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Vulnerability Gets Us to God’s Best

I’m writing this from Thailand. When I return home  from trips like this, Asha, our little Morky dog, invariably will greet me by laying on her back and showing her stomach. She waits for me to approach and scratch her. She connects with vulnerability. She’s saying, “You’re the alpha dog a…
By Seth Barnes

I’m writing this from Thailand. When I return home  from trips like this, Asha, our little Morky dog, invariably will greet me by laying on her back and showing her stomach. She waits for me to approach and scratch her.

She connects with vulnerability. She’s saying, “You’re the alpha dog and I know my place in the pack.”

But that’s not how it typically works with humans. Vulnerability does not come naturally for most of us. If we feel insecure how do most of us respond? We respond defensively. We push back.

In a world where survival was an everyday question, maybe this made sense. But it doesn’t get us to God’s best in today’s world. These days, we need more. We need to embrace vulnerability.

What vulnerability does

This needs to be the new normal in church.  This is part of the good news that Jesus preached. His path of vulnerability may be a narrow one, but it is the path leading to abundant life. It may be rare, but it is powerful. It is the power that our heroes have tapped into. Think of Gandhi and Mandela, and King. They all projected power from a place of weakness.

Here is what they discovered about vulnerability:

It defuses shame

It connects us

It reinforces safety

It makes intimacy possible

It builds trust

There is a great reservoir of grace awaiting those of you who will risk trusting your brothers and sisters with your secrets. 

Vulnerability & revival

Revival is a rediscovery of intimacy with the Father. My limited experience with revival has always started with vulnerability. Consider the notion that your confession of sin does nothing to clean you up. Jesus already did that. What your confession does is put you in agreement with God. As a flawed human, you are already in a vulnerable place.

When we confess our sins, we affirm that place of weakness; we agree with God about the divine order of creation.

Confess your failings publicly and a chain reaction sometimes ensues. The scent of freedom in the air can become contagious. I have seen people begin running to Jesus with the most tawdry and disgusting issues, issues that had kept them in bondage, captives to shame.

In one revival I witnessed four years ago, we watched as one by one, Jesus set each person deliciously free from the power of death operating in their lives. Waves of tears ensued; tears of repentance followed by tears of unrestrained joy.

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.

It’s a paradox that true power is found through vulnerability. It’s in our weakness that God makes us strong. The power of God comes on those who posture themselves in meekness. 

Vulnerability precedes all revival and all forms of intimacy. It is there at the start of every true community. It is part of the Gospel message that has fallen out of favor in a culture that insists on respect. 

For those of us who follow Jesus, it is the path of salvation that leads to the Kingdom coming.

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