KEYWORDS: lord, weaknesses, strength, people, others, strengths

Be Strong in the Lord

Karen Zerby

—Eph.6:10—By Maria Maria #104 DO 2555 6/89

1. The reason I've talked about weaknesses & the need to confess & admit your weaknesses is because a lot of our leaders, & hence a lot of our people‚ had the mistaken idea that they were supposed to be so strong & virtually "perfect" all the time. And some felt that if they couldn't be perfect, they were at least supposed to look like they were perfect, pretend they were perfect! So they tried to never let anybody know that they made any mistakes or that they had any trials or weaknesses, & in so doing, they portrayed the wrong idea of what leadership is supposed to be like.

2. But to be weak just for the sake of being weak is not the point or purpose that I was trying to bring out in those Letters on weaknesses & natural abilities! Just to be weak is certainly not the goal or the end! Through being weak in ourselves we're supposed to show the Lord's strength! That's the purpose of honestly confessing & admitting our weaknesses: To show that the Lord is strong, that even though we are weak, the Lord can be strong in us! Through our weaknesses He can be shown to be strong.

3. We certainly never intended to give anyone the impression that they're supposed to be so weak that they're like jelly on the floor! What would be the purpose or testimony in that? People would just look at you & say, "Boy, look at that poor guy!—The Lord & the Gospel sure don't have much to offer him! I thought God was supposed to be able to do miracles in your life, I thought God was supposed to be able to make you strong!"

4. We have to use our weaknesses to show the Lord's strength. "His strength is made perfect in our weakness!"—2Cor.12:9. It's not that we shouldn't be strong. The Word says, "Be strong in the Lord & the power of His might!"—Eph.6:10. We're supposed to be strong, but strong in the Lord, not in ourselves.

5. To help others to understand that our strength is in the Lord, we do need to be willing & open about admitting our own weaknesses. But at the same time we better accept the Lord's strength & be showing His strength by fighting for victories over our weaknesses & testifying to others about how the Lord is pulling us through!—And not just saying, "Oh, look how weak I am, I'm so weak I can't do anything!"

6. But since we published those Letters like "The Handicap of Natural Ability" & "What is Weak?", apparently some people have misinterpreted them & taken them in the wrong way & are using what I said as a justification for all their weaknesses & problems!—"If I just tell everybody how weak I am, then I won't have to fight any more & I won't have to get the victory! I have an excuse now to just lie around on the floor & let the Enemy walk all over me! I don't have to get up or fight or do anything about it to show the Lord's strength!—Just tell everybody I'm weak!"

7. Well, people who have that idea got the wrong idea! So now I've got to balance it out & show the other side of the coin by preaching, "Be glad if you're strong!" And get up & fight & show the Lord's strength! (Peter: That was the whole point of your Letters, to show the Lord's strength, to give Him the glory!) Yes, that was supposed to be the point! (Peter: The reason you've shared your weaknesses wasn't so you could stay weak & do nothing, but so the Lord would get the credit & the glory when He used you.—So people would know it was really the Lord.) Amen.

8. (Peter: Like when I visited the HC School: There were a lot of times I felt like the job was too big & I couldn't possibly go on. I'd be lonesome, discouraged & felt like utterly giving up on myself, & I would admit it & ask for prayer from the leadership there. But regardless of how weak & incapable I felt, I still had to go & give those meetings. Sometimes I couldn't even get started. I didn't know what to say. I had to ask the whole body to pray for me. Then when I went ahead & gave the meeting‚ it was obvious to everyone that either the Lord had gotten the victory, or that He was helping me do what I was supposed to be doing in spite of how I felt. Either way, He got all the credit.)

9. Yes‚ & I think everybody there got the right point in your case. But I've heard of people who just use my Letters as an excuse to justify their terrible sample. They tell others, "I'm discouraged" for days at a time, or "I'm really jealous" but then they don't fight or do anything to get the victory over it. And when others who are close to them see that kind of poor behaviour, then they start justifying themselves too‚ excusing all of their particular weaknesses, & it starts a terrible chain reaction!

10. So now we've almost got to go the opposite direction. We've got to at least reiterate & clarify & remind everybody that the purpose for admitting your weaknesses to others is to show the Lord's strength! When you admit your weaknesses‚ you've then got to fight & let the Lord show His strength so He gets the credit for whatever gets accomplished. (2Cor.12:9-10)

11. But if you're not even going to fight & people aren't going to be able to see the Lord & His strength through you‚ then in the final analysis it would probably be better for you to just shut up & not even say anything about your weaknesses! If you're just going to talk about & confess all of your weaknesses but aren't going to let the Lord do anything about them or help you to be strong in Him despite them‚ then it would be better for you to just shut up!


12. All of us are weak in some area, & some of us are weak in a lot of areas. But some people are not weak in very many areas, they're stronger than others. Therefore, those people should certainly not feel forced or pressured by others to try to find or admit weaknesses that they don't even have!

13. If you don't have certain weaknesses, you definitely don't have to try to conjure up or create weaknesses in order to appear weak to others! Thank God that everybody doesn't have the same kind of weaknesses!—If you're not weak in a certain area, you should be thankful!

14. The Bible makes it clear that some people are stronger than others. (Rom.15:1.) Paul the Apostle was obviously very strong. It didn't bother him whether he abased or abounded or whether he had sex or didn't have sex. From reading about him, it seems he was sort of oblivious in some ways to a lot of human frailties & human weaknesses that other people suffer & go through. He was such a soldier that the goal, the prize of the High Calling was the only thing that he saw. None of these things moved him!—He was single-minded! (Phil.3:14; Acts 20:24.)

15. Most of our people haven't quite attained to that kind of strength, & are quite a bit weaker. Of course, we would all like to be better soldiers, but most people seem to be pretty weak, so those of us who are weak need to admit we're weak in order to help & encourage others who are also weak to keep going for the Lord. But let's face it, there are also some stronger people around who don't have very many obvious weaknesses.

16. Such people certainly don't have to pretend that they're weak. They just need to keep giving the Lord the credit for their strengths. You don't have to make up weaknesses just because we've talked about the benefits of having some natural weaknesses. You don't have to be weak!

17. The point I've tried to bring out is that you need to be willing to admit it when you are weak or if you are weak. But if you're not weak‚ then for goodness sake, don't try to pretend that you are!—Ha!

18. There's nothing wrong with being strong! Some people are just naturally strong in different areas. Thank God we all don't have to be weak in every area! The Lord has given all of us certain strengths from the time we were born. We've acquired other strengths throughout our lives, even before we got saved & before we joined the Family. So why should anyone fake being weak in areas in which they have strengths that they've had for a long time! The Lord gave them those strengths!

19. So the reason some of our stronger folks rarely admit or confess certain weaknesses may not be because they're too proud, it may just be that they don't have those particular weaknesses! Of course‚ they usually have a lot of little minor ones, we all have little problems & weaknesses.

20. Everybody's human, so everybody has weaknesses in some area. But there are some people who just seem to be exceptionally strong personalities, strong characters. Of course, many strong characters have a lot of weaknesses as well, like Dad says, "Men of force are men of faults!" But when someone's a real soldier who is 110% dedicated & ready to go to battle & fight to the end, their little weaknesses are pretty minor compared to their utter dedication & commitment to the Lord & the Cause.

21. You can't expect people who are naturally pretty strong to be talking about their weaknesses all the time.—They don't have that many! Besides, the point of those Letters I wrote wasn't just to get people talking continually about their weaknesses.—It's to inspire them to show forth the Lord's strength!


22. Of course, when you're strong in an area & you're using that strength & accomplishing something for the Lord, you should certainly give the Lord the credit & the glory.—And when it's an apparently "natural" strength, something you've had all along, it's even more important to verbally give the Lord the glory than when it's an obviously miraculous or supernatural thing. Otherwise most people won't have any way of knowing that it was the Lord & not just you.

23. Some of our people just seem to be exceptionally strong, & they make good strong leaders who don't let themselves get easily distracted. They're single-minded, & don't get easily tripped off. Even their own personal problems hardly seem to faze them or bother them. They just do their job no matter what, & don't spend a lot of time worrying about their problems, they go on for the Lord regardless.

24. With people who are naturally strong like that, we need to remember that it's the Lord Who made them that way & gave them those strengths to begin with. But it usually takes more effort for others to realise that such people's strength is from the Lord. A lot of their strength may be natural in the sense that they've had it since birth. They haven't had to be supernaturally endowed with it like many of us have.

25. As I've said before, in some ways that can be a handicap.—Not only for them, but also for others. It's not so clear to others that it's the Lord Who is working through them. Whereas when they can see that you have a real weakness in some area, a real battle or a real failure, yet the Lord manifests Himself & supernaturally helps you to overcome & really accomplish something anyway, then He's the One Who gets the glory. When they can clearly see where you failed but the Lord succeeded, it's easy for them to give Him the credit.

26. So if you have "natural" strength like that in certain areas, it's even more important to remind people, "The Lord did it!—Thank the Lord!" It's usually even harder for you to see it in such cases, which is why you have to keep reminding yourself that it's the Lord as well. It's not only hard for others to see it, but it's often hard for you to see it‚ especially if you've always had such strengths or talents.

27. We just have to keep reminding ourselves & others that it's the Lord Who has done it all. Because without the Lord we wouldn't be anything & we wouldn't have anything! We wouldn't even be here or have been born or had anything at all! So even if you were strong from the time you were born, born with very strong characteristics, good characteristics, it's still the Lord! Of course, you can have strong characteristics that are negative characteristics, but I'm talking now about good strong, positive characteristics.

28. Some people just naturally seem to be mostly good & strong & positive. Of course, many times they're also prone to being very self-righteous too‚ though not always. But they have to make a real effort to continually & verbally emphasise to people & even to themselves that their strength & talent & anything good about them is only the Lord & His doing! In the case of people with a lot of God–given "natural" strength, it's not quite so apparent or miraculous as in a case where you see an obviously weak person suddenly become strong & empowered from on High!

29. Take me‚ for example.—If I suddenly started spouting out fluent Letters that didn't even have to be edited, you'd know it was really a miracle! It shows the Lord's power much more spectacularly when He can miraculously use someone who is naturally very incapable.—Or when someone who is weak in a certain area suddenly shows real strength in that same area‚ people know it must be the Lord.

30. If I started eloquently prophesying or giving fluent talks like Dad does, people around here would really be able to see that the Lord was anointing me!—Not that I'm not anointed now‚ but now they have to take it more by faith, because my presentation of what He gives is usually pretty rough. In other words, it's sort of the reverse of what the farmer said about his farm when the preacher told him, "The Lord sure has given you a beautiful place." The farmer replied‚ "Yeah, but you should have seen it when the Lord had it!" Well, I feel just the opposite: When the Lord had the ideas, they were great, but when He gives them to me, they sometimes come out a little muddled or unclear in the way I present them!

31. That verse is always near & dear to me, "Now we see through a glass darkly."—1Cor. 13:12. I really do see through it darkly, & it's hard for me to be able to word & express the ideas the Lord gives me. I know it's the Lord Who shows me things & gives me ideas, but it's extremely difficult for me to say them clearly, to be able to word them so people will get the whole picture & understand it. It's not that I'm at all belittling what the Lord gives.—I know they're the Lord's ideas & His thoughts; it's presenting them & being able to clearly word them that's so difficult for me!

32. One person may prophesy very beautifully & fluently in language that's almost Biblical, while another person prophesies very haltingly, slowly & rather roughly. It's a difference in the tools, in the instruments. The Lord is the One Who's giving it to both of them, it's all His inspiration. It's just that certain ones are gifted in different ways, with different strengths, weaknesses, abilities & inabilities.


33. Someone once wrote in their report about one of our Ambassadors who was visiting them, "Oh, he was so together when he was here!" It came across in almost a negative sort of way. I thought‚ "Well, thank God somebody's together!" We'd better be together! That's what the Lord's trying to do with us, put us back together again!—Pick up all the broken pieces, put us together again & make us qualified to do our job!

34. If our Shepherds & Overseers are supposed to be going into situations to try to correct & improve things, they can't be continually falling apart, they need to be together! Of course, it should be the Lord's strength & the Lord's togetherness, but that comment was almost made in a rather negative way. I thought, "Now wait a minute, who said we shouldn't be together?!"

35. We should never—out of jealousy or in an attempt to make everyone else appear to be as weak as we are—minimise or criticise or condemn people who are gifted or strong in areas where we're not! We should just thank God that somebody is strong in the areas that we're weak in. If we were all weak in the same areas we would be a big mess!

36. Why should we ever criticise somebody for their strengths?—Or complain because somebody is so "together"? If somebody has a strong natural organisational ability & has their act together, thank God for it! To criticise it or belittle it shows that you're a little bit off the beam in your way of thinking, or you're misinterpreting something along the way.

37. I can see how someone who wishes they were more organised might sort of be a little jealous of somebody else who is very "together." But it's not good or helpful or right to criticise others for their strengths. My goodness, we're supposed to be strong! For our work & mission & battles, we have to be strong!—And one way or the other it's all the Lord's strength! Whether all of a sudden we fail & then supernaturally succeed by a miracle of the Lord's strength, or if the Lord has simply helped us to be strong all along, it's all still the Lord!

38. I haven't criticised strength in my Letters. Self-righteousness we can condemn & criticise, but we shouldn't criticise strength! Because we've got to be strong! We're an Army & we're in the most dangerous, most difficult Work in the World. We've got to be strong! So we certainly had better not start condemning anybody's strengths! We should really thank God for them & ask the Lord for more of His strength!


39. "His strength is made perfect in our weakness."—2Cor.12:9. It's made perfect in our weakness. In other words, out of our weakness His strength can be manifested. You've got to have strength to do the job. He says, "Be strong in the power of His might!"—Eph.6:10. He admonishes us to be strong! Yes, we have to confess & admit our weaknesses, but at the same time we have to even much more manifest & testify to His strength!

40. We need to do both things at the same time. That's the balance, & that shows that we're weak in ourselves we're strong in the Lord! You don't want to go around just confessing all your weaknesses & not have any of the Lord's strengths to show at the same time.

41. The whole point is we're supposed to be strong in the Lord! That's what we're striving for! We should be striving more to be strong in the Lord than to be weak in the flesh. My goodness, we're not trying to be weak in the flesh, most of us already are! So it's just a matter of admitting the areas that we're weak in & then letting Him make us strong in His strength.

42. We should get our minds off of our weaknesses so much & more on His strength! We can admit & confess our weaknesses, but we shouldn't dwell on them or revel in them with an attitude of, "Oh‚ look how weak I am‚ I can't do anything!" Once we admit or confess our weaknesses‚ we need to realise & be thankful that the Lord is going to make us strong so we can do something for Him! "The people that do know their God shall be strong & do exploits!"—Dan.11:32. That's the goal! PTL! So "be strong in the Lord & in the power of His might!"—Eph.6:10. Amen? GBY! ILY!