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“PERSUADED BY IMPERFECTION” – Feb. 17

February 17, 2016

“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. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  2 Corinthians 12:9-10

She walked into the competition room with a face set in determination.  A faint smile graced her face in recognition of the judges patiently awaiting her arrival.  However, this polite acknowledgement faded the instant she found her mark, centered before the three seated personages, who were to witness her assault on the challenge before her.

She stood before a long table, which separated her from these strangers.  With head slightly downcast and her arms held rigidly at her side, she appeared to be using every ounce of will containing the urge to flee the room.  It was clear that the coming moment was to be more a personal confrontation of self than a speech competition.

She began to speak in a quiet, clear voice.  Her eyes lifting to make contact with each judge yet her brow remaining determinedly fixed forward.  She spoke smoothly through the memorized lines with the only movement being the slight rotation of her hands with fingers earnestly extending as if to dispel the building nervous anxiety.

And then, it happened.  The speaking stopped.  It sputtered to life again only to fall into an awkward quiet, allowing the room to fill with an oppressive silence.

She retreated into herself.  The seconds ticked on.  Her eyes closed.  The seconds ticked on.  Her lips whispered words already spoken.  The seconds ticked on.  Anxiety growing with the silence.  An anxiety easily observed  by a reddening complexion as it proceeded with each tick up her neck and over her ears.

Don’t run…the seconds ticked…find your place…the seconds ticked…you can do this!

Then, as if catching a rail at the last moment, the words began to flow.  Her reddened complexion receding with each remember line.  She finished with a slightly embarrassed smile, shook the judges’ hands, and quickly escaped the room.

I sat emotionally drained.  I had just witnessed something remarkable, but it has taken me a while to truly appreciate the accomplishment of this young lady.  As I contemplated what I had the privileged to observe, I realized that I had been thoroughly persuaded.  I was persuaded as much by the actions of this speaker as her words.

Her actions gave meaning to her persuasive speech, “how to overcome the fear of public speaking.”

I am still persuaded by this young speaker even though this NCFCA speech and debate competition is now more than a month in the past.  Tears well up as I remember this young lady who so boldly stood before me and triumphed over her fear.

She was not the best speaker that I judged that day.  She was not the most articulate or polished.  She was not smooth or natural.  She did not excel in a competition that placed her at the boundary of her natural gifts.

Yet, she was the most poignant speaker I heard.

She was effective because I could see the reality of her words in the practical accomplishment of overcoming a struggle.  She practiced what she preached.  I saw the raw reality in her overwhelming weakness.  Her weakness gave credence to her words.  That is what made her speech so persuasive.

We need more of that raw reality in the world.

There are so many people whose lives abound with insecurities and failures hidden behind carefully manicured personas of perfection.  I consider the associations of my life and see very little raw reality of weakness.  I scroll through Facebook but see few facing fears, standing amidst failure, or admitting to weakness.

I know that it is there because it exists in my life.

I don’t have it all together but you will never learn that from Facebook.  I battle doubt.  I clash with consistency.  My hope continues to find residency in my 401k account.  I am frustrated by a faith that feels incapable of moving a mole hill.

The longer I live, the more I realize  the weakness of my existence.  The raw reality of my life is that weakness exists even in my strengths.  I know this same raw reality exists in every Christian.

No one is the person they want to be.
Yet, is that the reality that we regularly see?

PreachThis young lady reminded me that the raw reality of weakness combined with Truth is the most persuasive when they are in unison.  We deprive our message of a powerful impact when we pretend to be perfect.

My weakness is testimony to the power of Christ in my life.  Through all my disobedience, failures, and faithlessness, I am still standing as a child of God through the sufficiency of His grace.  His power is demonstrated in my inability to obtain righteousness through my own strength.  I am far from self-righteous perfect.  I am consistently humbled in my weaknesses,I believe, for the expressed purpose of keeping me from being conceited.

Why should I then live behind a false illusion of perfection, depriving my testimony of the practical demonstration of the power of Christ to overwhelm my weakness?

It is why I can be content in confessing my weakness.
My weakness gives credence to the power of God’s word.

As Christians, we have always been called to live in the strength of God’s power; not our own strength.  We have been called to love God and our neighbor from the raw reality of our faith’s current condition.  Love forced through a false reality will tend to appear phony.

The world has enough phony Christians pretending to be perfect, while really living in pride.

The world needs more Christians willing to live in the raw reality of humble weakness – demonstrating the sufficiency and power of God’s amazing grace.

PRAYER: Lord, I thank you for my weaknesses.  Forgive me for my pride; for trying to portray an illusion that I am stronger than I really am.  Help me to be real with those who are in my life.  Help me to acknowledge your grace in all that I do.  May we all become a people who glorify you through our weakness.   I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen

15 comments

  1. Hello! In reading a few of your very well written and thought provoking posts I would love to recommend a book to you. It is actually about 100 years old and was written by a women who was sort of like a rock star in her day. I discovered this book after delivering a still born baby and I was heart broken. Growing up Catholic, I was trying to find answers but was told it was all a mystery and all would be revealed to me after I died. Then I read Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. It turned my beliefs upside down and inside out. You owe it to yourself to read this. Honestly! I think any Bible scholar could benefit from having their mind stretched by this author’s logic – and even if you take issue with some of what she claims in the book – it will only serve to solidify your own views. All the best to you!


    • Thanks for the recommendation. I just downloaded it for free on Kindle. I am looking forward to reading it. God Bless!
      JD


  2. Powerful.


  3. Would have loved to have been there for that speech! I used to be an English teacher before choosing to stay home with my kids and the kids that touched my heart the most were also the ones who dared to be vulnerable.

    Oh how it encourages me to know others like you are walking the same path. Amen to this: “Through all my disobedience, failures, and faithlessness, I am still standing as a child of God through the sufficiency of His grace. His power is demonstrated in my inability to obtain righteousness through my own strength. I am far from self-righteous perfect. I am consistently humbled in my weaknesses,I believe, for the expressed purpose of keeping me from being conceited.”


  4. Amen. A very powerful, true post. There is nothing more anti-Christ than a pretentious, elite-minded Christian.


  5. Reblogged this on Boxx Banter and commented:
    A great article on living an authentic Christian life . . . “We deprive our message of a powerful impact when we pretend to be perfect. My weakness is testimony to the power of Christ in my life.”


  6. This REALLY inspired me today! Thanks so much. When we step out for God amazing things happen ( even if only unseen things in our own hearts).


  7. Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.


  8. When we consider the people we admire, I have a feeling humility and honesty are among the traits we appreciate. On the other hand, people we don’t admire often demonstrate pride and dishonesty. Why is it we forget that humility, openness and honesty about ourselves are attractive, not detractive, qualities?


  9. Amen. A great story, and wise words.


  10. It’s important for us as Christians to be sincere with our weaknesses so that when we go out and encourage others, they will feel more at home that they have someone who really understands the challenge they’re going through.


  11. Thank you for this most inspiring post. I find that it is an excellent complement to my blog entry for today: More than conquerors. Thank you for the “like,” by the way.

    I was particularly moved by this statement and the accompanying couplet:

    “The longer I live, the more I realize the weakness of my existence. The raw reality of my life is that weakness exists even in my strengths. I know this same raw reality exists in every Christian.

    No one is the person they want to be.
    Yet, is that the reality that we regularly see?”

    The prayer also touched me deeply. Thanks so much.


  12. “Through all my disobedience, failures, and faithlessness, I am still standing as a child of God through the sufficiency of His grace.” Yes, and so thankful for His exquisite, generous grace and unconditional love.


  13. Perfectly perfect post about imperfection.


  14. Reblogged this on thelifeididntchoose and commented:
    Those of us walking in the valley, clinging to the hand of our Savior, do no one a favor when we pretend it is easy or that we never stumble or doubt. As this blogger says:

    “As Christians, we have always been called to live in the strength of God’s power; not our own strength. We have been called to love God and our neighbor from the raw reality of our faith’s current condition. Love forced through a false reality will tend to appear phony.

    The world needs more Christians willing to live in the raw reality of humble weakness – demonstrating the sufficiency and power of God’s amazing grace. “



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