Weak and Powerless
There’s no denying that we all face periods of weakness and powerlessness varying in duration. Yes, even though we’re “Christians” we are still confronted with anxiety, discouragement, and frailty.
If you don’t think Christians should feel these ways, then you’ll have to deny that Jesus and Paul were “Christians.” Both experienced anxiety and discouragement (Mark 14:33; Philippians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 11:28).
So, what do we do when we feel weak and powerless?
The obvious answer is to pray, since that’s what Jesus demonstrated and what Paul taught (Luke 22:44 and Philippians 4:6). But I want to suggest something in addition to prayer.
Preach the Gospel to Yourself
When you’re feeling weak, anxious, discouraged, and powerless, first pray, and then preach the gospel to yourself.
Although many verses speak to the reasons why the gospel strengthens you, I chose five specific verses that speak quite directly to this fact.
So, here are 5 proofs that the gospel strengthens you:
1. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16)
Here we have the gospel described as the power of God. We can catch a glimpse of this power when we consider that the sum total of every evil in the world combined doesn’t even come close to matching God’s saving power in the gospel. Meditate on that in your weakened state.
2. “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ…” (Romans 16:25)
Paul explicitly writes that God strengthens us according to the gospel. He even goes further to say, “and the preaching of Jesus Christ.” Even though it may be the last thing you want to do, listen to a sermon that clearly preaches the gospel. Listen attentively. Allow the Spirit to strengthen you. He is able.
3. “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand…” (1 Corinthians 15:1)
Paul’s reminding the church in Corinth of the gospel, and he refers to the fact that it’s because of the truth of the gospel that they stand. Obviously he’s using metaphorical language here, but it’s easy to understand. We are more steadier and firmer in our walk of faith because of the gospel. I mean, think about it! Jesus did the work! Not you! You don’t stand by your strength alone, but his!
4. “…our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” (1 Thessalonians 1:5)
Here Paul affirms the simple fact that the gospel, in one sense, is just words. However, he’s convinced that the Thessalonian church was truly saved based on the fact that power, the Holy Spirit, and full conviction accompanied the words of the gospel. This is brought about by the Spirit, so pray to God and ask that the simple words of the gospel would be followed by power, the Holy Spirit, and full conviction.
5. “…[Jesus] abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…” (2 Timothy 1:10)
The gospel boasts in some incredible things. We’re told here that through the gospel, Jesus abolished death and brought life and immortality to light. When you feel like the power of death is creeping up on you, or you feel like the brokenness of life is quickly dimming the lights, remember that Jesus has the power (and has already brought the power) to destroy death and lighten the darkness. Much of the time we just need a reminder of this truth. Think of it this way: when death and darkness seem like the only reality, it may be because we have our eyes closed. Open your eyes, and see the Light of life.
So, preach the gospel to yourself. And do this whether or not you’re anxious, discouraged, broken, etc. Get into a habit of preaching the most important message in the world to your heart and mind.