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.
~ 2 Corinthians 12:9
This week's memory quote involves a concept that many Christians simply do not understand. At all.
Christ will come in power and glory, in the clouds, to destroy the world and take those who have believed in Him - the living and the dead - to heaven, a new world, where He will sit upon His throne. He will defeat evil and cast Satan down.
But Christ does not now rule the world in power. He came in weakness and humility; he lived in poverty. Paul, in 2 Corinthians, boasted not of his great gifts, his powerful oratory and wise mind. He boasted of his weakness; for we make ourselves weak for Christ. If we are struck, we turn the other cheek. We give away our money. We do not try to run the world, for God has destined the world — the secular world we live in — to be ruled by an Antichrist and ultimately destroyed.
It is one of those parts of the Bible that people want to hold in one part of their mind, the religion closet, separated from the other part of their mind, the daily life living room. We want to be rich and powerful and sexy and beloved of the world, and yet, have the blessing of Christ upon us. But loving Christ is a choice that involves, in His own words, picking up a cross and following Him. Where do you suppose we are going to follow Him if we pick up a cross? To the bank? A cruise ship headed for Monte Carlo?
Do not bemoan things if you feel like you don't have enough money or you aren't famous or beautiful or your health is finicky (or even terrible). You do not have to worry because Christ has promised that if you follow Him, these things will become temporary inconveniences and, in fact, if you suffer them in His name, will become treasures in heaven. “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness' sake, for they shall be filled.”
We need always to try to raise our concern with what it means to follow Christ, and put our natural human concern to strengthen our secular weakness into the perspective of eternity. It is so often a lust for more of this world that drives us to pride, or greed, or envy. But when we have our minds set on Christ, these temptations grow ever more dim; and if we will be perfect, as Christ says, they will disappear.
Lord Christ, let me always remember that the power of this world is temporary. Amen.
~ Mason Barge
Editor, Daily Prayer