Follow Us

His power shows up in your weakness

Vulnerability is defined as "capable of being physically or emotionally wounded." I wrote a blog on vulnerability and asked, is it a good or a bad thing? The Bible says that God's power "works best in weakness." 2 Cor. 12:9   After reading my post, a blog r…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Vulnerability is defined as "capable of being physically or emotionally wounded." I wrote a blog on vulnerability and asked, is it a good or a bad thing? The Bible says that God's power "works best in weakness." 2 Cor. 12:9
After reading my post, a blog reader got after me for touting vulnerability as a virtue. He wrote: "There is no Scriptural support for vulnerability being virtuous."
Apparently if the actual word doesn't show up in the Bible then the virtue doesn't exist. Interesting. If we were to mistranslate the word "humility," and it didn't appear in the Bible, I wonder if it would cease to exist?
He said this right after another comment citing an example of vulnerability where the word doesn't appear: "One of the best examples of vulnerability for me is in Psalm 51, not only did King David humble himself before God he wrote it down for all to see. If leaders can not demonstrate this kind of faith how are we to help people grow into maturity?"
Then yesterday I saw in this blog post from Seth Godin that the market has recognized how "the appearance of weakness shows strength." He advocates the following actions:


Defer to others

Avoid shortcuts

Tell the truth

Offer kindness

Seek alliances

Volunteer to take the short straw

Choose the long-term, sacrificing the short

Demonstrate respect to all, not just the obviously strong

Share credit and be public in your gratitude
He concludes, "Risking the appearance of weakness takes strength. And the market knows it." And I thought to myself: Do I really make myself vulnerable?
God likes it and the marketplace likes it. How about you? Do you hide your weakness or allow God to demonstrate his power through it?

Comments (12)

  • Good blog Seth. It’s crazy, I’m in TX currently & was catching up with my college pastor last night. We were talking about community & the need for honesty & vulnerability. That’s when he said, “well you know that vulnerability means being capable of being wounded.” I never knew that was the actual definition but it makes so much sense. Anyway, just thought that was interesting that I’ve heard the exact same thing from 2 completely different places in the same 24 hrs. Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jesus had many vulnerable times in his life but 2 big ones stick out; when he laid aside his God mantle and was born as a helpless baby into a violent world under siege, and the other was when he laid down, naked and beaten, onto a slab of wood to get pinned there for certain death and misery. Can we empty ourselves out like that? No. Not without the supernatural power of the Humble One living through us.

    Great blog, as always.

  • My first reaction is, “I hope I am vulnerable” and I think I must be because I have been wounded, several times, in fact.
    But the truth is, it is the wounding of Christ (his vulnerability) that makes us strong enough to heal from the wounding, exhibiting and living the characteristics Godin mentions.Those are all great attributes, and we would all journey well in life to pursue them.

    And I pray that I may continue to be vulnerable…

  • as i prayed this morning, pouring out to the Lord that i feel so vulnerable lately, so weak, i thank the lord for your blog this morning reminding me of his purpose in our weakness to be made strong and to be glorified …thanks again…

  • It seems I often find myself in that place of vulnerability. In fact, I’m there in many ways right now.

    It just occurred to me that everytime I find myself there, I spend so much time and energy trying to get out of it. It feels so unatural and my survival instinct is to run from it, but perhaps what I really need to do is learn how to live in it.

  • @Kim, great point! I think it’s more of a dominant male trait to want to escape vulnerability almost as much as shopping with our spouses. It’s viewed as, “let me get my vulnerability points and get back to a position of strength as quickly as possible” or “honey, can you just get what we came here for and get out?”

    We slap ourselves on the back for enduring a moment of pain but then retreat to a default position that is neither humble nor vulnerable. But, we’re in charge and confident…isn’t that what American culture expects of us?

    I agree, Kim, we need to learn to live in that lowly state, let it affect us, let it permeate us. Then we might actually experience the transformation of our minds that Paul espouses in Romans 12.

  • Thanks Seth for the reminder. My Catholic tribe (in particular) help me better understand that weakness, thorns in the flesh, disappointments and discouragements all form a tonic which with the addition of the unshakable power of Jesus allow us to be wounded healers. Without a limp or if we hide those we have there is a much diminished engagement with a hurting world. O often retell the story of being with a handful of couples who were friends in my prior married life. I shared some burdens and areas where I was asking God to work in my life. It was open, authentic, raw and real. At the end of the confessional I asked… “What about any of you? What do you struggle with?” I’ll never forget the answer. It was complete silence from a dozen people. The lesson I took from that surreal event was we need to be part of the right tribe and that means people willing to share and bear burdens. Settings for “professional Christianity” don’t easily afford that. Biker friends do.

  • @ Butch you are so right, Christianity as a whole has gotten way off track, it’s time for us to come come back to the virtues and true nature of the Father…. this is a great issue to talk about, I went back and read the other blogs (yours Seth and the other one)…… Jesus clearly says in Luke 6:29, “to him who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other also. and from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either”… put yourself in a place of vulnerability. It doesn’t get any clearer than that! this is defiantly going to be the next discussion in youth church for me!

  • I recently learnt how God does rescue us when we are at our most vulnerable. He did. He rescued me. He is Almighty and I need His strength. I was in a armed robbery, and the presence of God was there. What peace. Not only that but God warned me in advance of an attack from the enemy. I did not know in what form it would be. But again God gave me strength when I could not help myself. I praise you God of Israel!

  • One of the qualities of leadership that people will actively line up and follow is leading the 2nd Cor. 12:9 way with your lame leg forward as opposed to trying to appear or be perceived as strong. That’s why its such a big deal when famous Christians fall because of sin (Ted Haggard, J. Swaggart, etc) because they lived out of their strength instead of their weaknesses. How differently might people have responded if these guys and ourselves lead with our lame leg and boasted in our weaknesses so that the power of Christ might rest on us?

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Radical Living:

Receive updates on the latest posts as Seth Barnes covers many topics like spiritual formation, what if means to be a christian, how to pray, and more. Radical Living blog is all about a call to excellence in ministry, church, and leadership -as the hands and feet of Jesus.

Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

© Adventures In Missions. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy | RSS Feed | Sitemap