Our Human Weakness

2 Corinthians 4:7

The quest for the best is admirable in many ways, but it is not without its perils. Perfectionists are notably hard to live with because, in their passion for the highest, they may fall victim to the temptation of fussiness, become impatient with people less intense than they and arrogantly critical of others.

Perfectionists are often too critical of themselves as well. The noted translator, J.B. Phillips, confesses to this, “The tyrannical super—me condemns and has no mercy on myself.” Seekers after holiness, conscientious as they invariably are, may blame themselves for feelings, weakness or shortcomings about which they have no choice and over which they have no control.

One of Satan’s favorite devices with holiness seekers is to set standards so high that no one could attain them, and then to condemn the conscientious struggler for failing. Allister Smith counsels, “We must be careful not to excuse our sins by calling them faults, nor must we make the opposite mistake of regarding faults in ourselves or in others as sin.” That requires that we make a distinction between iniquity and infirmity, without being either too easy or too hard on ourselves.

Come back to the simplicities. You did not save yourself, and you cannot sanctify yourself. Look to Christ who “is able to save completely those who come to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25).

Dr. Daniel Steele (one of Commissioner Brengle’s early tutors) pointed out that infirmities are always involuntary, while sins are always voluntary. Paul makes the same point, writing, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

That the Spirit-filled man still has his weaknesses the Bible simply takes for granted. “The Spirit helps us in our weakness” (Romans 8:26).

To be quite honest, we believers must admit to rebel emotions and unresolved conflicts. Given a complete dedication to Christ, the therapy and grace will begin quietly to work, and healing will proceed until it results in a beautiful wholeness. “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).

Edward Read, Studies in Sanctification

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