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

Thank God if You're Strong

Karen Zerby

—By Maria Maria #105 DO 2556 6/89

—"Ye that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak!"—Rom.15:1.

1. If you're strong in certain areas, you certainly don't have to feel bad or sorry about it! The Lord gave you those strengths & He uses them.—Even many of those so-called "natural" strengths. If you're in a bind & you don't naturally have certain strengths or abilities & you really need such strengths or abilities, the Lord can give them to you supernaturally. But if you already have them naturally, He'll use what you've got.

2. After all, what you have naturally is what God's already given you‚ maybe a long time ago, perhaps even before you were saved & joined the Family. There are some traits you learn & gain just through living life, through growing up with your parents in whatever environment you were raised in. There are other natural strengths & traits that He gave you at birth. His Word says, "A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from Heaven. What hast thou that thou didst not receive?—Every good gift is from Above!"—Jn.3:27; 1Cor.4:7; Jam.1:17.

3. Of course, when it's a God-given natural talent or strength, it's a little harder for others to see that it's the Lord, so you have to keep reminding them & continually give the Lord the credit. It might even be a little difficult for you to realise that it's the Lord Who's doing it if you know that even when you were unsaved you still had some of those same abilities or characteristics.

4. But whether or not it's hard for you to see that it's the Lord, & whether or not it's hard for others to see that, the fact still remains that it was the Lord Who gave them to you in the first place! So whether He gives certain talents or gifts or strengths to you in the beginning, or later on through years of training & experience‚ or whether He has to just give them to you on the spot, supernaturally when you desperately need them, one way or the other the Lord is still the One Who gives it to you!

5. We all have so many weaknesses, I think we should be very thankful for any strengths we may have! Thank God for them! I thank the Lord for some people's exceptional determination & will-power & dedication, real needed strengths in the Lord's Work! Of course, they have something to do with it; they've had to put their will on the Lord's side & decide they were going to yield to & obey Him. Then when they got on the right track, they already had certain qualities of character that were very strong, & He uses those strengths for His glory.

6. But even the strongest of us have fleshly weaknesses that we succumb to now & then. The real test of our strength in the Lord—or of how much we are going to rely on His strength—is how much do we allow our personal weaknesses‚ temptations & battles to hinder or distract us from our job for Him?—In other words, how single-minded do we remain? For example, there are some people who can even handle a love relationship without it decreasing their fervor & dedication to the Lord's Work. In fact, if both members of such a relationship vow to put the Lord first in their lives‚ & consistently work on "seeking first the Kingdom of God," He usually not only allows it, but blesses it.

7. Even very "naturally" strong people can easily succumb to human tests & temptations unless they're relying on the Lord's strength & are desperate for His help. After all, we're all nothing without Him‚ & totally without strength or even breath without His help & strength! There's no strength without God's strength. All things are possible with God, but without Him, nothing—at least nothing good—is possible!


8. When I see someone is strong enough that they don't worry about their problems & they just go ahead & do their job regardless, that's a very good quality, & I thank the Lord for it. Thank God they can just go ahead & do what they're supposed to do without being diverted & distracted by all sorts of things! But a lot of people are much weaker, so we've got to take that into account in our relationships & dealings with others.

9. The Bible says, "Ye that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak."—Rom. 15:1. That makes it obvious that there are some people who are strong & some people who are weaker, that's just the way it is.

10. The point I'm trying to make is that we don't want to minimise strengths. I think some of the things I've written are being taken a little bit to the extreme by some people, & maybe they're getting into this business about being weak a little too much. Some people have apparently interpreted the things I've said to mean you're supposed to just let it all hang out, that it's okay now to just give in to all your lusts & fleshly desires, as well as your laziness & your selfishness—all your weaknesses! But that certainly is not the point that I was trying to bring out!

11. We need soldiers & we need single-minded people who aren't going to be deterred & distracted so easily.—Not that you can't enjoy things, but you should be strong enough to not be easily distracted from the very major important work that you're supposed to be doing for the Lord!

12. So if you're someone who doesn't have a lot of major weaknesses—for example, you don't become easily discouraged or condemned‚ or you don't easily become jealous or critical or lifted up in pride, you certainly shouldn't feel bad about it! To not be bothered or burdened with such weaknesses is a strength in the Lord's Work!

13. We need to be single-minded! "In singleness of heart, serving the Lord."—Col.3:22. Paul said, "None of these things move me."—Acts 20:24. Paul was a good example of a real single-minded disciple. He was determined to serve the Lord, & he wasn't going to let anything deter him or stop him; persecution or tribulation or distress or all those other things he listed!—Rom.8:35-39; 2Cor.11:23-28! Paul's a sample in the Word of somebody it wouldn't hurt for us to try to follow a little more.

14. We've talked a lot about weaknesses because we've got a lot of weak people. We have to "support the weak" (1Th.5:14), so to speak, & gently help them along. Remember, we're a Family as well as an Army. Let's face it, even though we're an Army, a lot of our folks don't always exactly measure up to strict soldier standards.—Which is why "we that are strong need to bear the infirmities of the weak."—Rom.15:1. So we definitely don't want to minimise the strong, because the strong have to help pull the weak along!

15. (Fam: The talks you've given on "What is Weak" & "The Handicap of Natural Ability" have been a great help to the Family. If someone has a certain weakness, those Letters help them to accept themselves the way they are, the way the Lord made them. But this talk makes it clear that we can thank the Lord for our strengths too, because the Lord made each of us a certain way, & to demean the strengths He's given us is to demean the Lord‚ just as to demean our weaknesses is to demean the Lord's workings & design.)

16. I was majoring on weaknesses in those talks, & I hadn't really thought too much about the other side of the coin. But I definitely think it's time for the Family to realise that we don't want everyone to be so weak they all just collapse on the floor in a pile of jello or mush or something! If you have weaknesses, yes, you should confess them. But at the same time you should try to overcome them with the Lord's help! You can't just say, "Look, I've got all these weaknesses‚ now He has to do a miracle!" Well, He probably does, & He can if necessary‚ but we also need to do our part.

17. To be a good witness or a good leader, to be successful for the Lord, we've got to be strong one way or the other. Whether it's our own so-called "natural" strength which the Lord has given‚ or the Lord's supernatural strength, we need to be "strong in the Lord" for His Work's sake.—Eph.6:10. To do the Lord's Work requires strength, some kind of strength.—And it's all the Lord's strength because "every good gift & every perfect gift is from Above!"—Jam.1:17.

18. So don't worry about it if you're strong, thank God for it!—Whether He's given it to you supernaturally or whether He gave it to you when you first joined the Family or whether you got it at birth!—Wherever you got it, thank God for it & give Him all the credit for it! Since we're all weak in some areas, thank the Lord for the strengths He's given you in the areas that count & that are needed for His Work!


19. Of course‚ one of the drawbacks of being strong in a particular area, or having a very strong character or nature, is that you usually aren't as mindful or considerate as you should be of others who may be weaker in that same area. When you're stronger than others you may tend to be less tolerant or understanding of them than you would be otherwise. So you need to be careful about your presentation to others, particularly when you're working with people who may be weaker than you, who might be very affected by the way things are said to them or very affected by outside influences or other people's opinion of them. In other words, when others are a bit weaker, you have to try to be very gentle with them & very considerate & very loving. (See 1Th.2:7.)

20. You shouldn't be like an army sergeant who just barks out orders & says, "Hey you!—Do this! Do that!" A lot of our people have taken that kind of treatment for years. And although I think they've been hurt by it, they've endured it.—Which shows they had a real spiritual strength in the Lord. They didn't let the Chain or some unloving leader stop them from serving the Lord in the Family. Their love for the Lord & their faith & strength were tested, & they passed, God bless them! But a lot of people can't take that kind of treatment without it causing some kind of damage or hurt or offence.

21. So we need to be gentle & loving in our dealings with others. It's sweet & it's nicer to be‚ & it's showing them the Lord's Love. The Bible says we're to "be gentle unto all men" (2Tim.2:24), not only because we want to show them love‚ but also because we want to preserve & keep them for the Lord's Work & help them to do the best they can. This especially holds true when people are not so strong in spirit. You can't just demand, "Okay! Do this! Do that!", except perhaps when it's an absolute emergency, which should be a very rare occurrence. You usually have to explain & tell them why you want something done, & say it gently & sweetly. Most people look for that & most people need that.

22. I know that I could just bark over the intercom at some of our staff & tell them what to do & they'd do it!—They're strong. But I also know that they feel a lot better because I don't present things that way, even though I know that they'd obey no matter how I said it or presented it. But there are a lot of people who might not do things unless you present it to them the right way. Besides, being loving & kind is showing the Lord's Love, & that's what we're supposed to do. Amen? So whether someone is weak or strong, the Love way is the best way‚ & Love never fails!—So keep on loving! GBY!