Tuesday, January 6, 2009

becoming weak

To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak:  I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.  
1 Cor.9:22
Today was my first morning of the bite-by-bite approach I am taking to my daily time in Scripture.  I have been in the church epistles a lot lately, so I started where I had been, in 1 Corinthians chapter 9.  I think that I will meander slowly through this section of the New Testament, cross referencing when I have time, and because I enjoy it, but will focus mainly on the literal instructions that Paul gives the believers on living out the redeemed life, and then spend time examining myself for things I need to change, and ways I can put it into practice. 

The first part of verse 22 caught my attention, so this is where I stopped for today.

I thought about what it means to be weak . . . who is weak . . . when am I weak . . . how can I become weak to reach the weak?

My first thought was of how much I avoid appearing weak, how little tolerance I have for weakness in others. 

Then I tried to think of an example of a person who I would describe as weak, and my first thought was of my children.  I thought about how much I LOVE them . . . and how carefully I try to teach them; how patiently I wait for them to grow before I expect them to understand; how tenderly I try to lead them; how gently I admonish them.  How little I expect of them because they are, of course, so "weak."  I thought of how I get on my knees to be at their level when I speak to them, and eagerly I try to see the world through their eyes; how I try to be careful to observe their unique make-up, to begin even now to understand their strengths and weaknesses so I can encourage them and help them; how deeply I care about their little souls and how much I long to see them grow to love Jesus. 

 And I felt myself immediately convicted, for I do not demonstrate this depth of compassion for my brothers and sisters who are still babes in the church. 

Nor do I spend so much effort diligently cultivating relationships with "weak" people.  People with issues.  People who are scary or offensive.  People who are annoying or lazy.  Do I become weak so that I can see the world through their eyes?  Do I take the time . . . endless amounts of time . . . to understand their weakness?  Why they are the way they are?  Do I ever even find myself in the neighborhoods of the weak?  

And if I were to be weak, what would it look like?  How would my church family perceive me?

Where would I have to go to become weak, that I might reach the weak?

How can I begin living a life that is compassionately, determinedly, patiently . . . weak?

I wonder if I could spend the entire year just attempting to live out this one verse?


Elizabeth said...

I can so identify with your question of learning to live out this verse and will it take you all year. I love the fact that our God is so big that even the smallest of things (like learning what it means to be weak) have many many layers to them... and there's always something new to discover. Thanks for sharing your time with Him...

Heather of the EO said...

I love how you're writing out your thoughts here. I'm learning with you. I love this perspective on being weak...yes, so much to think about it. I'm pretty sure it will take a year. :)

charrette said...

I have a favorite scripture that ties into this thought: "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

I think that is a key to the whole process. Weakness leads to humility which turns us toward God. Then His grace makes us stronger. I actually LOVE that last line about turning our weakness into strength. And I know it works.

Great post -- I love that you're sharing these "bites" with us.

charrette said...

I'm using a few ideas in your post for the spiritual thought I'm giving in a meeting this afternoon. Thanks for helping me think about all things weak.

Oh, and the word verification right now is "cocido" --Spanish for sewn or knit, which reminds me of another favorite scripture: "That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love..."