of God in our minds, hearts and spirits so as to allow the hope of Christ to reign. Because Yahweh, before the foundation of the world, understood the weaknesses of mankind and our feeble faith and mindset, He scribed instructions as to how to proceed when such faithless, self-centered thoughts entered our minds.
Depression, in a nutshell, stems from godlessness; godless thought patterns, godless strongholds, godless imaginations and/or godless occurrences sent from Satan to lure us into darkness. This does not mean the person is not redeemed from hell, but rather their mind has been altered due to circumstances that have caused trauma and disillusionment. In this, it is our responsibility and our right as heirs to the Kingdom of God to take captive anything not of God, bring it into the obedience of Christ, willing to punish all disobedience until our obedience is complete. It is our duty to keep our minds sharp, clean and clear of the debris of life. When we do, we will be fully equipped to, not only encourage ourselves in Christ pulling ourselves out of depression, but our children and family as well. Keep your mind, spirit and heart stayed on Christ, not on the circumstance, trauma, sadness, depression, lack of finances, or anything other than God, His Kingdom, His greatness and His everlasting love for you and your child.
I Peter 5:6-11: Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Facebook Group: Encouraging Parents with Chronically Ill Children
(Lucifer) You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering; the ruby, the topaz, and the diamond; the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; the lapis lazuli, the turquoise and the emerald; and the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, was in you. On the day that you were created they were prepared…your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.
Ezekiel 28:12-17 (NAS)
(King Belshazzar) “But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory (Daniel 5:20, NAS).”
See, I will make you small among the nations; you will be utterly despised. The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights, you who say to yourself, ‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’ Though you soar like the eagle and make your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,” declares the Lord. Obadiah 1:2-4 (NAS)
Satan was cast out from heaven by God specifically due to his pride. Pride led him to rebel against Yahweh. When Lucifer stood next to God, His light would shine upon Lucifer’s jewels placed upon him by God. It was God’s beauty reflecting off Lucifer that made him beautiful, yet Lucifer’s beauty was not his own. In like fashion, any beauty you or I may have, it is not ours therefore we are not to be prideful. Lucifer became blinded by the brilliant light reflecting off him. His wisdom became corrupt and ineffective and caused him to determine greater things about himself than what was real.
Everyone wants to be God or like God and to have all of His power, but few want to be like Jesus, lowly and humble. Jesus is the only connection humans have to God the Father, His Kingdom, and His glory.
One can never crush an enemy that is invisible; neither can we crush him if we do not know he is attacking. Satan has strategically tricked mankind into attributing many behavioral patterns in our lives to reasons other than what is true. It is pride that hinders us from seeking the Lord and praying; hence causing us to walk in discord with others.
As David E. Taylor points out in his book, Victory Over Pride, pride also hinders us from receiving correction, blessings, reproof, instruction, wisdom, knowledge, and the fullness of God. It is pride that hinders people from looking at others the way Jesus does which is with single eye. Pride binds and blinds! A sign of a mature Christian is one who can humbly receive correction or rebuke, deserved or undeserved.
“And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The deliverer will come from Zion; He will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is My covenant with them when I take away their sins’ (Romans 11:26-27, NAS).”
If there is a way into a situation, there is a way out. No matter what our weaknesses, if we are humble enough to deal with it through Holy Spirit, when the weaknesses arise, we will grow stronger in Christ instead of weaker. This is what is meant in II Peter 3:18, “grow in grace”. The Father can exalt us as we walk humbly as did Jesus. Many ministries have fallen from the place God ordained because of the division and strife caused by pride. We would all get further in life, relationships, businesses, ministry, etc., if we would humble ourselves to walk as Jesus walked and approach situations as He.
“God has exalted Jesus and gave Him a name above all names,” reads Philippians 2:9. We are to make ourselves of no reputation. We need be ourselves as Yahweh restructures us and let God make our name great. If we humble our name, He will make it great. If we exalt our own name, He cannot. Jesus never got into arguments, contentions or disagreements with people or even with His enemies. He retained peace that surpassed all understanding and knowledge (Philippians 4:7). He has left us that same peace; we need simply to choose to retain it.
“The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor (Proverbs 15:33, NAS).”
“Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud (Proverbs 16:19, NAS).”
Just as pride comes before the fall, humility comes before honor. There is no honor without humility first. Humility dictates that a person demands to be judged and reckoned by others. A pious person finds little difficulty humbling himself to God, but balks at being treated with contempt by their superiors, equals or inferiors in their life. We need to be exceedingly cautious of prideful- humility, or in other words, false humility.
If outward humility is not the result of inward humility, it is very dangerous because it becomes an outward show of deceit. To put it another way: the outward expression of humility must always be a result of inward grace at work. Humility is the direct nature of God. Take advantage of every opportunity of humility.
Jesus is the perfect example of humility. We all know that if we are accused of something for which we are guilty, we must confess, apologize and make it right. However, what if we are wrongfully accused? What then? Do we have the right to jump into a debate with someone, yelling (or calmly stating) how wrong they are about us? Absolutely not! Rather, instead of arguing we should respond by apologizing to them for having given them the impression that we did or said what they think we did or said. Ask how we can make it right. How can they come against you?
We need to get it in our spirit-man that our defender (Christ) is far greater than the offender (Satan). We are never to defend ourselves. Walk away if we must, but don’t get into a showdown of words trying to convince someone they are wrong. When has that ever accomplished anything good? When someone thinks something in their heart, no amount of words we speak can turn them away. Only God can change a heart. Don’t waste time and energy, and for heaven’s sake, don’t jeopardize your personal walk with God because someone thinks something incorrect. It isn’t worth it. God will prove them wrong in time; we needn’t concern ourselves with such petty matters because truth will always surface in due season. Keep integrity intact and it will protect you in the long run.
“Agree quickly with your adversary (Matthew 5:25, NAS).”
“It is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded (II Corinthians 6:7, NAS).”
“We are to clothe ourselves daily in humility (I Peter 5:5, NAS).”
We are thinking only of ourselves when we are more concerned about being wronged rather than what the Lord wants us to learn or see in a situation. Let God work the perfect work of patience and love in us. Daily we must ask God to strip us of any and all pride, bathe us in righteousness and clothe us in humility. Ask God to help increase faith deep within. The stronger the faith, the closer the walk, the easier to recognize pride, the faster we are to allow Him to help remove it and replace it with humility, the more we look like Jesus. This is where the Scripture of pulling down strongholds and imaginations enters:
For though we live in this world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. II Corinthians 10:3-6 (NAS)
When our thoughts become prideful and we begin to think more highly of ourselves than we ought, take the authority Jesus Christ has given His people and pull it down. This text in II Corinthians is written because God understands the frail condition of the flesh. Don’t allow it to stay and fester and manifest in any area of life. Pride is foolishness on any and every level. Be “ready to punish all disobedience” in life.
Pray for Holy Spirit to stir up discernment; if Jesus is in you, discernment is also. Remember, there is a difference between discernment and prejudice; between righteous judgment and being judgmentalism. Commit to being humble and confess daily to Yahweh that you choose to walk humbly in all of your ways. Command the spirits of pride and rebellion to depart from your midst, and replace them with humility and obedience. Holy Spirit within is the only One who has the power to overcome pride. Allow Him to guide you into holiness, humility, and obedience. Excerpt from Holy Spirit Who? by Alexys V. Wolf
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (Matthew 11:29, NAS).”
“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14-15, NAS).”
We all need to be so heavily clothed in the spirit of humility that we are able to walk in a perpetual internal condition of forgiveness. Meaning, we are to have forgiveness readily available for those who have not yet offended us. My friend, Ruby, taught me a great technique many years ago about how to alleviate unforgiveness and judgment that we form against others. It is, figuratively speaking, to put people in “the chair.” What we do is pull a chair in front of us, pretend that the person who has hurt us (and most likely we’ve passed judgment against them) is sitting there. Then begin to tell them what they have done to hurt, offend or anger us. Once we have released our irritations, forgive them from the heart (Matthew 18:35). The next step is to confess to God and repent of all judgment against them. Then pray and ask God to apply His forgiveness for the judgment against them. This is an excellent technique. Getting our own hearts clean is our issue, not whether or not they hear our plea or receive our forgiveness or apology for what they did wrong. It really has nothing to do with the other person at all.
I have heard, “Well, I think putting people in the chair is a cop out. I should go to those people every time to repent of my unforgiveness (or whatever) directly to the one who offended me. How they react does not matter, only that I tell them what they did wrong, how it affected me, what is going on with me and that I forgive them anyway.” Clearly, there are times when we should go to a person. If the one who hurt or offended us is a friend, they should be able to listen, apologize for their action, and forgive us for whatever we’ve held in your heart against them.
That being said, if they are really a friend, the question we should ask ourselves is “why am I letting them offend me? Then ask “are they someone that would purposely hurt me?” If not, consider that they did not mean to hurt you and don’t let their misstep offend any longer. Otherwise, maybe they aren’t someone with whom you need to remain friends. You should be in control of your emotions and be slow to anger and offense (Psalm 119:165).
Please recognize and understand that putting people in the chair is strictly for the purpose of keeping our own hearts clean before God. The attitude of “I have to confront the offender” is wrong because what may seem humble on our part by confessing to the offender that we forgive them is really an act of revenge. It is having the perspective of, “I’m going to tell them what they did to me because they need to know.” However, in reality, people with this attitude just want to tell the offender what they did wrong so that they will hurt like the offended.
This person’s so called “confession” to the offender of unforgiveness and judgment is not an act of humility. In return for such a confessoin, there’s just more anger and judgment going round and round, now in both people. If the offender did not accept the so-called apology and became angry at the anger of the offended, both the offended and the offender grow ever angry. By going to the actual person, fire is being fueled when it all could have been avoided simply by keeping mouths closed and deal with personal issues in our quiet time with Yahweh. This takes genuine humility.
There may be someone who offends us (or tries to) regularly. It is not necessary to go to them every time. If we do, we simply irritate the situation by going to them and, in turn, make them angry. We then are the ones who make our brother or sister fall and the guilt lies on us. Be very careful and discerning about whom to apologize in person, and who to forgive quietly. Nine times out of ten, quietly is the best resolution. Remember, the person who has offended us may be very fragile in their heart. If we, thinking only of ourselves, go to them when they upset us, we may make them feel worse about themselves because they did not know what they did. Another scenario could be that the offender has confirmation that they accomplished their task of annoying us and they will continue all the more. Some people are full of evil spirits and its their mission to cause as much havoc on others as possible. Be careful with people. We are a fragile creation and we need tender, loving care that can only be given through obedience to Holy Spirit within.
Excerpt from Holy Spirit Who? by Alexys V. Wolf