This line from the State of the Union Address has me thinking this morning:
“Weakness is the surest path to conflict, and unmatched power is the surest means of our defense.”
Those words remind me why Christianity – faithfully following Christ – is so counter-cultural.
That line is not particularly “Trumpian.” It could have been spoken by any Democrat or Republican president in my lifetime. It seems to make perfect sense, not just on a national defense level but in the “real life” world in which we dwell.
BUT, to take just one example from the twelfth chapter of Second Corinthians:
9 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. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Could you imagine any president saying that in a State of the Union Speech?
Neither can I.
I don’t imagine Strength in Weakness would be a popular political platform, nor would it be a successful subject for a self-help book.
It’s diametrically opposed to the idea of self-help.
“What do you mean I can’t help myself?”
It’s also not the kind of message church-growth types suggest. Don’t people want to come to church and hear how God wants them to have Your Best Life Now, or to be successful with “God’s Ten Steps to Prosperity” or something?
The Theology of the Cross is a tough sell. It rejects everything that looks to the world like success, and redirects us to a savior lifted up for our sake.
Jesus on the Cross embodies power in weakness. There can be no more powerful illustration of God’s love for the world.
To follow Christ is to follow him to the cross. It is the only way to the empty tomb.