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.
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world (I John 4:1).”
One of many issues with having a chronically ill child is feeling bad about questioning their diagnosis and/or prognosis. I have questioned every single doctor at some point in time. Many people struggle with this because they feel as though, because the physician has the education, they can never be incorrect in their analysis. I say to you, “Always question everything!” No one is perfect and no doctor knows everything. I accept nothing at face value because the Word of God demands we test every spirit, bar none.
I am a firm believer in being proactive. Some of the confidently stated diagnoses in the world were 100% inaccurate. People across the globe have received death sentences and lived to tell the story of their miraculous recovery proving their doctor’s prognosis incorrect. God always has the final say. Do your research. Leave no table unturned. The person who takes the best care of a child is the one who loves them the most; more often than not, it’s their parents. We who are in Christ must place our faith in God, conduct spiritual warfare and do our homework. You are the one paying the doctor’s salary; hence, you have the right as well as the responsibility to ask pertinent questions.
Personally, I deem it irresponsible to blindly take a doctors word because that renders their word as gospel. If I had not questioned Sophia’s pediatrician, she’s be in a much worse situation today. I had to get her to the right people who would acknowledge what is seen as well as what I know as a mother. No one knows your child better than you because you live with and care for them day in and day out. No one else witnesses all you encounter daily. If a doctor attempts to intimidate you when you inquire, do not back down. Doctors who are worth their crust don’t mind questions and, in fact, welcome them.
Additionally, even if you recognize what the doctor is saying is accurate, speak the promises of God over them instead of the problem at hand. Just because the diagnosis may be right in the moment, God can turn it around. Speak life over your child and not death; speak wellness over them and not illness. For example, I can be in conversation with someone and respond to their questions, “Currently, Sophia has a condition of _____________.” But I will continue with confidently speaking, “But I know it isn’t forever. I know God has a perfect plan and purpose for her life and I fully expect it to manifest in the days to come. What Satan has devised for evil, God will turn for her good.” Now, I may not say those exact words, but you get my meaning. Always speak life, never death because words are potent, they are fiercely powerful. Life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). Test the spirit from which you are speaking. If it’s negative, full of doubt, depression, or anything of the like, it is not of Holy Spirit.
In fact, I purpose, though I falter occasionally, never to vocalize how arduous this is lest I find myself drifting into depression, sorrow and self-pity. I cannot stress enough that our words matter. The same spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you if you have surrendered your life to Christ. Allow your focus to be on God instead of the circumstances and your words will follow suit.
“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).”
What Went Wrong?
“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please (Galatians 5:17, NAS).”
“What happened?” you may ask and the answer is simple. I was led by my mind (that said “go ahead, this once won’t matter. You deserve some fun”), my will (which didn’t care one wit about God’s Word), and my emotions (telling me how good it would feel physically). There in play was my soul: mind, will and emotions I’ve already touched on throughout the chapters. Remember, this is what happened to Adam. At one point, I still did not understand the strategy of war or how to battle. I didn’t understand the Kingdom of God, how to fight the soul, or how Satan operated in me through my lack of knowledge of my identity in Christ.
The flesh is at enmity with the spirit. The natural man’s fleshly desire (death) wanted what it wanted. My spirit (life) wanted to please God but was overridden by my soul. Any enemy, natural or spiritual, will always overtake you if you don’t know who they are and how they operate. This is why we must learn how to die to everything that is not from Holy Spirit leading. The enemy works through any means possible to trick and trip you.
To recap the first few chapters, the only way to escape the curse of eternal death is to die to the flesh while living in a mortal temple. The only way to live again is to be born a second time into the Spirit of the Living God. When a follower of The Way is saved they are called out of the earthly nature and brought into the spiritual nature of God. Not only did Jesus literally give up His physical flesh on the cross, He denied or died to His flesh while living on the earth.
Surely He, before Satan came against Him on the mountain, was tempted while growing up with all the temptation of a normal human being; yet, He never sinned. The Word says so. Why is there so little understanding? This act of sinlessness throughout Jesus’ life shows you how to die to the flesh while living in this earthen vessel. He never took into consideration Himself or His own desires of the flesh. He denied Himself the pleasures of this world. He gave no leeway to the flesh though temptation was ever present.
To die to the flesh is to be selfless or no self involvement. No part of you is involved in any decision making; only Holy Spirit leading is allowed. You no longer take the old, dead earthly nature and it’s wants into consideration. As I have already stated, the absolute purpose of the physical body is to bring honor and glory to Yahweh, always and in everything. Your relationship is not a part time job, it’s your life.
This does not mean you cannot golf, fish, watch some television, read the paper, wear make-up or jewelry, work a job, etc. It does, however, mean that God is to be supreme ruler over all these things and you are not to allow anything to stand in the way of your Kingdom destiny. He wants you to enjoy the things of this earth as long as they do not interfere with His kingdom purpose. Everything must be in balance – something for which the world in unfamiliar. God’s perspective is the only perspective you are to recognize as valid.
We’ll pick up here next week as we continue with, Dead Flesh, Living Spirit, subtitle “Abstinence from the Flesh.” If you are interested in reading more, check out my website to order my books, or go to my Facebook ministry page where I post regularly. This writing is from chapter 6 of the revised version of, What Was God Thinking? Why Adam Had To Die.” Blessings!
Alexys V. Wolf
“My people perish for lack of knowledge,” the Lord makes clear in Hosea 4:6.
Knowledge is the tool to learn the process of dying in the spiritual sense. God calls every Christ-follower to “die to the flesh” which, simply stated, is recognizing the mankind was crucified with Christ and buried with Him. Crucifying the sin nature or rather, giving up self-will for God’s will in all things, is a matter of rendering the lusts of the flesh inactive, immobile, irrelevant. We are not called to harm the physical body as many would believe. The “flesh” is the nature of Adam that draws one to act sinfully; to act outside the perfect will of God.
Dying to the nature of the fleshly man ushers rest to the believer. Dying is the epitome of true rest; death is the deepest level of rest. Where many Christ-followers are about more work, what God calls us to is the opposite. Christ calls us to more rest. In such rest, Christ is allowed permission to manifest His completed work through our mortal bodies. We are to turn all over to the life of Christ. In this, “working hard” to be Christ-like is no longer an issue. We have given Him access to our mortal bodies so as to bring the Kingdom of heaven down to the earth. The burden of work is removed because Christ already fulfilled the Law with His life, death, burial, and resurrection. Having established this, our “six days of work” are over and we can now enter into the “seventh day of rest.” Christ our Sovereign is the Rest. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.
Have you ever known a Christian who is all about, do, do, do and go, go, go and don’t, don’t, don’t? We have to do this, and we have to do that, and we can’t do this or that. If we don’t follow certain denominational rules, we aren’t a faithful follower. The problem with this is that this activity wears one out very quickly and easily. When we sacrifice our flesh and allow Holy Spirit to move through us, Holy Spirit flows freely and with great ease out of His people as would water from a waterfall. Witnessing is then no longer a grueling chore – we are the witness because the True Witness is doing the witnessing, so to speak. People in the world, and in the church, will begin to be drawn to the power and authority with which we now think, speak and walk.
The message of Christ doesn’t change, but the ease and method of presentation does. Either we force God’s Word out of ourselves due to obligation and law, or we allow Christ the liberty to transform us into a heavenly being so as to allow Him to do the convicting in those around us. It is the difference between “Jesus lives in my heart” and “Jesus is my heart and life breath.”
Alexys V. Wolf