Weakness is not something you will find promoted in commercials and advertisements.
A Valiant Warrior
Beer commercials are especially flagrant in using muscular bodies to sell a product that will never lead to six-pack abs. Weakness is also an attribute the military seeks to weed out because warriors need to be able to survive in combat zones and persevere through the long hours and grueling days of regular military life. Weakness is not acceptable and not something we want to admit.
But God delights in using the weak, even military leaders like Gideon (Judges 6-8). God introduces us to him by calling him a valiant warrior (6:12) yet he seems to be anything but valiant.
Israel’s enemy, the Midianites, are occupying Israel and causing havoc in all areas of life including harvesting and processing crops in hiding. When God commands Gideon to destroy a false worship center, conveniently located in his dad’s backyard, he tears it down in the darkness of night. And when God commands him to take on an army that vastly outnumbers Israel, Gideon tests God to see if He is serious. Calling him valiant is a stretch indeed.
The climax of these few chapters is found in God’s institution of a Reduction in Force with Israel’s army, taking them from 32,000 to 300. This seems to be a strategic mistake of the highest order, but God is concerned with a bigger issue—Israel’s pride. God wants them to see His power of deliverance despite, and especially through, human weakness. He assures Gideon of victory, but He wants Israel to know that He intends to use a weak leader to deliver a helpless people.
Paul takes this to another level in Ephesians 2:8-10. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
God doesn’t save us because we are beautiful, strong, or talented. In fact, that would be a miserable way to live because it puts us on a never-ending treadmill of having to stay beautiful, strong, and talented in order to remain saved and loved.
Instead, He saves us simply because He chooses to love us.
It’s a decision He makes irrespective of what we do.
Martin Luther said long ago, “God’s love does not find, but creates that which is pleasing it.” Though this initially sounds confusing, reflection of this truth brings great freedom. If God’s love for us only came upon those who pleased Him, it would be tragic for there is no day that goes by where we don’t displease the Lord (starting with how we treat our spouse, children, and co-workers). But God’s love establishes us a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and relieves us from the pressure to perform.
Weakness, then, is our starting point. It is acknowledging that we can’t make ourselves good enough for God to love us. It is also acknowledging that God loves us despite our weaknesses and imperfections. Finally, it’s having the ability to thrive in any relationship or circumstance because God’s love can control our decisions and actions. Weakness is acceptance of who we really are, not who we pretend to be. Isn’t it time to let go of your perceived strength and find a new strength in a relationship with God?