I’ve been listening to the audio of CCEF’s Living for Approval 2016 Conference, and I was struck by something that Ed Welch said in the final session on shame. He said essentially that the weakness and brokenness and inability that tend to make us ashamed are the very things that can give us confidence that we belong to Christ.
Referring to Paul’s teaching about weakness in his letters to the Corinthians (I Cor. 1:26-2:5, 2 Cor. 1:8-11, 2 Cor. 12:7-10, etc), and specifically about what he says in I Corinthians 1:26-31, Welch said:
“You’re just weak, ordinary people…and those are the people that God chooses to be His own. [Jesus] was crucified in weakness and He was raised in power. If you feel weak, that is a certain amount of confirmation that you are with Him. And it makes sense, because the weak ones are the ones who say “Help!” The ones who have the resume and have the power, they don’t want any help, they don’t need any help—they’re concerned that another King might somehow take away their prestige. They don’t want to live for Somebody else.”
In human relationships, I tend to believe that my weakness will push others away from me, and therefore I feel like I have to be strong and put-together in order to belong. But God says it is actually my weakness that identifies me with Christ, and that He delights to choose those who are weak and needy.
Peter–who knew something of weakness and shame–summed up this reality in his letter to persecuted, scattered believers:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” – I Peter 2:9-10
Oh, what mercy we have received, that we should be called children of the King! And what mercy we receive day by day, that our King would delight to use such weak and shame-filled people to carry out His good purposes!