The book of John is the only gospel in which we find this part of the story after the resurrection, especially Jesus’ questions to Peter “Do you love me?”. For me, this is a beautiful story of restoration and empowerment, after the hard road of failure, forgiveness and repentance.
Peter, many days before, had been left crying bitterly at his failure and lack of faith. The very day that Peter declared that he would die with Jesus, when asked if he was a disciple, he denied it vehemently. Peter simply caved in to fear and the dread of the unknown after seeing Jesus voluntarily submit to his arrest. When Peter had lopped off the ear of one of the guards, Jesus had healed the man.
You’ve all heard the 10 reasons why God created, Eve, right?
God worried that Adam would always be lost in the garden because He knew men would never ask for directions.
God knew that Adam would one day need someone to hand him the TV remote because men don’t want to see what is on TV; they want to see WHAT ELSE is on TV.
God knew that Adam would never2. buy a new fig leaf when the seat wore out and therefore would need Eve to get one for him.
God knew that Adam would never make a doctor’s appointment for himself.
God knew that Adam would never remember which night was garbage night.
God knew that if the world was to be populated there would have to someone to bear children because men would never be able to handle the pain of childbirth.
As Keeper of the Garden Adam would never remember where he put his tools.
The Scripture account of creation indicates that Adam needed someone to blame his troubles on when God caught him hiding in the garden.
As the Bible says, “It is not good for man to be alone”, he only ends up getting himself in trouble. And the NUMBER ONE reason…
When God finished the creation of Adam he stepped back, scratched his head and said, “I can do better than that.”
Seriously, there is so much debate now about the correct interpretation that we should give of the Creation story, and especially of the role and relationship between man and woman. The Church is supposed to be shaped and guided by the Word of God, and yet it is clearly evident that our cultural norms and expectations have guided our interpretation of the Bible, and even come into play with respect to the translation of the Bible.
There is no question that gender issues have been shaped by our culture. In a patriarchal culture, the Church accepted and used passages of the Bible to justify male superiority and female servitude.As cultural views shifted, we have looked back at the translations and words used, and searched for a new understanding of the Bible – but we should ask ourselves, are we simply looking to once again “be right”, as opposed to being guided by the Word of God? Are we simply now looking to justify a feminist or egalitarian perspective of the creation story that is acceptable in today’s society? Or are we looking for the Bible to present to us an actual Biblical response to the question of “what is a Godly relationship between a man and woman?”
This morning, I would like to explore the verses of Genesis 2: 18 to 24, and provide some insight regarding translation and meaning. But this is merely one of many possible understandings and meanings that can be found, and I would venture to say only scratches the surface of a possibility of interpretations. But there are lessons here for us! While God created man & woman equally in His image, there is no doubt that we are different – the same way that the males and females of all species are equal but different.
In Genesis 1 we find a chronological view of Creation – from day 1 in which God creates time, through to day 7 in which God rests. On day 6, God is particularly busy, creating all creatures that habitat on land. Great and small, he creates them, and when God is done, he declares that “it is good”. After this God – Elohim – the multiple nature of God, decides to create man in his image. God says:
“Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.”
And so, man is created, both male and female. In order to avoid confusion, I’m going to use the term “mankind” to refer to humans, and man to refer to the male gender. To emphasize the godlike nature of mankind, God gives mankind dominion over the earth, and asks Adam to name all of the animals.
The creation story in Genesis 1 is repeated in Genesis 2, but told from a different perspective, demonstrating different facets of God’s character. And so, in Genesis 2, we rewind a little, and are given more details regarding the creation of mankind, and in particular the differentiation of men and women.
Most versions of the Bible have simply translated verse 18 “It is no good for the human to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” or “a helper that is just right for him”. And because it was culturally acceptable and appropriate to define “helper” as an assistant or as subordinate to the man, the woman was interpreted as having a role of serving: somehow intended to be responsible for catering to the needs and demands of her husband. Because if woman is the helper, man is the boss, right? Even Paul says that the man is the head…
But much has been written about the translation of this section, especially regarding the original term “ezer” having been user rather than “azar”. “Ezer”, with an e does not mean the same as “azar”. Azar does mean helper or servant, but ezer has a different meaning completely.
The word EZER is used in the Old Testament some 21 times, 2 in the context of Eve (women made in creation), 3 times in relation to man’s help and 16 in relation to God. And the 3 times it’s used in relation to man’s help, it is referencing that help did not arrive such as that help which only God can provide.
So let’s see what other words and terms ARE used throughout the Old Testament that might have been used to describe women as servants or assistants, that would have clearly established woman’s role as being subservient to that of man:
The best word for helper or assistant in Hebrew is Azar – and it is used 82 times in the Old Testament, in contexts of helping, assisting or giving aid. So, if God had wanted to say helper, he could simply have used this word, azar, instead of ezer, right?
And if we wanted to specify that woman was a servant-helper, a better word would have been ebed. In fact, the word ebed is used over a thousand times in the Old Testament. But that’s not what it says in Genesis 2.
Or then there’s the word sharath, which means high-ranking assistant, like Elisha was to Elijah, or like Joshua was to Moses. But Genesis 2 doesn’t use sharath.
So, what does ezer mean, then? Ezer is help from God: not only from a superior, but a miraculous help. Divine intervention.
Before you go off thinking that women are witches and we really fly on broom sticks, let’s get into the translation issues a bit more closely. Ezer means that God is the help. Ezer conveys that it is never a servant, helper or assistant.
So, how does this help us? Well, possibly because if we realise that this was Divine assistance, we will realise that maybe we’ve always been misunderstanding this verse. It never was intended to say that the woman was the helper! In fact, it should not be ascribed to any human at all. So, if she isn’t the helper, what did God make? What does Genesis 2:18 refer to?
Let’s look quickly at the other word that rises in this verse – “suitable” or “right” or “companion”. The word in Hebrew is kenegdo. Kenegdo arises from 2 words: Neged refers to a mirror image or reflection, and ke refers to “himself” or “likeness”. So, God has said he will make a likeness of his mirror image or reflection. So, woman was supposed to be a mirror-image of man.
Going back in the verses in chapter 2 of Genesis we see what the story of the creation of Eve starts out with the only time God says about creation – “this ins’t good”. And what isn’t good? It’t not good that man is alone. Man is incomplete – because unlike all of the creatures that he has just named, male and female, Adam is alone.
And so God says, I will help man by making his mirror likeness, a reflection of himself. The solution for man’s loneliness is woman, made to reflect him. God did not create woman to be man’s servant, or assistant or subservient to him. He didn’t make Adam “the boss”. But rather, God makes them one – flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone. Equal and together. In harmony and communion.
But, as with the fall in Eden, the moment we allow our self-interest to get in the way, we start to run into relationship and control issues. The moment we start to allow our egos to rule, we look at our differences, and then separation and domination begin to take hold, rather than unity and oneness. Separation and domination was never part of God’s divine plan for men and women.
Lessons we can take away from Genesis 2 today:
Companionship – It is not good that the man should be alone. Human’s are social creatures – we need to connect with other people. One of the most shattering emotions of which human beings are capable is that of loneliness – it consumes people: whether they be teenagers, struggling with acceptance, stay at home mothers or fathers who are thirsting for interactions, or the elderly who are feeling forgotten. We need each other. What are you actively doing to be part of the lives of those around you? If you are a spouse, are you making sure that your other half doesn’t feel alone?
Are you sharing the load and the burden? Whether it be with your spouse, or a team member at work, or another volunteer in an organisation you have joined: is someone feeling that they have to do everything themselves and that they are not getting the support that they need? What can you do to support that person? What needs to change so that you become a team player?
Are you taking care of your responsibilities? In every team, each person has different functions and tasks: and your first priority should always be to have fulfilled your responsibilities first. It’s no good to be worried about what others aren’t getting done to the detriment of your own responsibilities. You will always hear – finish your own responsibilities before helping another – just like in an airplane you put on your own oxygen mask before helping someone else with theirs. AND FINALLY
Acknowledge and rejoice in our individuality and differences. They are not meant to separate us from each other – they are intended to complement each other. Yes – women and men are different – women may be more emotional, or protective of our little ones – but that doesn’t mean the weaker sex! And some of us are black, white, yellow, pink or any other colour under the sun. We come from different cultures and customs. But these differences are to be enjoyed and celebrated, creating a diversity in our team work and fulfilling all of the needs.
Today I would invite all of you to explore how you were created to be “just right”, a Divine gift to help and connect with those around you.
The Bible depicts countless battles. From Genesis to Revelation, from the time Cain killed his brother Abel, right down to the present day and even into the predicted future and the Apocalypse.
In fact, it is estimated that more than 14,500 wars have been fought from 3600 B.C. to present day. Think of it this way: 5,305 years of war … compared to 292 years of peace.
Breaking it down for you, just for the 12-month period (August to August) of 2014 to 2015:
10,000 or more deaths in the last year:
Afghanistan (since it started in 1978, about 2M dead, which is more than half of the population of Panama)
Boko Haram Insurgency in Africa
Conflicts causing at least 1,000 deaths in one calendar year are considered “wars” even if they are only “conflicts” or internal power struggles – so let me give you the details on those conflicts causing between 1,000 to 9,999 deaths in the last year:
Somali civil war (at least 500,000 so far)
Communal conflicts in Nigeria
War in Darfur (Sudan)
War in North-West Pakistan
Mexican Drug War
Libyan civil war
Sinai Insurgency in Egypt
Central African Republic Conflict
South Sudanese Civil War
War in Donbass (Ukraine)
The Iraq war may be over, but in this world, we are still at war!
I exhort you also to take part in the great combat, which is the combat of life, and greater than every other earthly conflict.
Life truly is a battle. It is warfare on a grand scale – a war against falling back into sin and bad habits, a struggle to keep the faith, to stay humble, to love each and every person that crosses your path. Admit it, some people are just plain hard to love. But, we are still called to be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.
And so, I want to give us a brief outline of the armor of God that we have been exhorted in Ephesians to put on.
Let me read the passage for you:
10 A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.
Note – it says very clearly and more than once – put on the “WHOLE” armor of God. Don’t leave a piece or two off. Maybe you think one of the pieces is too heavy or unnecessary – “that’s just not for me”! But I can only imagine that Paul had soldiers around him day and night while he was in jail and writing to the Ephesians, and hence the simile was very apt for his purpose.
So, where does the armor start?
Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
It starts, as you might have guessed, with God, rather than with ourselves. Our armor is not physical, but supernatural. It’s the reminder from Philippians:
The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me…
PUT ON THE ARMOR:
Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.
The Greek word translated “put on”(enduo) carries the idea of permanence. The full armor of God is not something to be put on and taken off occasionally but is something to be put on permanently. You don’t simply take it on and off at your leisure.
Rather than doing the latest fad diet, it’s adopting a new lifestyle. And it’s accepting that this is a permanent change, not just something you’re “going to try” and “see if it works”.
But Paul says more than just this – he also reminds the Ephesians that they need to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. When used in a military sense, the Greek word translated “stand firm” (histemi) refers to holding a critical position while under attack.
1 Corinthians 16:13 reminds us also:
13 Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.
KNOW YOUR ENEMY
Ephesians 6: 12 says
“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Are you uncomfortable with this thought, that there are things happening in realms we cannot see? In this day and age, many of our wars are not flesh and blood, but really are about corporations and corporate profits, powers and world forces that perhaps we don’t know who the true controlling hand and force is – the interest in keeping wars going is to sell more weapons or change the stage of a market. We don’t really see or know what the true motivation behind any war or conflict may be.
The same way we can appreciate this on a physical level, we can also apply this on the spiritual one.
Most of us are acutely aware of our own struggles and we are preoccupied with our own problems. We sympathize with ourselves because we see our own difficulties so clearly. But Ian MacLaren noted wisely, “Let us be kind to one another, for most of us are fighting a hard battle.”
BELT OF TRUTH
The Roman soldier wore a tunic, an outer garment that served as his primary clothing. It was usually made of a large, square piece of material with holes cut out for the head and arms. It draped loosely over most of the soldier’s body. Since the majority of ancient combat was hand-to-hand, a loose tunic was a potential hindrance and even a danger. Before a battle it was therefore carefully cinched up between the soldier’s legs and tucked into the heavy leather belt.
The Greek word translated “truth” (aletheia) basically refers to the content of that which is true. But alethia can also refer to the attitude of truthfulness. It represents not only the accuracy of specific truths, but also the quality of truthfulness. That seems to be the primary meaning Paul has in mind here. To be girded with truth reveals an attitude of readiness and of genuine commitment. Every encumbrance that might hinder his work for the Lord is gathered and tucked into his belt of truthfulness so that it will be out of the way. You can’t get tripped up in it or it can’t be used to pull you in another direction.
Do you know what your truth is? Speaking from a place of criticism, comparison, false appeasement, and fear leads to living inauthentically, which translates into low satisfaction and high frustration levels. When we limit our responsiveness to our Truth, we compromise our ability to achieve our potential.
BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
No Roman soldier would go into battle without his breastplate–a tough sleeveless piece of armor that covered everything apart from his head and limbs. It was often made of leather or heavy linen, onto which were sewn overlapping pieces of metal molded or hammered to conform to the body. The purpose of that piece of armor is obvious–to protect one’s heart, lungs, intestines, and other vital organs. Also keep in mind that the high priest wore a golden breastplate over his linen robe that was set with 12 precious stones, each inscribed with one of the names of the 12 tribes of Israel. This place represented nearness to the heart.
Another interesting aspect of the breastplate was that it offered no protection to the person’s back. It was assumed that soldiers would not turn their backs toward the enemy to retreat.
SHOES OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE
In the Bible, the foot is a symbol for the direction or “the walk” of a person’s life.
Since the average ancient soldier marched on rough, hot roads, climbed over jagged rocks, trampled over thorns, and waded through streambeds of jagged stones, his feet needed much protection. A soldier whose feet were blistered, cut, or swollen could not fight well and often was not able to stand up–a perilous situation in battle. The shoes of Roman soldiers were usually impregnated with bits of metal or nails to give him greater traction as he climbed a slippery hill, and greater stability as he fought.
The Greek word translated “preparation” (hetoimasia) generally refers to readiness. A good pair of boots allowed the soldier to march, climb, fight, or do whatever else was necessary at a moment’s notice.
SHIELD OF FAITH
In New Testament times the tips of arrows would often be wrapped in pieces of cloth that had been soaked in pitch. Just before the arrow was shot, the tip would be lighted and the flaming missile would be shot at the enemy troops. The pitch burned fiercely, and on impact it would splatter flaming bits, igniting anything flammable in its path. In addition to piercing a person’s body, such arrows inflicted serious burns on enemy soldiers and destroyed their clothing and gear. The most reliable protection against these flaming missiles was the thureos; this shield was the first line of defense.Its covering of metal or treated leather would either deflect or extinguish them, and it was designed to protect the entire body of the soldier.
The purpose for our shield of faith is to deflect the fiery darts of the enemy and prevent them from ever making contact.
HELMET OF SALVATION
Your body has seven sacred openings from the neck up: two nostrils, two ears, two eyes, and one mouth. (and you ask why we only got one!) In order to protect their heads and these vulnerable parts, the soldiers wore helmets. The purpose of the helmet was to protect the head from injury, particularly from the dangerous broadsword commonly used in the warfare of that day. Some of the helmets were made of thick leather covered with metal plates, and others were of heavy molded or beaten metal. They usually had cheek pieces to protect the face.
The purpose for this helmet of salvation is not only to keep out the rocks, but also to keep in the brains! Your mind should not be open to anything and everything. What are you feeding your mind and soul? How are you protecting your thoughts?
SWORD OF THE SPIRIT – WORD OF GOD
The sword was the most common weapon in battle. Indeed, the word “sword” appears 449 times in Scripture. The other armaments in God’s arsenal are defensive in nature, but the sword is primarily an offensive weapon. The machaira was anywhere from six to eighteen inches. It was the common sword carried by Roman foot soldiers and was the principal weapon in hand-to-hand combat. Carried in a sheath or scabbard attached to their belts, it was always at hand and ready for use. Ancient soldiers also used their swords for cooking, splitting kindling, and for cutting the ropes that bound their captives to set them free.
Paul explicitly states that the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. As such it is first of all a defensive weapon, capable of deflecting the blows of an opponent; and yet it is also a practical tool for every area of life.
Hebrews 4: 12 reminds us:
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”
Are you open to letting the Word of God work in your life, thoughts and heart?
Paul closes reminding the Ephesians of the importance of a life of prayer, of constantly having their relationship with God present in their lives. It wasn’t about them spending hours upon hours on their knees in prayer, but rather about them acknowledging, as when we started this reading, that God is the source of all of our strength. And it’s so appropriate that this prayer is not only for ourselves, but also for others.
“Boys and girls, there is a wonderful example in the life of the ant. Every day the ant goes to work and works all day, a busy life. And in the end, what happens?
Little Johnny replies, “SOMEONE STEPS ON HIM.”
We live in an era in which life is a constant struggle. Everyone wants to be healthy and strong; nobody likes to be sick, weak, depressed or worried. And yet, we face problems and tragedies; we struggle to live up to expectations – whether our own or those imposed by others. We’re not quite who we think we should be. Just like Paul in his letter to the Corinthians.
Take a moment and put this in context: this letter to Corinthians was not written in a vacuum. When Paul wrote this letter (which by the way is his 4th letter, not the second), he didn’t pen in the chapter and verse designations. Those were added much later in history. So chapter 11 and chapter 12 are one continuous thought. In chapter 11, Paul writes about the suffering he has endured because of the name of Jesus. He tells the Corinthians that he has been imprisoned for preaching the gospel; he has been whipped on several occasions; he had been beaten with rods. He tells them that on one occasion the Jews stoned him; and left him for dead. But he survived (probably with deep lacerations and broken bones.) Paul was shipwrecked three times, spending one night in the open seas. He experienced intense times of suffering and yet found strength.
It is apparent as you read this part of 2nd Corinthians, that some in the church in Corinth were questioning Paul’s authority as an apostle. “Not good enough.” So in Chapter 11, Paul tells about all the things he could boast about, both good and bad, that make him an apostle. But in Chapter 12 the tone changes, because he is not living in the past. Our past history and our past glories are all fine and well, but the real question is “who are you today?”. Paul is writing this letter to the Corinthians when he is no longer in sparkling health and strength. Who keeps singing “Glory Days” by Bruce Springsteen?
The church in Corinth has these “super apostles” or “big shots” that were criticising Paul. Paul responds, admitting that he was not a trained speaker, (2 Cor. 10:10), implying that the so-called super-apostles were trained speakers. One of their favorite criticisms of Paul seems to have been that he was not very impressive in presence or speech. Paul warned the Corinthians against the pretense that knowledge can create. Toe to toe with these orators, Paul would fail. In many respects, his writing also lacked sophistication and talent.
And yet Paul says, he will boast about his weaknesses. We feel unhappy and worried about our weaknesses, but somehow he has accepted his weakness in a positive way and so he is able to boast about it. And he even accepts that he needs it long-term. In order to remain focused on God, rather than himself and his exploits, Paul has this “thorn in his side”. He prayed repeatedly and yet the thorn remained in his life. I don’t think that ‘three times’ means Paul said three prayers but that he spend three seasons in prayer pleading with God to remove this from his life. And yet he has an unanswered prayer.
How many times could we cite that we are thankful for our unanswered prayers?
How often do our prayers tend to focus on making life easier and softer and rarely are for the kind of difficulties that would challenge us and make us grow spiritually.
None of us wants to really be moved outside of our comfort zone, and so we react to life’s situation by rejecting the difficulty. Paul, for all his abilities and mighty use by God, could not escape the fact that he was human, and thus inevitably susceptible to weakness.
Paul doesn’t like it.
He can’t change it.
And God won’t remove it.
Had Paul focused on the injustice of this torment in his life, he could have become a very bitter man, consumed by how unfair this harsh and excessive situation had become for him. But Paul not only accepted his negative circumstances but he also expresses his joy and happiness over them.
What is your hurt story?
What behavior keeps you from where you need to be?
I hate looking weak or insufficient. I particularly loathe being wrong, especially when the mistake I’ve made has public ramifications. What will people think? God forbid that someone realise how far behind I am at work, or that I get upset and short-tempered with my daughter when I’m tired, or that I can’t seem to get things right in my marriage, or that I don’t think quickly on my feet and always come up with the perfect rebuttal three days later! I get frustrated by these deficiencies and perceived weaknesses – I’m inadequate and useless. And so, since I don’t like to feel this way, I adopt a fake persona that I hope others will see (or that they will at least pretend to see, because I pretend to see the fake persona they put forward).
We live in a world where all the photos of models in magazines are Photo-shopped to perfection, where there’s a special model for hands, and another for backs and another for legs. Where there are body doubles for actresses in Hollywood for those close-up shots or for the action or dance scenes – each one showing a perfection that perhaps the actress doesn’t actually have.
Boasting in weakness goes so against the way the world operates today. We don’t boast to our peers about our weaknesses or in a job interview. Typically, when we’re asked to focus on our weaknesses in an interview, we are trained to say – “Well, I would say that I’m stubborn, and I just don’t give up until I’ve finished the project that I’m working on to successful completion.” or “I care too much about my work, and don’t have a good work-life balance.” – or whatever we think the perfect answer to the question is.
In our conversations with our friends, we don’t say, “Hey! Turns out I’m really bad at empathy and I’m totally self-centered. Isn’t that great?”
So, let’s each take a moment to reflect – what is your greatest weakness? What are you truly ashamed of?
I’m self-centered, frigid, insensitive and withdrawn;
I speak too loudly and sometimes have inappropriate social awareness;
I hate confrontation and so don’t deal with issues in a timely manner;
I don’t take criticism well;
I shut down and reject others;
I ride rough-shod over other people’s feelings in order to get what I want;
I can’t handle change and am stuck in a rut;
I take things personally;
I can’t say no and am always overloaded;
I’m condescending and treat others badly;
I have poor leadership skills;
I manipulate others;
I hold on to hurt feelings and dwell on them;
I overreact …
Each one of us has something that we try to hide and pretend isn’t there. And if it’s a habit that we’re trying to break or a type of reaction that we know is wrong, whatever you do, don’t label it as “SIN”, so passé! No one “sins” anymore… No one is a “sinner”.
Let me put it this way – the Bible says if you know what is right and you don’t do it, it’s sin – so, when you’re on that diet for your diabetes and you know you shouldn’t eat that chocolate bar and ice cream, that’s sin – not necessarily for someone else, but for you. Because you know that it’s bad for you! And yet you insist…
For how many of you, has ignoring and trying to hide this weakness, bad habit or character flaw actually worked? As much as we may hate it, ignoring our weakness doesn’t make them go away. How many of you notice a character flaw in another person and say nothing, because you’re polite? You see someone faking it and you go along with the charade, because you want them to go along with your charade? They say there’s “nothing wrong” and you say “okay”, because it’s the easy way out.
If I took the time to actually ask, and they answered me honestly, I might have to do something about it! I might then have to care for this person later, and ask how they are doing again… and then hear the truthful answer! And it’s so much easier to just accept the “nothing wrong” and “okay” and carry on as if nothing had happened.
But that’s not who we are supposed to be! We’re not supposed to be shallow and callous people, living on a surface, pretending that the weaknesses don’t exist.
When I don’t have enough love in my life, God reminds me that God is LOVE – it’s unlimited! I may be frigid and uncaring, but when I’m filled with God’s love there’s more than enough to go around! I can be filled to overflowing – because God created me to be His vessel. It doesn’t matter how much love I have, the question is “how much love does God have?”And so, it is when I can truly say “this is my weakness” that I allow God to shine through! When I finally accept – “this is how I am”, I’m wonderfully and perfectly made, and God just wants to shine through all the cracks in my character, then I can truly boast in my weakness.
When I don’t have enough patience, God reminds me that He is PATIENCE – unlimited…
When I am filled with anger, God reminds me that He is goodness and kindness… unlimited…
I would invite all of you, during our coffee time after the service, to take a moment and share with someone your weakness, (yes, that one that you are SO ashamed of) and how God can shine through you, in spite of yourself!