And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12: 9, 10, NASB).
This morning in churches all across America, preachers will be telling their listeners just how great their lives can be. They will be told that God wants to bless them in every area of their lives, that God has only their best interests in mind. Prayers will be offered imploring the Lord to make us “the head, and not the tail.” Anyone with any needs will be told God is here to meet those needs with abundance.
These preachers are not preaching the Gospel of Jesus.
This morning there will be many who will teach “biblical principals” that will help you be better parents, have better and more fulfilling marriages, increase your finances, even have better sex. These principals will be given as bullet points, referring to verses of Scripture that these teachers say show that God wants all of these things in our lives.
These teachers are not teaching the Gospel of Jesus.
I hate to be the bearer of reality, but not everything in this life is going to go your way. Even more to the point, God does not have your best interests in mind. God has his own best interests in his mind. And at times, his interests make our lives miserable. You want an example? Look at Job. God wanted to prove to the Accuser that Job would still praise God even if all of his “blessings” were taken away. God’s glory was on display, not Job’s comfort or prosperity. Do you want another example? How about Mary? God chose this young, engaged-but-not-yet-married girl to bring his Son into the world. How did that “bless” Mary? Her life was forever changed from what she had most likely envisioned.
The Gospel of Jesus does not guarantee us to become winners. As a matter of fact, Jesus championed losers. In his parables, he presented God as one who is constantly seeking after what has been lost. A lost coin. Lost sheep. A lost son. Jesus came, he said, to seek and to save the lost, not the found, not the blessed. Not the winners.
As a matter of fact, Jesus said the greatest loss we could ever experience would be if we sought to save our lives, to become winners. Luke tucks an interesting verse into Jesus’ teaching on his second return: Whoever seeks to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. Winners become losers, and losers become winners. The 1970s Christian band Daniel Amos said it this way in their song Losers And Winners:
Now, clubs and cliques, they choose and pick
And they make their interviews
Screen the undesirables
And turn down clowns and fools
But Jesus died for sinners
Losers and winners
Yes, it’s proven by His love for me and you
St. Paul tells us that God’s power is perfectly seen in our weakness. And that when I am weak is when I am truly strong. So I will rejoice in my sicknesses, in my distress, in my despair. I will rejoice when things are not going my way, when my life is turned upside-down by unforeseen circumstances. When I realize I am a loser, then I can take comfort in knowing Jesus has come to seek and to save me. This is the Gospel of Jesus.
This morning, remember that God is focused on his glory. And as hard as that may be to understand, and even harder to accept (for we are a very selfish lot), we are to be focused on God’s glory as well.
Let us pray.