Until our souls are broken of their own strength through the Cross, they will continue to influence, lead, and direct us. Once our souls are submitted to the Cross, however, and our natural strength broken, we’ll be able to serve God as He desires, in His power and in His strength.
When we learn to love (agapao) God the way He desires, not only will His Agape Love be freed to come forth from our hearts, but also His supernatural power and strength.
God’s empowerment is what will enable us to become sanctified, to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil and to produce “fruit.”
This supernatural empowerment is given to every believer by the Holy Spirit at his new birth. It’s a part of the Life of God that He instills in our hearts, but we are the ones who must make the appropriate choices in order to partake of that power.
We must be totally surrendered and relinquished to His will in order for His strength to work.
Just like God’s Love, God’s empowerment can be quenched and blocked by emotional choices. The outworking of His power only comes through brokenness and relinquishment. 2 Corinthians 12:9–10 confirms this: “[God’s] strength is made perfect [or complete] in weakness.”
The world sees natural strength as a formidable asset and as a demonstration of a strong character. God, however, is saying just the opposite here. He’s saying that only when we are weak can we be made strong. Only when we are yielded vessels can His strength work through us.
So, according to the Bible it is through the weakness of man and the foolish things of the world that God’s power can be seen. 1 Corinthians 1:27 confirms this:
God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and … the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.
Throughout the Bible, God does use “the weak things of the world in order to confound the things that are mighty” and the “foolish things to confound the wise.” Here are a few examples:
- Moses used a staff to command the hand of the Lord. (Exodus 4:20)
- Samson used a jawbone to kill a thousand men. (Judges 15:15)
- David used a smooth stone to kill the giant, Goliath. (1 Samuel 17:40)
- Jesus fed the five thousand with only five barley loaves. (John 6:9–11)
- The widow baked a handful of flour and oil that fed Elijah and her family for weeks. (1 Kings 17:12)
This is saying that God’s power will work through us only when we reach the end of ourselves and only when we realize that we cannot depend upon our own natural strength. In others words, only when we are completely yielded to Him will God be able to fill us with His power and accomplish His will through us.
Not by [your own] might, nor by [your own] power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts”
Therefore, it is not by our own power or our own might, but by God’s Spirit that His will can be done.
The process of being emptied of self and filled with God is what the sanctification process is all about. Again, it’s called the exchanged life. We give God our life; He then gives us His.
Jesus Is Our Example
Jesus, of course, is the supreme example of “strength through weakness.” He was born in a stable in a small, unknown town called Bethlehem. He was the son of a humble and uneducated carpenter. And He was raised in the nondescript town of Nazareth—“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46).
Jesus wasn’t from royalty, He wasn’t raised in a well-known family, and He wasn’t brought up in an important city or country, and yet He was the King of kings, the King of the universe, and the Creator of all things!
Jesus ultimately demonstrated that God’s power can be seen through the foolish and weak things of the world.
Not only is Jesus’ birth an example of humility, but also His entire Life is an example of yielding and strength through weakness. Even though He was the Son of God and the King of kings and could, in an instant, bring down all the legions of heaven, everything He did in His ministry was by the direction of the Holy Spirit. He was a willing vessel through which God could implement His power.
Even in His crucixion, this principle is shown forth. 2 Corinthians 13:4 tells us: “Christ was crucified through weakness.” The key is that “weakness” in this context does not mean feebleness or inability, but rather a total relinquishment to God, a total yielding and openness to His will.
According to the Bible, “weakness” means freedom from self, freedom from what others think, and freedom from our circumstances—allowing a total reliance upon Christ. It means being cleansed of all known sin and self, so that He can be strong through us. This is how He is glorified. (Psalm 89:17)
Jesus lived His whole life in obedience to this principle. Even though He was the Son of God, everything He did in His ministry was by the power of the Holy Spirit working through Him.
At any time He could have called upon all the heavenly angels to do His own will, but He loved the Father—and us—so much that He chose to lay aside His own strength and ability and do only His Father’s will by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We must do the same. “For this very cause have I raised thee up, to shew in thee My power … that My Name may be declared throughout all the earth” (Exodus 9:16). In other words, Jesus is to be glorified, not us! Consequently it’s only through weakness that God’s divine empowerment can be experienced.
Life Comes Only from Death
Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth [hangs on to] his life shall lose it and he that hateth [is willing to surrender] his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
As a result of yielding to the Holy Spirit, we will be able to handle situations we never thought possible, endure circumstances we never could have endured in the natural, and fight the enemy in ways we never dreamed attainable. God’s power, if allowed to accomplish its mission, would lead us first to repentance, then to surrender, and ultimately to being an overcomer bearing fruit. God is not looking for capable and self-sufficient believers; He is looking for broken, submissive, and humble believers. Remember Christ’s example. He was rejected, betrayed, and then killed. But His humiliation led to His exaltation. The more we allow the Lord to break and to mold us, the more open and pliable we’ll become for His use.
Until our souls are broken of their own natural strength through the Cross, they will continue to influence, lead, and direct us. Once our souls are submitted to the Cross, however, and our natural strength broken, we’ll be able to serve God as He desires, in His power and in His strength.
The best executives are those who have experienced catastrophic failures. And the best pilots are those who have made a forced landing. Brokenness is God’s path to blessings and His high way to the kingdom. Remember 2 Corinthians 4:8-12:
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, [so] that the Life of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, [so] that the Life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death [death of self-life] worketh in us, but Life [God’s Life] in you.
In God’s economy, Life only comes from death.