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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” – Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:9.
The book of Genesis repeatedly reveals God’s sovereignty and goodness in light of human failure. Reading through the book of Genesis, I have realized how difficult it is for me to believe and actually receive God’s love and attain a true posture of humility.
C.S. Lewis provides the picture of human beings as creatures that are bent within themselves. He also explains that all evil does not exist on its own, but is merely a perversion of good. This is definitely seen right off the bat in Genesis, as all the good God created is twisted into evil as humans decide they want to exist independent of God. As a result, we often seek to find the answers within ourselves or based upon ourselves. We so often attribute characteristics of our nature onto God, rather than letting the truth of who He is transform us and unfold our natural bent, and redeem our perversions.
Left up to our subtle twistings and perversions, love is made out to be selfish and conditional, humility starts to look like humiliation or pride masked in self-degrading comments, and God’s sovereignty is mistaken for something more like puppeteering. We are so bent within ourselves that we read the Bible as a handbook, focusing on the successes and failures of the human characters. But this book is not about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. As in all things, God is himself the answer, and the truth of the matter lies in light of God’s sovereignty and goodness.
I realized that the words we use to describe God’s love often have an “un” or “less” attached to them: “unselfish,” or “selfless,” and “unconditional.” God’s love is so foreign to our natural bent, we do not even have words to describe true love apart from Christ. Human love is naturally selfish, conditional, and demanding. We find, however, that God’s love is unselfish, unconditional, and abundantly giving. Such a foreign concept is hard for us to grasp, and impossible for us to achieve on our own. This is where we find the role of humility. The true form of humility is found in the Story of Scripture, the Story of redemption as God works all things for His ultimate glory and our ultimate good.
The Story of Scripture is a story of God working through and in spite of broken people and their failures to bring about ultimate restoration. This then is what it means to boast in our weakness and point to his strength; this is the gospel! We will never find the answers within ourselves, or be able to produce any spiritual fruit in our own strength. All that is good comes from God alone, including our salvation.
And it has been so since the beginning, outlined in Genesis:
Immediately after our rebellion, after we assumed a perverted posture, God responded with a promise and provision:
“…I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.’ (…) And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them’” (Genesis 3:15,21).
And similar stories follow:
“Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son…’ So Abraham called the name of that place, ‘The Lord will provide’; as it is said to this day, ‘On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided’” (22: 8,14).
‘But Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today’” (50:19-20).
We can only be transformed into the image of Jesus when we take our eyes off of ourselves and place them back on God, when we allow the Holy Spirit to unfold our natural bent toward self, and live in the abundant, outpouring love of the Father. Indeed, I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses that the power of Christ may rest on me! What good news!