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The power of vulnerability

One of the braver things I’ve seen this year was a World Racer I’ll call “Bill” confess his pornography addiction to his team. He was risking a lot. What if they thought he was a freak? Of course they didn’t. What to Bill was a scruffy little habit that resulted i…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

One of the braver things I’ve seen this year was a World Racer
I’ll call “Bill” confess his pornography addiction to his team. He was risking a lot. What if they thought he was a freak?

Of course they didn’t. What to Bill was a scruffy little
habit that resulted in repeated waves of guilt and shame was to teammates a
door to access their own brokenness.

It turns out almost everyone was struggling with some sort
of issue in the privacy of their own minds. When they saw that it was safe for Bill to
trust the group, they were freed to confess their own issues. Out into the open air came the stories of
abuse, eating disorders, and sexual issues.
And on the heels of these words were further confessions of bitterness,
hate, and unforgiveness.

You could almost hear prison doors popping open as the power
of private shame was broken, as the lies people believed about themselves were
exposed to the light of day. (Some later


blogged
about it and continue to do so.)

Jesus said he came to set the captives free. That’s not just those who are demonized or
are in the grips of evil. Jesus holds
the key to every ankle chain and every prison door restraining us. But we have to confess our sins, not just to
Him, but to one another to experience freedom.
Doing so breaks the power that secrets hold over us. James 5:16 promises
us physical healing if we are sick, but before praying, James instructs us, we
should confess our sin to each other.

That, folks, is the power of vulnerability. It is the antecedent to revival; it is the
foundation stone to true community.

I saw it last week on Easter Sunday during World Race
training. I intended to speak on some
inane topic that, doubtlessly, people would have soon forgotten. Instead, after a time of worship and prayer I
asked Jeff Goins to pray.

In his prayer, Jeff asked for forgiveness for
something. Yes, God prompted him, but
Jeff had to cooperate. And his minor act
of obedience triggered someone else to pray out their own confession.

And from there, a chain reaction ensued. The scent of freedom in the air became
contagious. People began running to
Jesus with the most tawdry and disgusting issues, issues that had kept them in
bondage, captives to shame.

And one by one, Jesus set them deliciously free from the
power of death operating in their lives.
Waves of tears ensued; tears of repentance followed by tears of
unrestrained joy.

Pretty soon, the whole room was up for grabs. The magic of Easter was gloriously
reenacted. People who had been “dead in
their sins” were resurrected, born-again again.

And when the tide of vulnerability that had unleashed such
waves of revival at last began to ebb, there seemed to be a sacred residue in
the room – a sprinkling of spiritual stardust that left us reluctant to speak,
knowing that any words about life beyond those walls would be banal and fall
flat.

There is a great reservoir of grace awaiting those of you
who will risk trusting your brothers and sisters with your secrets. Too many of us have listened to the “Accuser
of the Brethren” too long. We were born
for freedom. We need to ask God to
reveal the prisons in which we’ve hidden, some of us for many years. And then we need to ask Him for the gumption
we need to stage a jail break.

Comments (8)

  • Beautiful what the Lord can do with our willinness to be open. Kind of an ah-ha moment for me to realize that openess and vulnerability go hand in hand. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

  • That indeed was the best Easter I’ve ever experienced. I am free and continue to live in His presence so joyfully! I was left with great challenges to continue an unbalanced life. Even reading through The Barbarian Way right now gets me tired and bored ’cause I’ve experienced and know a life can be lived that way – why would I settle to sit and simply read about it. Thanks for being part of our wonderful week, it was good to see you again.

  • I think I tasted a little bit of what the first Easter was like that Sunday in the unfinished attic of the AIM office. Your words so beautifully describe the atmosphere that day. And so, we are one step closer to experiencing such community in heaven with unrestrained vulnerability and joy, but, I think, after such a week as the prior, we are also one step closer to seeing heaven brought to earth.

    Let the kingdom come.

  • > And when the tide of vulnerability that
    > had unleashed such waves of revival at
    > last began to ebb

    Was this truly a “tide of vulnerability” or a tide of honesty and humility? (They are not the same thing.)

    Confession followed by repentance is indeed powerful for setting the captives free. Crucifying the flesh does lead to power in the Spirit. However, nowhere does Scripture teach the virtue of vulnerability.

    I applaud the affirm those who find freedom in truth, humility, and humble meekness by confessing our sins and seeking repentance and restoration with Christ, but I find it tragic that anyone would attribute the overcoming power of Christ to a virtue (i.e. vulnerability) which is not taught in Scripture

  • Vulnerability is something we do when we are confident that the armour of God is working and in place because it is in the utmost trust and sincere faith that God will not let us down. We can face fear, hurt, disappointments and insults this way. We are like little children in our vulnerability because our dependence on God is to the point that we are completely reliant on him. We are completely exposed, transparent and open but we are vigilant to be on guard…what are we guarding? I believe we are guarding our hearts so that when thoughts come in and try to pry us off that place of vulnerabilty we can cast down those vain imaginations instantly. So we are vulnerable and mighty warriors at the same time, Full or power and might but at the same time full of gentleness and mercy….isn’t this the character of our Lord?

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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.



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