“I hate being weak! And Temptation reminds me that I’m weak” Joel confessed in frustration. Don’t we all hate being weak? We want to develop super-power spiritual muscles. We long to “rise above” the temptations, and frustrations of this world and live on a higher plane of peace. I think it’s ingrained in the human heart at some level to aspire for what the Buddhists have dubbed Nirvana–that state in which the evils of this world no longer beckon us, the pains of this world no longer harm us, and the common emotions of humanity no longer plague us. And in our hearts we writhe against human weakness. We writhe against our own frailties.

Recently I read the story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. What stood out to me this time as I read this passage, was how the episode ended: “And the devil left him until an opportune time.” Jesus was tempted severely by Satan during His time in the wilderness. And we tend to look at that occasion and see it as a once for all deal. Jesus was tempted; He overcame; He didn’t face the devil’s temptation again. WRONG! Jesus was tempted; He overcame; The devil retreated to plan his next assault. That’s in essence what theĀ  little phrase, “opportune time” implies.

Oh, how we long to overcome temptation in one grand, powerful stand. And then be free of it forever. But alas…that is not the way of sin or Satan. The plague of sin will forever taunt us in this life. And no matter how many times we overcome, Satan will continue to search out weaknesses.

Now lest I sound as if the battle is hopeless, let me assert that I am beginning to see weakness as a positive. In our culture we long to be strong and independent. But Jesus called His followers to be weak and needy. He said, “I have come not for the healthy but for the sick.” And “Whoever wants to be first in the kingdom must become like this child.” Who is weaker than the sick? And who is needier than a child?

The truth is, we are all weak, and we are all needy. The difference is in whether we acknowledge it or not. And in whether we allow that weakness to throw us upon the mercy of our all-powerful Savior. Weakness seems to hold us back. But God says, “My strength is perfect in weakness.” This is another one of God’s amazing paradoxes. Our weakness is designed to be a tool that drives us to Him. And His strength in us is the only antidote to the crippling kryptonite of sin.

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