“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
I’ve got a lot of problems. I’ve got really bad social anxiety. I am confused about what career path to go down and have been for a long time. I’ve got marital issues, mostly due to me being a self-centered jerk. I struggle with lust and irritability. There aren’t many people in my life that I am actively serving. My mind is so far from God and his kingdom half the day, and I don’t even know how I should think half the day. I’m confused about many things, and there are many things about God and his kingdom that I just don’t know or understand. I’m in therapy for a lot of these issues, and I plan on being in therapy to get help with these things for a long time.
That’s just a small list of the millions of sins and issues I have. I used to think that I shouldn’t let people know about these sins and struggles. I thought that I would make Christ look bad if I let people know what I was going through. I wanted Christianity to be attractive to people. I didn’t want them to look at me and say, “Well, if that’s what a Christian is like. Then I don’t want to be one. That guy has some serious issues,” and if someone did say that, they’d be exactly right. I do.
I’m starting to realize though that letting all of our weaknesses, sins, and struggles be known actually magnifies the beauty of the gospel–the fact that we are loved, saved, and forgiven even in the midst of having so many problems and sins. For God so loved the world that he died for messed up sinners and failures and screw ups like us. That makes him look so great and beautiful. That gives all glory to God and all boasting in the cross where he died for us.
Therefore, we don’t have to hide our sins from other people because this same sin causes us to point people to the cross. It allows us to say, “I’m so thankful for what Jesus has done for us.” It causes us to point to the cross and say, “Look, that is our only hope. Look at Jesus and what he has done for us.” It allows us to glory in the cross alone. It allows us to sing praises about Jesus, letting others know that he is our only hope.
We no longer have to hide who we are or what we struggle with. We can always be open about it. Our claim is not that we have our act together. Our claim is that we are sinners with a lot of problems, and Jesus is our Savior. Our claim is in fact the accusation that unbelievers would make against us. They would say, “Hey, you Christians are a really messed up bunch of people,” and we can agree with them and say, “You’re exactly right, and we’re even more messed up than you think we are. Praise God for sending Jesus to be our Savior.”
Now, I’m not saying we aren’t meant to be lights of the world. Of course, we want to live lives of holiness and service to others, being lights of the world, but being a light of the world doesn’t mean we don’t have sins and struggles. It just means we’re meant to seek to serve others and live for God’s kingdom. It doesn’t mean we’re meant to glorify ourselves and say look at me and how great I am. It’s the exact opposite of that. It is serving others out of love and thankfulness for how great God is for saving wretches like us. Living for God and seeking to serve others with our lives doesn’t negate our sins and problems. Even in the midst of seeking to serve others we still have tons of sins and struggles. We’re meant to let these be known and point to the cross and say, “Look at Jesus and how great he is.”
- Let go of hiding your sins and struggles with people
- Be open about your sins and struggles
- Preach the gospel to yourself and to others