No-one likes to admit a weakness. We go to great lengths to hide our weaknesses. When interviewing people for a new position or job, one of the most likely questions that will be asked is, what are your strengths? What talents or abilities will you bring to our company? Most people rather enjoy answering this question. It gives them the opportunity to brag on themselves, and even though most people would deny it, they love talking about themselves. In most conversations that you find yourself in, the other party isn’t listening to what you are saying; they are just simply waiting for their turn to talk and usually about themselves or some experience that they have had. On the other hand, probably the most disliked question in an interview is, What are your weaknesses? Who wants to talk about weaknesses in an interview? In an interview, you are attempting to put your best foot forward, not talk about where you are weak! Most people have covered up their weaknesses so well and often, that they forget that they even have any. For instance, just yesterday, I was reminded of how easily a small weakness can completely dominate your actions. Yesterday I was moving a gas grill down some steps (with help) and somehow managed to twist and pull in exactly the wrong way, and pulled a muscle or something in my lower back. Today, I can hardly stand up straight. Before that happened I was just like everyone else, thinking that I didn’t have a weakness to worry about.
In this podcast, we are going to look at a few things that can creep into our Christian Walk, that will weaken our resolve to work for the Lord:
- Trouble and Frustration
- Your Past
- Failing to attend a Bible Believing Church
The first weakness that we will look at is trouble and frustration and is found in Ezra 4:1-5:
Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the LORD God of Israel; Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither. But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the LORD God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us. Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.
Here we find the people of God, who have been given the opportunity to rebuild Jerusalem by decree of King Cyrus of Persia. They have just gotten started and up come the adversaries. You will notice that these adversaries stayed away until the people of God start to get some work done. They had just finished laying the foundation of the Temple and were celebrating (Ezra 3:10), and the noise of their celebration could be heard afar off (Ezra 3:13) and that is when the adversaries decided to show up. They heard and saw that the people of God were getting work done for the Lord, and they couldn’t just sit by and watch. You will notice this same thing every time you attempt to work for the Lord. People who were never interested in what you were doing before, have to interject themselves once they see that you are having some success. That is exactly what these adversaries did; they tried to disguise themselves as “helpers,” claiming to also be followers of God; however, their real goal was to hinder the work (Ezra 4:5-16). If we allow them a foothold, they will weaken the cause (Ezra 4:4) and cause the work to stop (Ezra 4:23-24). We can’t let that happen!
Next, we see that giving in to fear will make you weak. Your enemies will try to scare you to control you. Let’s look at Nehemiah 6:1-15:
Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;) That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief. And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner. Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand; Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words. And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together. Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart. For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands. Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple, and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee. And I said, Should such a man as I flee? and who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in. And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me. My God, think thou upon Tobiah and Sanballat according to these their works, and on the prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets, that would have put me in fear. So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days.
If you don’t do what your enemies want you to do, here specifically to stop doing work for God (Nehemiah 6:3), then they will start a smear campaign against you (Nehemiah 6:5-7). They had written a letter that was full of false information and threatened to publish it unless the work stopped. We need to learn to act despite our fear (Nehemiah 6:8-9). Courage is not the lack of fear, but rather the ability to do something in the face of fear. Nehemiah refused to give in to the threats and instead, continued to do the work that he was called to do. We need to do the same when our fears arise, just keep doing what you know you are supposed to do and don’t let the fear of what others might do or say cause you to stop the work that you are called to perform.
The next thing that will make you weak is by being careless about the things of God. In Judges 16:6-21 we see that Sampson did not take the things of God seriously.
And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee. And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with them. Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known. And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man. Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber. And he brake them from off his arms like a thread. And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web. And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web. And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth. And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man. And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand. And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him. But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.
Sampson was treating the things of God as a game. He wasn’t’ taking his position seriously at all. The Lord did not give Sampson great strength so that he could win the strongest man competition, He wasn’t given great strength so that he could get any girl that he wanted, he wasn’t gifted with great strength to win a popularity contest; Sampson was given his strength to be a Judge of Israel, and so that he could deliver them from the Philistines, who he is now hanging out with!
Too many Christians are playing games with the things of God. It’s not a game, it is literally a matter of life and death (Romans 5:21, Romans 8:6, Acts 20:26-28). We have been given the Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-21, Ezekiel 33:6-7). Eternal life is at stake here, Christians need to start taking the things of God seriously, If you don’t it will make you weak.
The next thing that will make you weak, is living in the past. In Philippians 3:1-14 we see that the Apostle Paul teaches us to stop living in the past:
Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
We can’t live in past successes, The Apostle Paul lists his pedigree here and states that if anyone could rest on their record it would be him. Too many Christians have quit working for the Lord, thinking that they have done enough. There are Christians all around us who used to read their Bible, used to teach a Sunday School Class, used to attend a local Bible believing church, too many used too’s. Paul said that you can’t live in your past failures either. In his testimony, he states that he persecuted the Church of God and wasted it (Galatians 1:13). You are not disqualified because of your past, and if you have confessed your sins and have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour, you need to stop beating yourself up over your past. We need to do as Paul did, Press forward, Keep working. Living in the past will make you a weak Christian.
Finally, the last thing that we will look at today that will make you weak, is failing to attend a local Bible believing church. The local church is one of the gifts that Jesus has given to us as believers. Let’s look at Ephesians 4:7-16:
But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
We were given the local church for the following reasons:
- For the perfecting of the Saints: this means that we can not be a complete Christian without the local church.
- For the work of the ministry: the different ministries that are performed are to be born out of the local church. They are not in competition with the local church, the different outreach ministries must work hand in hand with the local church.
- For the edifying of the Body of Christ: He tells us that without the local church, we cannot get settled in the truth, we will be tossed around with every doctrine that is floating around out there, and you won’t be able to get rooted and grounded without the local church (Ephesians 4:14, Ephesians 3:17, Hebrews 13:9).
We are commanded in 1 Corinthians 15:58 to be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. We can’t do that if we are weak, we must stay strong in the Lord (Ephesians 6:10).
Is there a weakness in your life, on this list or some other that needs to get fixed? Today is the perfect time to get it fixed. Will you do business with the Lord today?