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Weak Disciple

by Ivan Mesa

Daily discipleship is a daily call to die. Jesus’ command to his disciples remains the same for all who would desire to follow him: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Every believer resonates with this; and though it cuts against the grain of his heart, he nonetheless longs to be an even more faithful and committed disciple.

But it is also true that on many occasions we find ourselves to be utterly weak—little desire to be in the word or in prayer; creeping doubts about God’s character and love; frustrating inability to overcome certain besetting sins. The list, you know, could go on. Such is the life of the disciple. It is in these times, however, that we should cry out to God like the man in Mark 9:24, “I believe; help my unbelief.” We are to plead with God to create within us greater faith and trust.

We must also never forget that God uses these moments of weakness—whether a physical infirmity or inward frustration or any other affliction or trial in life—to teach us dependence upon him and him alone.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

God, who knows our frame and our pride, rather than compounding our folly of self-trust, lovingly rids us of ourselves to showcase his own sufficiency.

When really weak in ourselves, and conscious of that weakness, we are in the state suited to the manifestation of the power of God. When emptied of ourselves, we are filled with God. Those who think they can change their own hearts, atone for their own sins, subdue the power of evil in their own souls or in the souls of others, who feel able to sustain themselves under affliction, God leaves to their own resources. But when they feel and acknowledge their weakness, he communicates to them divine strength. (Charles Hodge, An Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians [Grand Rapids, 1973 reprint], 289.)

What comfort that is! 

As a weak and stumbling disciple, I turn again to the reassuring grace of the gospel. I am thankful, Lord, that you meet me in my weakness, and in my weakness You prove to be mighty.

Ivan Mesa is a Master of Divinity student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He lives in Louisville, KY., where he is a member of Clifton Baptist Church. He is originally from Miami, a lover of history and books, and a shameless consumer of Cuban coffee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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