Worshiping God with anything less than excellence gets my hackles up. I’m really passionate about glorifying God with my best. Since you are reading this, you probably have similar tendencies.
Those of us on worship teams – vocalists, instrumentalists, techs – operate out of our God-given talents and strengths. In Psalm 33:3 the word skillful means with excellence:
Sing to him a new song;
. play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
You’ve heard me say this before. Many times. Nothing new here.
Except it’s not that simple.
Paul goes on a rant at the end of 2 Corinthians (Ch 11-13) responding to the Corinthians’ apostasy in believing false teachers – teachers who seemed to have more on the ball than he did. But rather than give a list of credentials and successes, he shares his weaknesses (2 Cor 11:30). He even boasts about a man who was caught up to paradise and saw wonderful things (2 Cor 12:1-5), but he doesn’t even mention that the SON of GOD appeared to him and the events of the next few days (Acts 9) that solidified his calling. Not even the tiniest hint.
The power that Paul lived in was the same power that raised Christ from the dead.
Think about that for awhile.
Christ was crucified in weakness, but raised to life by the power of God (2 Cor 13:4).
Paul had the choice to talk about himself and how God was using him. Or he could share his weaknesses so God would be glorified and “Christ’s power may rest on [him]” (2 Cor 12:9). Paul chose wisely.
God has gifted us, and every time we lead worship we have the privilege and responsibility to lead his church with excellence in praising him.
Do we chuck all that in order to boast about our weakness?
Of course, the answer is a resounding and emphatic: NO!
Because God’s power works through weakness does not mean it can’t also work through strength. Remember Samson? God made him strong and used his great strength to liberate Israel from the Philistines (Judges 15:14-17). God uses the gifts he gives his people… until we begin to trust in the gift. Samson lost it all when he became proud (Judges 16).
Paul knew what had happened to Samson– and he had seen the glorified, resurrected Son of God.
After his vision on the road to Damascus, Paul worked with a single focus– to serve and glorify his Savior:
- In strength – God used Paul’s intellect to pen more of the New Testament than any other writer’s
- And in weakness – the suffering for the Gospel, the thorn in his flesh, his less-than-stellar speaking ability – all turned attention off Paul and on Christ
God calls us to turn all the attention on him. He promises to direct us (Prov 3:5-6) as we rely on him whether we are working in our strengths or weaknesses.
Here’s what God has been showing me this week: When I am weak, I have access to resurrection power. However, because God has given me talents and abilities, I am almost always using them… and almost never operating in my weaknesses.
It’s counter-intuitive. Run into my weaknesses? Seriously?
God doesn’t call me to use my intuition. He calls me to follow him. My weaknesses are part of that – so others will see him and the power that raised Jesus from the dead.
This is what the world needs.
His power, not mine.
READY FOR SUNDAY
Have I been deluded by an either/or instead of a both/and philosophy regarded strengths and weaknesses? Why?
What is holding me back from being vulnerable and letting God work through my weakness?
How can I balance using my gifts with operating in my weaknesses?
Oh that I would walk so closely with God I could hear his call toward a weakness instead of going to a default strength! That I would glory only in the cross of Jesus and let his power flow through me into those I lead and into the world! That he will receive all the glory, forever and ever… may it be so. Yes and amen.