This morning’s Morning and Evening is a sobering reminder to rely on God’s strength… and His strength alone. He empties us out to fill us up.
Today’s devotional carries the sting of conviction. I easily fall into the trap of relying on my own strength and past experience to see me through the next set of trials. A “been there, done that” attitude is often my biggest hindrance. Thankfully, God loves us too much to leave us to ourselves.
Every believer knows Romans 8:28.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.
But what about the following verse?
For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.
God’s ultimate purpose in this passage is to conform us into the image of Christ. He doesn’t leave us to ourselves. He determines our future and molds us into the adopted brotherhood. The sting of conviction is a wonderful thing. It is one of God’s primary tools to personally and powerfully accomplish this goal. His power is made perfect in weakness, and we are made perfect in Him. That is why Paul could say with confidence, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
Here is Alistair Begg’s paraphrase of the Spurgeon classic.
* * * * *
For my power is made perfect in weakness.
— 2 Corinthians 12:9
A primary qualification for serving God with any amount of success, and for doing God’s work well and triumphantly, is a sense of our own weakness. When God’s warrior marches out to battle, strong in his own might, when he boasts, “I know that I will overcome-my own ability and my self-confidence will be enough for victory,” defeat is staring him in the face.
God will not enable the man who marches in his own strength. He who reckons on victory by such means has reckoned wrongly, for “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.”1
Those who go out to fight, boasting of their ability, will return with their banners trailing in the dust and their armor stained with disgrace. Those who serve God must serve Him in His own way and in His strength, or He will never accept their service. Whatever a man does, unaided by divine strength, God can never own. The mere fruits of the earth He casts away; He will only reap corn the seed of which was sown from heaven, watered by grace, and ripened by the sun of divine love.
God will empty out all that you have before He will put His own into you; He will first clean out your granaries before He will fill them with the finest of wheat. The river of God is full of water; but not one drop of it flows from earthly springs. God will have no strength used in His battles but the strength that He Himself imparts.
Are you mourning over your own weakness? Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give you victory. Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and you are being humbled to prepare you for being lifted up.
When I am weak then am I strong,
Grace is my shield and Christ my song.
1 Zechariah 4:6