I think a lot of us who follow Christ worry about messing things up. We realize that we are called to be salt and light to a dark and dangerous world and so when we fall short - when we're not as strong as we ought to be - we think that not only have we disappointed our Lord, but we might have also caused the gospel to be seen in a poor light. This is certainly something we need to be aware of. But if we think about what the gospel really is - good news for a lost people, grace for sinners - then shouldn't these moments when we mess things up also point people to a power that's greater than ourselves, greater than themselves? The reality is, we will mess things up, we do mess things up. Rather than pretending that we have it all together (hypocrisy), isn't it better to admit it when we don't?
People tend to pride themselves in their strengths while doing the best they can to cover up their weaknesses. We do it at the macro level throughout society and we do it at the micro level in our individual lives. No one wants to admit that they are weak. And yet, we all know that every single one of us struggles. We endure trials, we mess things up, we fail, and we wrestle with these vulnerabilities. But, we tend to wrestle with them alone and society tells us that we have to overcome them through our own effort and strength.
Here recently, I've been reminded that the areas of my life where I'm in progress, still imperfect, still very messy, are the very areas of my life that can speak powerfully to people who are also on the road to redemption and yet realize that it's a long road indeed. In 2 Corinthians the apostle Paul boldly declares that instead of covering up our weaknesses, we are better served to be open and honest about them so that Christ's power might clearly be demonstrated in our lives. He states that when he is weak, then he is strong. Like so much of the gospel, the idea of strength emerging out of our weakness is counterintuitive. We would rather go from strength to strength. But the gospel itself is an illustration of power and strength emerging out of weakness. As Paul states in 1 Corinthians 1:23-24, "...we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God." I pray that we might all learn to allow God's strength and power to overcome our weaknesses. - Shay