“Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.
In his popular book The Purpose Driven Life, author, and pastor Rick Warren makes one point very clear, “It’s not about you.” In cultures where people chase personal comfort and happiness, it is difficult to get your head around the thought of struggle or pain invading our lives. God’s goal is not to make sure you’re happy. Life is not about you being comfortable and happy and successful and pain-free. It’s about becoming the man or woman God has called you to be.
Take the trials and tribulations of the apostle Paul. The very things we dread and run from in our lives are precisely where Paul found his contentment. In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, he’s essentially saying: I am content when I am weak. I am content when I’m insulted. I am content when I endure hardships. I am content with persecutions. I am content with troubles. Paul gives us the reason: “…when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Can you imagine anyone today finding contentment in Paul’s circumstances? Paul’s contentment is a clear example of the way we should live our lives content in everything and with the realization that it is not about us, it is all about God. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:5, “Our message is not about ourselves. It is about Jesus Christ as the Lord. We are your servants for his sake” (GW).
When you and I boast of our strengths, we get the credit, and we keep going under our own head of steam. But when we boast about what He is doing in the midst of our brokenness, inability, and inadequacy, Christ comes to the front. His strength comes to our rescue. He is honored.
It’s not about you! God put you on this earth, and He has a message He wants to share the gospel to the world through you. But your life message is not about you. It’s about Jesus Christ.
If we were honest with ourselves, most of us would admit that we think we are captains of our fate and masters of our destiny. Life is both predictable and unpredictable. We lack the power to make everything go the way we want. The providence of God is the only foundation upon which we find the confidence to act in this unpredictable world. Knowing that the Lord is in control—and that we are not—actually frees us to act, for we know that no failure of ours can derail His plan. That He is in control also gives eternal significance to what we do, for what we do is incorporated into the all-comprehensive plan of the One who gives meaning to everything.
- Let those words sink in: “It is not about you.” How can believing those words transform your presence in worship, at home, at work, or in the grocery store? How can believing those words help you to faithfully build the kingdom of God?