Power in Weakness
I pray that out of his glorious riches [God] may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. Ephesians 3:16-18
Do you feel weak and powerless? I do. Recently, I’ve faced many health issues. Up till now, I’ve lived a relatively healthy life. I had spent only two days in the hospital (for tests); otherwise I generally avoided doctors. But all that changed drastically. I didn’t like the changes. I became fearful and questioned God. Why had he allowed all these health problems to trouble me?
This past weekend, I repented of the fear and wrestling. At the retreat I attended, a speaker talked about “Seasons of Grace.” Some seasons bring harder lessons than others. “Not pretty,” she said, “but good for us like medicines we don’t like but need.” She encouraged us to embrace the new season. “You don’t have to love it. Just say ‘amen’ which means ‘so be it.’”
Paul, who wrote the verses quoted above, was not a young man when he faced many tough times (see 2 Corinthians 11:23–29). He often wrote of receiving strength in his weakness. He said, “For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Paul encouraged his fellow sufferers. “Our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:5–6).
The Holy Spirit “does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). He empowers us to do the things we can’t do because of our weakness.
However, we don’t become powerful. “We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).
Where do you need the Spirit’s power? Give him your weaknesses and your fears. Allow him to fill you with his strength and courage.
How does the Spirit help us in times of suffering according to Romans 5:1-5? What is produced in us?
How does the Spirit empower us to overflow with hope according to Romans 15:13-18? Describe a time you’ve been able to be hopeful despite circumstances.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 talks about seasons, a time for everything. How would you describe the season you are in right now? What lesson might God be teaching you? Can you say “Amen, so be it, God, I trust you”?
Nancy J. Baker
This devotion is part of a series on the Holy Spirit.