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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
— Corinthians 12: 9–10
Expectations are weird things. For example, I think it’s weird when non-believers have expectations of Christians, especially when it comes to our behavior. Every time I hear someone say they don’t want to go to a church because it’s full of hypocrites, my flesh wants to say, “You don’t know what you are talking about! Of course the church is full of sinners. That was the point! Fine. You don’t want to believe in God, that’s your business, but his divinity has nothing to do with my humanity. And if you’re looking to my perfection for your salvation, then you are going hell because, honestly, I couldn’t even save myself!” (I say that not out loud but in my heart, with my head moving back and forth, which is a bad habit I picked up in Oak Cliff before it was gentrified.)
And why do they act this way? Simple: they don’t understand grace. If they did, they would be saved. That’s the difference between the sinner and the saved. We know something they don’t. We understand that the reason we needed Christ is that we were lost. And one day we were made aware of just how lost we were, and suddenly understood that Christ was the answer and our only hope.
Do you ever feel like the world expects you to behave a certain way because you are a Christian? That somehow your ability not to sin, or love enough is going to be the deciding factor about whether or not God exists? And if you fail, then he doesn’t exist. So you have to keep that part of your life a secret because you’re just going to embarrass the church, disappoint God, and cause people to stumble. I mean at the end of the day, that’s the real problem isn’t? That fear of being found out is why we are sometimes less than honest and would rather talk about what was going great for us rather than what God is working in us.
There is actually something we can do to help the world understand grace more. We can brag about our weakness. We can tell people stories, not about our righteous acts, but about how lost we were, and how God saved us in our brokenness. We can brag about our salvation, and about how God loved us when we were lost and is making us whole again. We can talk about what we learned in our failures, and how God demonstrates his mercy every day.
If we are going to brag, let’s brag about Christ. We must make less of ourselves so that we can make more of him. His power is made perfect in our weakness.