Bruce: What does Paul's life teach us about suffering?
Keith: Paul is the first one to identify this Kingdom-principle of weakness by name, although the idea is really evident throughout the lives of nearly every one we encounter in the Bible.
God refused to remove Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” after 3 requests and finally said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient (it’s enough) for you.” And then Paul understood: This weakness was “the power of Christ in me”.
Bruce: Describe how God works in our weakness.
Keith: The short answer is: We must decrease so He can increase.
The slightly longer answer is: We need to stop disqualifying ourselves from service because we believe that we’re not smart enough, or talented enough, or that we’re not a good teacher or speaker, etc. The reality is: Neither were any of the great men and women of faith we see in the entire Bible. They were liars, adulterers, murderers, cowards, tricksters, and everything else. In short, they were just as screwed up as you and I are. So…what’s the difference between them and us? It’s that they made themselves available to God, and they were very much aware of their weaknesses, and most importantly – they actually did whatever it was that God called them to do. They trusted in God’s strength and they recognized their own weakness.
Bruce: What does Gideon show us in the way God uses weakness?
Keith: He’s a perfect example of this principle. The Bible tells us that Gideon was from the lowest of the 12 tribes, and that his clan was the least of the clans within that tribe. His family was the least family and he was the least among his own family. The perfect choice for God who was looking for a might warrior, right? He’s threshing wheat in a wine press. Why? Because he’s terrified of the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appears to him he says, “Greetings, oh mighty man of God!” which is the biggest joke in the Bible. He’s not. But God knows something about Gideon: He knows that Gideon will do whatever He asks of him. Like…sending home thousands of soldiers because God tells him, “You have too many men for me to give you the victory.” That’s someone who is not trusting in their own strength or ability to win a battle. Gideon knew – and everyone else knew – that it was only the power of God who would win the battle and set the people free.
Bruce: When we were children, we were taught that Samson probably looked a lot like a muscular physical specimen- does that take away from the true story of Samson?
Keith: Well, just imagine if we had been told the truth? What if our picture books showed tiny, skinny little Samson being filled with the Spirit of God and then lifting the gates of the city off the hinges? Or defeating an entire army with a jawbone? Wouldn’t that have sent a message to every little boy and girl? Wouldn’t we have understood that with God all things are possible?
[end part 2]
LISTEN TO THE ACTUAL RADIO INTERVIEW HERE>