In His teachings, Jesus often corrected our views by reframing our perspective. From Jesus point of view there is strength in our weakness and triumph in affliction. According to Richard Hansen, Jesus used paradoxes to help us see who he truly was and to encourage us as Christ followers to live differently.
“If you frame weakness not to be a sense of being downtrodden, of not being able to cope, but rather you understand weakness in terms of humility and servanthood then there is a strength that comes from that.”
“Jesus says similar things when He says ‘the first shall be last, the last shall be first.‘ He says ‘the greatest will be the servant.‘ All of these ideas circle around the same idea of re-framing what it is to be strong, great and instead to see that servanthood.”
Greatness does not come from the world but from the hand of God; it comes from doing what God would have us do.
“In God’s economy, all of those things are seen in a different way than we often see them in the world today.”
In God’s economy there is triumph when we honor Him through affliction. How can something that seems to be ruining us actually be for our benefit?
“We assume that affliction and suffering is going to ultimately be to our detriment. And yet, there are all kinds of stories in Scripture of where affliction caused people to triumph.”
“Joseph was a great one. He was left for dead by his brothers, sold into slavery, had just kind of gotten the leg up in Potiphar’s household when suddenly he was thrown in prison. He goes through many times of affliction but ultimately, he triumphs through those because God has a bigger plan that he couldn’t see.”
More often than not, God’s plans are mysterious, and that’s okay. If we fix our eyes on God, He will bring His plans to fruition through us.
“God often has plans and intentions that are mysterious to us.”
Richard P. Hansen is a longtime pastor and former missionary professor at Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He has written articles for Leadership Journal, Preaching, Books & Culture, and International Bulletin of Missionary Research and received study grants from both the Louisville Institute and the Lilly Endowment.
Key Scripture: Ephesians 3:20-21
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