My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (II Cor. 12:9-10)
When we are born from above, Jesus Christ joins us to Himself and we become one spirit with Him. (I Cor. 6:17) But all those dimensions of our makeup that are outside of our oneness in spirit with Christ remain natural – contrary to the One who is in us.
It is the goal of God to form Christ in us (Gal. 4:19), so that He might be manifested through us — including through natural man. But the natural man cannot receive the things of God. (I Cor. 2:14) The natural man is NOT the source of anything that is of God. Christ is the source, and yet, our natural man will strongly resist the new life. This does not always have to be conscious – it is the NATURE of the natural man to resist. So what is the solution? To turn in upon our natural man and beat our flesh over the head to force it to obey? You can try, but this won’t work. Religious flesh will simply pop up in some other form.
Practically speaking, our natural man must be crucified — made WEAK – reduced and brought down to nothing. God will bring a work of the Cross. We must be shown that there is absolutely nothing in our natural man that can walk with God. In effect, we must learn to STOP being preoccupied with ourselves, and abide in Christ by faith. Someone once said, “Those who manifest Christ the most, are those who are the least aware of it.” This is wisdom and it is the Truth.
Once we are weak in ourselves, we will know what it means to put all of our faith in Christ and live from out of Him for all things. This is spiritual strength. But there is simply no way to live from OUT OF Christ – who is the power of God (I Cor. 1:24) – unless I am being made weak in myself. As Paul said, “For when I am weak, I am strong (in Him).”