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The Great Power in Weakness
With Martha Kilpatrick and hosted by John Enslow
Special Guest: Jennifer Wentzel
Power is not a singular entity, like a tool or a weapon. It sounds like a contradiction, but for the born-again believer, there is great power in weakness.
Well, by now you all know about the booklet, The Joy Unequaled of Being Nothing. And I had the sense that the second booklet needs to be how we are made nothing. And I mentioned that on the last podcast, I think.
About three mornings ago I was making notes in my computer and all of a sudden, I realized the Holy Spirit was there writing the second booklet and it just flowed, just quietly and easily He came in. I had been… I had prayed and prayed and prayed for the birthing of the second booklet. So…
It’s how the first one came in.
Um hmm. But I was more conscious of it.
This time it was just, just came in with quiet ease and very, very amazing words. Isn’t it, Jennifer? Jennifer loved it.
So, this morning I want a… This might be considered a prelude to that booklet. But it’s something I’m very excited about and it’s kind of made, given meaning to the last five years of my life. I’ve glimpsed it, I’ve said it but what I see today is so amazingly huge. And it’s…
I think I’ll just read 2 Corinthians 12. This is about Paul who, who says he knows a man in Christ who, who went to the third heaven and heard things that can’t be uttered. And we know it’s him and then he, and as much as acknowledges it. He says, “Of this [man’s experiences] I will boast, but of myself (personally) I will not boast, except as regards my infirmities (my weaknesses).”
And see, to be nothing means that you are weak. And I’m astonished as I’m going through the scriptures that the, how that, that state of being is so prevalent.
And Jennifer has a lot of insight into Paul’s weakness. I’ll have her come tell us about it. But remember he, he… In 2 Corinthians, chapter 11, he lists… First he’s talking about his suffering. It’s just incredible! “Perils from rivers, perils from bandits, perils from [my own] nation, from the Gentiles, in the sea, from those posing as believers [but destitute of Christian knowledge and piety]. In toil and hardship, sleeplessness, hunger, thirst, fasting by force, in cold and exposure and lack of clothing.” But he goes on to say, “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that [show] my infirmity [of the things by which I am made weak and contemptible in the eyes of my opponents].” And so then he stops to praise the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ forever.
But then he goes on and on about that until he talks about the thorn in his flesh. And this came out because the Lord didn’t want him to be self-exalted, puffed up about his vision of the heavens. And so this is when he says, “I will boast only in my weakness.” And he says how he cried out to God for the relief from this thorn in the flesh. We don’t know whether it’s an evil person or the enemy. But it’s something that tormented him. “A thorn (a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted. Three times I asked the Lord and begged Him that it would depart from me.”
But here’s what God said to Paul about it. “My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! So for the sake of Christ, I’m pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength).”
That’s one of the greatest paradoxes in the Bible to me: that when you’re weak that’s when you can have His strength. The Christendom today has, I think is affected by the prosperity gospel to believe that we have a power and we can use it. And we do have it but to come into that power takes the same thing it did for Paul; to realize what the power was. It was Christ Himself and nothing given from Christ to Paul. It was Christ Himself!
We think power is something we get. Go and ask God for power. Yes, ask but what He’ll give you is the Son because all power is in the Son and there’s none in ourselves. We don’t, we don’t possess power as such.
So the way to being, having unequaled joy of being nothing is to be nothing. And to be nothing you have to be made nothing and taken to nothing. And this is a, an experience of fifty years for me now because I come back to this over and over again.
But weakness is the greatest nightmare of the human nature. Is it not?
It has been for me!
It’s the most frightening, terrifying thing to know that you have no power. I remembered when I have realized I had no power over God. I was vulnerable, most vulnerable to Him than to any other power in the world because He has the power to do whatever He wants to.
So, I realize now the entire meaning of my illness for the last, actually, five years, has been to get me to the place of weakness and I’m going to tell you the secret of what I found in weakness. I have found rest! Isn’t that, isn’t that ironic? Isn’t that funny? Jennifer, Jennifer’s laughing! It says it right here in this verse nine in the Amplified. “I will gladly glory in my weaknesses that the strength and power of Christ may rest [pitch a tent over] and dwell upon me!”
So you can only rest if you’re absolutely dependent on God. And the whole objective because of the Garden, because of our sin nature, the whole difficulty and purpose of God is to bring you to the place of absolute dependence. And in that place, you have the dynamite and the wisdom and everything from the Lord because you can, you can only receive.
Well, I told you this morning…You came down and you were talking about this and I told you this morning that, you know, I’ve said it over and over again that, you know, the whole “Jesus Loves Me” story…
Tell it! Tell it, John. I dare you!
So when I was little, I went to some Sunday School and the, they were teaching us a song, “Jesus loves you this I know for the Bible tells you so,” and so I heard the song and I was like, “Oh, this is wonderful!” But when we got to the point that said, “They are weak but He is strong,” I refused to say. I was like, “Little ones to Him belong, (humming) hmm hmm hmm but He is strong.” And I just, I would not do it! I really would not do it! And I did… I wasn’t aware, I wasn’t aware of my determination to be strong but it, it’s clear that it came out of me from the womb. I was formed in that disdain for weakness and so when you came down this morning, I said, “Oh, my goodness, it’s going to be a life-time lesson here. It’s just never going away.”
So I’m grateful for that because He, He is on it! He is addressing it. He does not want me to have strength. He wants me to be in weakness so that He can be my everything. And so, I’m encouraged by this whole thing.
The Great Power in Weakness – Episode #659 – Shulamite Podcast
It sounds like a contradiction, but for the born-again believer, there is great power in weakness. Power is not a singular entity, like a tool or a weapon. We are vessels made and sanctified to carry power. When we ask God for power, He gives us Jesus Christ.