Even just the title of this book flies my heart straight to Jesus, kindling afresh my desire to see him as he is. I’m reminded each day that only God’s strength can sustain and empower me for service, yet I’m tempted to desire worldly strength.
JI Packer’s new book, Weakness is the Way: Life with Christ Our Strength, emboldens those beset with weaknesses with the truth that our human frailty becomes real spiritual strength in and through Christ alone.
Teaching from passages in 2 Corinthians, Packer describes “life with Christ our strength.” In typical Packer fashion, this book draws the reader through the scriptural defense of an idea and hurls you into your daily mundane with a glorious picture of who God is.
“The Christian way of life and service is a walk of weakness, as human strength gives out and only divine strength can sustain and enable.”
I think this book is brilliant not only for its faithful interpretation and pastoral application of the biblical text, but in the way it led this reader to this conclusion:
If you know the God through whom this kind of a life is possible, how could you ever want to live any other way than by his strength made perfect in your weakness?
Here are a few quotes from the book:
“God-taught hoping leads to God-given strengthening. When, humanly, we are weak, then in the Lord we are strong. So it was for the apostles and their colleagues two millennia ago, and so it can and should be today for you and me.”
“The sense in which the Christian life is essentially a pathway of weakness along which God leads us, sustaining and strengthening us for service as we go, is now becoming clear. With regard to tasks and relationships, it is often right, and part of our calling, that we should embrace options in which we may easily find ourselves out of our depth, and in which we know that we cannot hope to succeed without God’s help. And with regard to circumstances, it is often the case that in God’s sovereign providence unforeseen difficulties arise, throwing us back on the Lord for support and subjecting our faith and faithfulness to very grueling tests. One way or another, God works out in all our lives the baptismal pattern of through-death-into-new-life-with-Christ, which the rite itself models as under-the-water-then-up-from-under.”
“It is time now to take to heart [Paul’s] triumphant concluding comment on this aspect of his life situation: ‘Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong’ (vv. 9–10). So lean on Christ, the lover of your soul, as Paul did, and in all your ongoing weakness, real as it is, you too will be empowered to cope and will be established in comfort and joy.”
Weakness is the Way: Life with Christ Our Strength by JI Packer is available for purchase on Amazon.