From the book “The Overcoming Life” by Watchman Nee, ch. 4
"BOASTING IN ONE’S WEAKNESSES
Second Corinthians 12:9 says, “He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly therefore I will rather boast in my weaknesses that the power of Christ might tabernacle over me.” Have you seen this? Weakness is not something that one should lament over or weep about. Weakness is something that one should boast in. You may have said, “Thank and praise the Lord because He has made me overcome,” but have you ever said, “Thank and praise the Lord because He has made me fail miserably”? You thank and praise the Lord for giving you patience, but have you thanked and praised Him for your impossible temper? Have you thanked and praised Him for your pride? Have you thanked and praised Him for your jealousy? Have you thanked and praised Him for your uncleanness within and for your sin? If you have these problems, you should thank and praise the Lord for them. The first thing you must do is realize that you cannot make it. The second thing you should do is give up trying to make it. The third thing you should do is thank and praise God for not being able to make it. Hallelujah! I cannot make it. Hallelujah, I cannot make it!
Why did Paul say, “I will rather boast in my weaknesses”? The word “boast” is “glory” in the original language. Paul said that he considered his weaknesses to be his glory. This is because his weaknesses afforded Christ the opportunity to manifest His power and the opportunity for this power to tabernacle over him. Christ’s power cannot tabernacle over those who do not have any weaknesses. Only those with weaknesses can experience the tabernacling of Christ’s power. I would rather boast in my weaknesses because my weaknesses afford the Lord an opportunity to work in me. They afford the Lord an opportunity to manifest His power and to do something in me…
Later I opened 2 Corinthians 12:9 and read to him. I asked, “What should you do about your weakness? Should you weep? There is no need to weep. What then should you do? You should rejoice in your weakness. You should boast in your weakness. You should be happy to boast about your weakness because when you are weak, Christ’s power will tabernacle over you.” Then I challenged him, saying, “Can you go to the Lord Jesus today and say, `Lord Jesus, I have been smoking for over ten years. I thank You that I cannot quit smoking. Lord Jesus, I have tried to quit smoking for four years and have completely failed. I thank and praise You because I tried to quit seven or eight times last year without success. I thank You because I can do nothing. I thank You because I am weak. I thank You because I cannot make it. Lord Jesus, I thank You because I smoke. From now on, I cannot quit smoking, and I do not intend to quit smoking. I pray that You will quit for me. If You do not quit for me, I cannot quit by myself. I will not use my own strength to quit anymore. I simply let You quit for me. Thank and praise You, because Your power is perfected in my weaknesses.’ What if we kneel down to pray right now?”
He agreed and said, “All right, let’s pray.” He acted like a soldier and dropped abruptly to his knees. First I prayed, “Lord, I thank You because this is another opportunity for You to manifest Your power in a terminal patient. Here is a helpless person, and we want to see You perform a miracle on him.” After I prayed, he also prayed. His prayer was excellent. He said, “I praise You because I smoke, and I cannot quit smoking. This is why I am coming to You. Lord, from now on, I will no longer try to quit. You quit for me. I will not try to quit anymore. I commit everything into Your hand. Thank and praise You. You are able.” After the prayer, He was very happy. He got on his feet, picked up his hat, and was about to leave. I said, “Wait a minute. I have something more to say to you. Will you still smoke from now on?” He gave me a very good answer: “I will. Of course, I will smoke. I, Tsai-lin Shi, will smoke. But the Lord Jesus will quit for me.” At that word, he left.
The next evening, he came to the meeting again. He testified that he had told his wife, “For over a year, you have been complaining and have been telling me that smoking is wrong. But I could not quit. Yesterday morning I went to God, and in half an hour, I quit. There is no need for you to complain anymore. All that I needed was to go to God for half an hour.” I asked whether he would still smoke. He said, “Of course, I will.” I then asked what he would do. He said, “I will always smoke. I, Tsai-lin Shi, will always smoke, even five or ten years from now. It is the Lord Jesus who will quit smoking for me.” When I heard this, I became peaceful. I knew that the matter was settled. This man knew himself, and he knew God. He knew that the change did not come from him but from the Lord Jesus. Two months after I left Chefoo, I learned that he had not smoked even once. All the brothers testified that he grew and advanced in a quick way…
Brothers and sisters, our inability is not a hindrance but a help. The more we cannot make it, the more Christ will have the opportunity to manifest His power. He specializes in dealing with our inability and weakness. The more we become destitute, the more we fail, the weaker we become, and the more we cannot make it, the more opportunity there is for our Lord to manifest His power in us. Hallelujah! Jesus is the Savior! Hallelujah! He is our Lord. Hallelujah! He is our life. Hallelujah, His power is given purposely to tabernacle over our weaknesses. Our eyes should see Him and not ourselves.”