But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”2 Corinthians 12:9
Our weaknesses can discourage us, deter us, or even disable us. Sometimes, we get so overwhelmed by our brokenness and imperfection that we choose inaction. Especially for Christians, I’ve seen many who mask their inaction with a profession of faith and patience to wait for God to move.
Weakness is not always a bad thing. As seen in 2 Corinthians 12:9, God’s power is made perfect in your weakness. It’s your very weakness that is the altar upon which God’s power is made and displayed in perfection. However, our weaknesses can be the petri dish for sin as well. Through the mind of Christ, we ask God for wisdom to differentiate weaknesses from sin. We flee from sin, but we embrace our weaknesses. However, for many, they flee from their weaknesses, only to find themselves deeper in sin.
When we don’t embrace our weaknesses, we might respond to our weaknesses in fear and avoidance. We avoid any circumstance where our weaknesses are clearly revealed at all costs. What does God think about this?
Let’s look at the parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. The servant who was awarded 1 talent was afraid of the circumstances, hence he chose to bury the talent, and not do anything with it. He sat back and waited for the Master to be back before digging it back up to return to the Master.
In response, the Master was furious, and he gave that 1 talent to the servant whom he trusts the most. God values greatly how we steward the talents He has given us. If because of our weaknesses, we choose to bury ourselves in inaction, we won’t multiply in the way that God wants us to.
When I was praying about this matter of inaction that weighed deeply in my heart, God brought my mind back to the time when I was a child. I remember myself trying to help with household chores, mimicking my father in the way he does the dishes and mops the floor. It was a happy moment for me because I knew that my father was really proud of me for how I did the chores, and for how I did it in the way that pleases him. He is proud of me that I could eventually do these chores by myself.
However, the memory went on to the moment where I was trying to reach for a kettle of boiling water, and because I was still young, I struggled to reach for the kettle. My dad saw it, and from the sofa in the living room, he sprung up and came over to help, concerned that I will scald myself. After moving the kettle, he held my shoulders and said, “if you can’t do it, just tell papa, papa will do it for you.” I remember seeing my dad carry the heavy kettle of boiling water effortlessly, and from the eyes of a child, I was filled with wonder and respect. My daddy to the rescue!
As I reflected on this memory, I asked God what He was trying to tell me. Here’s my takeaway:
God delights in my effort to serve Him
Yes, we do not need to strive and work hard to earn our worth. We are His beloved children, regardless of our efforts. Just like in the memory, my father loves me even without me doing the chores. I didn’t have to do chores to earn my father’s love.
However, is my father proud when he saw me doing the chores? Yes of course! Especially when I mop the floor with a dampened rag, with my knees on the ground and arms manoeuvring the rag on the floor. My dad saw me doing chores the way he did, and he was pleased.
While we don’t strive and use our actions to earn God’s love, we also shouldn’t end up in inaction, because action pleases God.
In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.James 2:17
Faith without action is like trusting that the Lord will bring rain, but not preparing the fields to receive the rain. Faith without action is like trusting that the Lord will enable and equip you, but choosing not to take the faith step to step into new frontiers of your work. Faith without action is knowing that the Lord has called us to make disciples of all nations, yet choosing to disqualify oneself from living out the great commission in fear of our weaknesses.
The bible is filled with promises similar to “I will bring the rain”. How are you preparing your “fields”? Don’t wait for God to ask you to get out of your bed to prepare the “fields” of your life. He has already given His promises, so use our faith to walk closely with God and His promises in faith. While it’s definitely wise to pray and seek God every step of the way, but when we find ourselves in prolonged inaction without specific and clear instruction from God to not do anything, we have chosen to harbour in the dock and not head out to the seas. God is eagerly waiting to see His sons and daughters living out their destiny and standing on the promises of God, not cowering in fear of the unknown and prefer inaction.
God wants me to be like him
Jesus took the initiative. Yes it’s true that he takes instructions only from His Father, but He responds dynamically to what He sees and feel. There are many times in the bible that show Jesus going back to His prayer closet, but we also see Jesus responding to the needs of people, loving and providing for people around Him without hesitation. He knew His mission, His values, and His promises. He takes intentional detours to minister specifically to people.
Jesus doesn’t cower behind the “let me pray about this” or “did God call me to do this” excuses that we so often use. Jesus however spends his 3 years of ministry bringing His kingdom values from heaven onto earth.
Jesus wasn’t rash. Yet He acts in faith. He serves humbly. He operates from His identity as the Son of God. God wants us to operate freely from our identity as sons and daughters of God. The son doesn’t need to hesitate asking his father for help, or helping his father with chores, because the son knows fully his inheritance and his relationship with his father.
I can always ask for help
It delights my father when I know how to ask for help. Perhaps it also assures my father that I don’t put myself in unnecessary danger due to my over-zealousness. Also, it gives my father a platform to be my strength in my areas of weaknesses.
My heavenly Father is always looking out for me, and when I reach out to Him for help, His arm “is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear” (Isaiah 59:1). When I reach out to Him in my shortcomings and my weaknesses, He never withholds himself in punishment, nor does He mock my lack. His grace is fully sufficient to cover my weaknesses. And when He comes, when He reaches out to help me, His power is displayed in full glory.
It’s an amazing sense of freedom to know that I can comfortably reach out for help whenever I need it. It’s even more amazing to know that this help never fails me and is my constant help. This sense of freedom allows me to live out our destinies without the grippling fear of “walking out of the will of God”. The challenging part is to really come to grasp with His faithfulness and His goodness even in my areas of weakness. Our Father in heaven is always with us through the good and bad times.
What separates inaction and faith is a fine line, and it’s hard to judge from the outside. Most of the time, we need Holy Spirit to help us differentiate and identify the two. Most of the time, our inaction is caused by deeper layers of fear, insecurities, and hurts. As we continue our healing process in the love of our Father, we can identify more and more areas of inaction in our lives. God is always looking out for faithful servants who would go, willing to be sent in obedience, to establish God’s kingdom on earth. If we truly knew our destiny and our authority in God, our impact on societies and nations will be unimaginable.