Sent: Friday, November 02, 2001
Subject: Never Let Them See You Sweat
Dear Ethan & Emily:
In the very competitive and achievement-oriented society in which we live, the goal of most people is to “never let them see you sweat.” You would never boast about your weaknesses, reservations, failures, or inadequacies. But that is just the opposite approach to life that Paul modeled for us as effective Christians.
In 2 Corinthians 11: 30, we find this interesting passage: “If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am.” Then, again in the next chapter, he continues and elaborates on this theme: “I am going to boast only about my weaknesses. I have plenty to boast about and would be no fool in doing it, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it. I don’t want anyone to think more highly of me than what they can actually see in my life and my message, even though I have received wonderful revelations from God.”
He next alludes to a physical problem he had: “But to keep me from getting puffed up, I was given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from getting proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time He said, ‘My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. FOR WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG.” (2 Cor. 12:5 – 10)
This parallels the experience of Moses who pleaded (boasted) extensively with God in Exodus 3:11 – Exodus 4:17) of his inadequacies, giving all the reasons why he could not do the job God was outlining for him. (“I’m just not a good speaker…I’m clumsy with words, they won’t believe me…they’ll think I’m crazy if I tell them I have spoken with God!, etc”) God repeatedly told him: “…do as I have told you. I will help you speak well, and I will tell you what to say.” The job leading the Israelites out of Egypt was an awesome job, but it was only when Moses admitted his inadequacies and weaknesses that God could use him effectively.
This was all a humbling experience. Remember..Moses had been trained in Egypt as royalty and just as Paul, he had an extensive academic background and had every right to feel pretty confidant…he was a “top dog” of his times. Both Paul and Moses had many human capabilities and had much in their “resumes,” but their greatest achievements and capabilities were revealed and unleashed when they recognized and boasted in their weaknesses….not their abilities and accomplishments…and in so doing, they allowed God to work thru them with awesome power and eternal impact. We would do well to do likewise!
Never forget: It’s OK to be honest with God and to let Him know when you are sweating! That’s where He wants you…and that’s when He can use you!!
Well, it’s off to work…and may you have a wonderful and blessed day.