21 Jun Words of Grace – J.I. Packer on Weakness and Faithfulness
J.I. Packer writes of the calling to faithfulness to Christ even as we live with weakness and the reward of glory that awaits those who are faithful to him:
“Men and women of the world draw on their talents and ingenuity to map out for themselves paths of strength and success in worldly terms. Christians plan paths of faithfulness to Christ knowing that these involve both apparent and real weakness. And, they settle for this on the understanding that journeyings of faithfulness, which please their Lord as of now, lead to final glories.” (1)
Everything’s a contest in our culture. Primetime entertainment is about who can sing, dance, and bake the best. Yes, these shows are entertaining, and, by in large, harmless. But, I wonder if maybe we adopt the same mentality in the Christian life. Do we think that weakness will get us “voted off”?
From Packer we learn four things:
1. Weakness will accompany our “journeyings” in this world. There is no way around the fact that due to the fallenness of this world and the brokenness that results, everyone is weak in some way and will always be.
2. Jesus calls us to faithfulness to him, even with weakness residing in our bodies and our souls. Jesus said, “Follow me.” The qualification for doing so is self-denial, not self-sufficiency.
3. Weakness is not a threat to the final glory that awaits us as Christians. In fact, faithfulness to Christ in weakness is the path that leads to glory.
4. A constant vision of future glory strengthens us with hope while we live with weakness now. This hope of glory, says Packer, “will counter, cancel, and consign to far-off memory this light momentary affliction.'” (2)
Friends, let us not be discouraged by our weaknesses. Let us press on, together, in faithfulness to Christ. In the end, we’ll be glad we did.
(1) J.I. Packer, Weakness Is The Way, Crossway, page 116
(2) Packer, page 107