Updated: Aug 12
Dr. Stephen Phinney | August 10, 2020 |
I interrupt our regularly scheduled post to update you with the importance of bragging about your weaknesses.
This morning, my wife and I laid in bed experiencing Level Four intimacy. I remained still as Jane shared her most intimate struggles. She confessed her hearts pain as to the relentless hardships the Lord is allowing in our daily living. What was her protective warrior to do? I wept.
Yesterday the Lord led me to have an open forum with our congregation - discussing the need for Body Life members to go public with their most intimate needs. The attached diagram will give you a snap-shot of the outline.
People Who Avoid Interaction (Not an official level)
Level One: "Chit-Chat," aloof & untrusting
Level Two: Safe Sharing, avoids transparency
Level Three: Vulnerable, but cautious
Level Four: Most Intimate, transparent & confesses weaknesses
Honestly, I have to admit, the challenge of going public at first paralyzed the group, but in the end, members said it was the best service to date.
I have been going public with my weaknesses for many years. Some have called me courageous, while others took advantage of the weaknesses like a preying snake. Nonetheless, the Lord continues to motivate me to record my struggles for the world to see. I know, I speak as if insane.
Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. (2 Corinthians 11:23)
As I shared with our fellowship, public disclosure of weakness activates the most honest and intimate type of indwelt believer - if not proves authentic Christianity. Furthermore, I noted that indwelling power is released in Level 4 confessions of weaknesses.
And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Nominal Christians lack power because they hide behind grace. The fact is, Jesus's Grace is sufficient for us so that His power may manifest through our inner weaknesses. And, this is done through boasting. Yes, bragging. Since I am a bragger by way of the flesh, I have learned to use this weakness to advance the power of Christ. Practically, this is how it works.
The spiritual secret is in being content with weaknesses. I abhor this verse coming out of the mouths of believers who refuse to go public with their weaknesses.
Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Once our fellowship got the principle of Paul publicly recording his weaknesses, they quickly moved from being paralyzed to being freed to share intimately. It was amazing to watch. Paul's secret came from the Lord. The manifestation of Christ's strength was found in the walls of Paul's admission and mandate to be content with his weaknesses, vulnerabilities, and fears of being rejected by his readers - you.
Most God-fearing believers dare not judge or front Paul in his vulnerable recordings (letters). They somehow realized that they would be attacking the Word of God, which is attacking Christ Himself. What many don't realize is, believers today are the vessels (Temple) of the Holy Spirit. All insults, distress, persecutions, and difficulties inflicted upon living vessels, is a direct attack upon Jesus. You know - what they do unto the least of these my brethren, they do unto Me.
Why do people today believe they have the right to insult Christ by insulting believers?
It's simple. Fake Christians bring down what is bigger than themselves. It is in this real-time fact that stops believers from going public with their weaknesses. Nobody likes being brought down a notch or two in public. But, authentic persecution would not work unless there were jealous onlookers. Believer, the Gospel is designed to make others jealous - the very testimony that shall ultimately excite them to seek, claim, and share in the blessings of the new covenant. But first, honesty must enrage them.
I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. (Romans 11:11)
It was my utmost passion to help our fellowship see the need to stick to the mechanics of what makes others, rejecters or not, want what they have - authentic indwelling salvation. And, this cannot happen without jealousy, which creates a desire to have what those Christians have. It is a part of the meal-deal.
You don't have to start a "Tell All" blog to go public with your confessions. Start with moving from the outer rings of our diagram to the target-zone. Adopt the method God used throughout the Bible, which was/is recording the weakness of man to shout out the strengths of the Living God. Be as Paul, brag about your weaknesses. Warning, be prepared to turn the other cheek, because some are mastered by their jealousy - to the point of violence.
"You have heard that it was said, 'AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.' "But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. (Matthew 5:38-39)
Some believers avoid Level Four because they fear the words of Jesus. But I say to you, use the slap to snap the offenders into Truth. No. It doesn't work all the time. What does work is the joy that comes with living a Level Four life in an ever growing cold world. Real love is found in the heart of persecution. It is in this place that Jesus said, Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.
Perfect love cast out fear!
Could this be the time to test yourselves to see if you are of the authentic? I say, yes. Let's open the door for some slaps to snaps.
Until next time...
Pray for the persecuted Saints: Watch Now