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John The Baptist's Example
A wonderful example of delighting in our weakness found in Scripture is John the Baptist. John 1:6-9 states, “There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.” So, John the Baptist wasn't the light, but he was there to point people to the light. He wasn't the main character; he was just an extra. He was not the message, but he was just delivering the message. Yet, John was beginning to grow in influence and authority. He had started to become popular with the people, so much so that the religious leaders of the time began to question him. In verses 19-23, we read, “Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, 'I am not the Messiah.' They asked him, 'Then who are you? Are you Elijah?' He said, 'I am not.' 'Are you the Prophet?' He answered, 'No.' Finally they said, 'Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?' John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, 'I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” John didn't prop himself up or draw any attention to himself. He didn't even use his name when he was asked who he is. He understood that this didn't take away his influence or his impact, because what he was doing had significance. But in his weakness, God was working through him. John accepted and understood that God called him, not to make it about himself, but to draw attention to Jesus. John looked at his life through this lens: The more he understood his own dependence and the poorer in spirit he became, the greater the blessing, the more strength he received from God, and the more grace he experienced in his own life.  Reflection/Discussion Question: In what ways can you put into practice being more like John the Baptist in his approach to how he viewed his role and significance?
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Being is More Important than Doing
Jesus came in weakness for weak people, of which you are one and we can celebrate that fact. In fact, it can be helpful to just acknowledge of your own irrelevance, which seems counter-cultural. Now that might feel self-demeaning to describe yourself as irrelevant, but there's something incredibly freeing about that. There's a lot of pressure that comes off of you, a lot of anxiety that melts away when you begin to acknowledge your own irrelevance. Meaning that you're not necessary, but that God chooses to use you. He chooses to use you, but it's not because you've earned it, you're good enough, or anything that depends on you. It's because of his grace and his mercy. You are not what you've accomplished or what your credentials are. You are what Jesus accomplished for you on the cross.  It can difficult for us to make less of ourselves because we are preoccupied with image maintenance. We're concerned with what people think. If you want to celebrate your weakness, one way to accomplish this is to stop worrying so much what other people say about you and think about you. We hate the idea of others not perceiving us the way that we want though; perceiving us as weak, imperfect, unsuccessful, or unhappy. And yet, we see that strength and power are found in weakness. So, we celebrate our weaknesses, that it is not by our might, or our strength, or our power, or our plans, or our position, or our talents, or our resources, or our charisma, or our abilities or our facilities. It is only by the Spirit. It is by the power of God.  Reflection/Discussion Question: Do you struggle to identify your own irrelevance?
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Weakness Unlocks God's Power
How do we delight in our weakness? By making much of Jesus and less of ourselves. It’s never something that's easy, but it's also never been harder than it is in our western culture where we are conditioned and discipled to make as much of ourselves as possible. So how do we make less of ourselves and make much of Jesus? One of the reasons it's difficult to make less of ourselves is that we are constantly measuring ourselves by our productivity and our accomplishments. If you want to delight in your weakness and experience the power of God in your life, then you have to stop finding your worth and value in what you can accomplish and how much you can produce. Many of us struggle with not feeling productive. We all know we need to rest and replenish, and yet there's something deep within us that connects productivity to strength and power. There's something within us that feels as if being productive is proof of a powerful life. We believe the lie that if you’re not producing, if you’re not accomplishing, if you don't have something to show, then you are weak and you don't have a worth or value. We know biblically that's not true, but our flesh says differently, and that's a hard thing to learn. For some of us, the most tiring thing to do is to stop stressing, be dependent on God, acknowledge weakness, and admit we need help. We attach worth and value to being productive, despite the fact that Jesus tells us the opposite is true.  Reflection/Discussion Questions: Do you identify your worth in being productive? How can you fight against this belief?