“But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” -2 Corinthians 12:9-10
“But as for us, there are many reasons why we must pass our lives under a continual cross. First, as we are by nature too inclined to attribute everything to our flesh-unless our feebleness be shown, as it were, to our eyes-we readily esteem our virtue above its due measure…But even the most holy persons, however much they may recognize that they stand not through their own strength but through God’s grace, are too sure of their own fortitude and constancy unless by the testing of the cross he bring them into a deeper knowledge of himself.”
As knowledge of God increases so does knowledge of self. The primary instructive tool God employs to educate his people in regard to himself is the cross. Calvin says God educates us with the cross because of our inclination to have an exalted view of ourselves and, in turn, a low view of God. The cross humbles us and exalts God. It reorients things and causes us to view God and ourselves properly.
Physical crucifixion weans the flesh of life. Spiritual crucifixion also reduces the vitality of the flesh. Godly and supernatural empowerment begins where the flesh ends. As God crucifies us he simultaneously infuses us with strength and power that was heretofore foreign to us. Therefore, do not lost heart when God has you hoisted up on your own personal cross. What feels like the death of you is the beginning of the empowerment process! God crucifies in order to empower.
How has God been educating and empowering you through your cross? (Justin)