There are two kinds of weakness that are important. The first is a weakness toward sin. This is easy. You just do whatever you feel like. Just do it. It doesn’t matter. But eventually you are in a habit of doing wrong. You justify it to yourself. I have to do this because … This is not really that bad because … Who cares if do this? I’m not hurting anyone.
Well, you are hurting someone. Yourself. You know it. I know it. I mean I know I am hurting myself by this habit. We have to stop. But how do you do that? Do something else. Something good.
What would that be? Something Jesus said to do. Let’s take an example: be generous. If you have money, be generous with it. If you have time, be generous with that. Be kind to someone. Does this sound dumb?
It sounds stupid to do this if you are looking at your own resources. If I give, I will have less. If I spend my time on others, I will have less time for myself. All this is true. But what if … What if we had a rich father? What if he was always looking out for you. He approves of your generosity wholeheartedly. If you run short, he will help you out. He may do it in an ordinary way. Yet, you never find yourself without help at the time you need it.
The second weakness is a little hard to explain. It is weakness toward God. You think you are weak. But toward God, you find yourself strong. I won’t do that. You can’t make me do that. Actually, he can but he won’t. He won’t coerce you. God won’t force you to do anything.
Weakness toward God is this: yes, I will do that and see how it goes. It makes little sense to do that but I will do it. Not – try to do it. Not – think that if everyone did that what a better world this would be. Not – mean to do it at some point in the future. No. At the next opportunity, I will act generous. I will act kind.
No matter how lame your attempt is, God will have your back. Have fun with it. How can I bless this person without it being a big deal where I get the credit for it? Give money secretly. Do something good without making sure everyone knows it.
You will be paid back sometimes. Someone may smile. Someone may even thank you. Or not. Maybe they will misunderstand your actions. Maybe they will react badly. Maybe you will feel rejection. You did good. They treated you bad.
This is the second part. How do we act then? This is actually the most important part. This shows our real motive. Are you doing good because Jesus told you to? Or are you in it for yourself? If we quit now, we know the answer.
We are still acting for our own benefit. But if you and I are following Christ, we go on. Yes, we speak to the Master: they reacted badly to my good act! He says, “I know, I had the same thing happen to me.” That is the test. If you go on doing good as well as you can, you find God at your side. Why? He is all about doing good in a bad world.
If you quit, then you lose your purpose because your purpose is to do God’s kind of good in a bad world. We get general direction from the words of Jesus. Let’s be clear about this: not the Bible in general, but specifically the words of Jesus. He is the focus of everything. And we get more specific help from the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes this help is quite clear. Sometimes it is just a friendly push in a direction. You understand more as you go along. What I am saying is this: if you are trying to do the will of God as spoken by Jesus, God will not let you work alone. He will be right there beside you. Sometimes you will feel it. Other times, not so much. But he will direct you and he will redirect you if you go wrong.
What? I could go wrong? Of course, you could go wrong. Or something goes wrong and you don’t understand it. In fact, something will go wrong. Then what? Quit? Okay, but again this is not faith. Faith goes on even when you don’t understand it. There will be opposition against the good you do. You will be tempted. You will get discouraged. You will have a setback.
But rely on your weakness! Be weak toward God. I don’t understand this. I don’t know why this is happening. You told me to go in this direction and it has gone wrong. Guess what? It was always going wrong for Jesus. Read the gospels closely. Things were always going wrong. He was criticized for doing good. A lot. But be of good cheer, Jesus kept going. He never stopped.
If he couldn’t do good in this town, he went to the next one and did good there. He fixed things that didn’t work right. Like arms. Or eyes. Or legs. He gave us the clearest words of God ever spoken by a man on earth. That is why we can trust him always. He loved people. And some people loved him. Is that you? Is that me?