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Living as a Christian must entail an honest reckoning of our strengths and weaknesses. Have you ever sat down and just thought about the essence of the Christian life? At its core, it truly is a pride smashing worldview. We are basically admitting that we messed it up and need a new start.

I remember as a 7th grader we would play this immature game between classes. We went to school in a building that was constructed in the late 1800's. It had the large radiators on the sides of the room. As young (foolish) men we would grab ahold of the radiator in the wintertime and see who could hold on the longest. Sometimes guys would get real close to the pipe and not really grasp it. Veterans of the game would call them out, "Grab ahold of it!" When truly grasped, by even the strongest 12-year-old, the pipes would quickly become too hot. Pride would vanish and they would let go.

When you and I truly grab ahold to the pipe of Christianity we cannot, in our pride, hold on very long. It is simply too hot. Your pride will burn. We have to come to grips with the heat. The gospel melts our pride.

The reality is that the qualification for entry into the kingdom of God is weakness, not strength. Walk through the gospel narratives and contrast the reception that Jesus gives those who are weak with those who appear to be strong.[1] There has to be an awareness of personal weakness and Christ's sufficiency before anyone can even begin to appreciate and understand Jesus. When questioned by the grumbling religious leaders about his methodology Jesus replied:

And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners." (Mark 2:17)

The point is clear: Jesus came for weak people who are looking for someone strong to lean upon in faith. He did not come for apparently strong people who are looking for congratulations on their awesomeness.  Therefore, whether we are talking about kingdom entrance (conversion) or kingdom living (your Christian life)--Christianity is about strength, just not our own.

[1] This contrast is seen clearly in Mark's gospel. Weak and helpless people like lepers (1:40-45), paralytics (2:1-13), a man with the withered hand (3:1-5), the demoniac, Jairus' daughter, and the woman with the hemmorage (5:1-43). Contrasted with the apparently strong Pharissess and religious leaders (2:1-28) and 7:1-23).

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One thought on “Christianity is about Strength, Just Not Our Own”

  1. The state of our life is nothing more than a reflection of our state of mind. Although human beings are ostensibly strong externally, but in every human, deep inside there is a darker shade; which probably can be referred as their weakness. Once the curtain of fake strength drops down and the flames of pride get burned the kingdom of God will automatically be opened. This post is indeed an eye-opener for every layman around! Please accept my humble obeisance.

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Erik Raymond

Erik Raymond is senior pastor of Emmaus Bible Church in Omaha, Ne. He and his wife Christie have six children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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