Vulnerability: The Unexpected Path to Spiritual Wholeness

God is calling us to vulnerability in Christ, being clothed in His armor, the armor of His glory and strength we thence may dispense with the accouterments of human defensiveness that are vain, futile, and only serve, they ONLY serve to isolate us from one another and from the joy of community in the Father. Are you listening? Your liberty is at hand!

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” – Brené Brown

These words from researcher and author Brené Brown ring true, even within the context of a Christian life. Vulnerability can feel like a scary, even dangerous concept for those of us who value strength and composure. But what if vulnerability is precisely what Jesus calls us to? After all, what act could be more vulnerable than God Himself entering the world as a helpless baby, ultimately sacrificing his own life?

While it seems counterintuitive, the Bible consistently reminds us that genuine strength is found in embracing our weaknesses. Let’s explore why vulnerability is essential for spiritual growth and how it fosters the qualities Brown lists above – love, belonging joy, courage, empathy, creativity, hope, accountability, and authenticity.

Vulnerability and the Armor of God

In Ephesians 6, the Apostle Paul describes the “Armor of God.” However, notice that in this well-known passage, there’s no call to don shields, chest plates, or battle-worn helmets. Instead, Paul speaks of truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, and the Word of God. While offering protection, these elements are primarily about internal disposition and a relationship with God rather than outward defenses.

True strength for a Christian lies not in an impenetrable facade but in the vulnerability of letting God’s truth transform us from the inside out. This requires us to confront our own shortcomings and sins with honesty. It means admitting to God and ourselves, trusting others when we mess up, and seeking the help we need.

Mess up? Me? Oh yeah, I know I can mess up, and I KNOW I can mess up. My friends and staff, who have held me and supported me since my wife’s tragic death, have seen me in what could only be described as a living train wreck. Thankfully, short of some notable exceptions, they stuck with me, loved me, and didn’t kick me to the curb at great cost to themselves in many ways. I can only say thank you to them and thank God for the right people in my life at the right time. 

Vulnerability, Connection, and True Love

Jesus modeled radical vulnerability, revealing his deepest emotions to his disciples and ultimately to all humanity through his suffering on the cross. This vulnerability drew people to him. It’s through being fully known, weaknesses and all, that we can experience true intimacy and the kind of unconditional love humans crave, both on earth and eternally with God.

Hiding our true selves from others and from God blocks genuine belonging. The façade of perfection might impress some, but it won’t foster authentic relationships. Risking vulnerability, however, invites others to love the real us. It’s in this space that deep joy can blossom, rooted in the sure knowledge that we are loved and accepted exactly as we are.

Vulnerability as Courageous Action

Being vulnerable does not mean weakness. On the contrary, it takes incredible courage to be emotionally honest. Whether it’s facing our own deep-rooted fears, confessing a sin that has long lurked in the shadows, or risking rejection by setting healthy boundaries or asking for help, these are acts of bravery rooted in a desire for wholeness.

It’s also courageous to allow others to see us – the good, the bad, and all the messy in-between. This kind of vulnerability requires releasing the need for control over how others perceive us.

Vulnerability: The Wellspring of Empathy and Creativity

When we recognize our own struggles, failings, and deep needs, we can better empathize with the pain of others. Our experiences, even our hurts, equip us to understand and connect with fellow humans on a deeper level. This empathy is essential to Christ’s command to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Moreover, our unique struggles and sensitivities, when honestly embraced, become the wellspring of creativity for God’s purposes. Think of the Apostle Paul, whose relentless persecution of Christians became a powerful fuel for his missionary zeal once his eyes were opened to God’s truth. Our stories, even the parts we’d rather forget, can be used to inspire, encourage, and spread the gospel message when offered in vulnerability.

Vulnerability, Hope, Accountability, Authenticity

Hope thrives in the soil of vulnerability. Admitting when things are hard or we don’t have answers opens space for God to meet us in our brokenness. That honest confession of “I can’t” makes room for “God can.” Hope is strengthened when we stop pretending and find comfort in Christ’s power made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

So, what are the next steps on this journey toward vulnerability?

  • Embrace Self-Reflection: Be still before God. Allow Him to reveal areas where defensiveness or fear of exposure hold you back. Journaling and honest prayer are powerful tools.
  • Find Trusted Community: Confide in a mature Christian friend, mentor, or small group where you can safely share your true self and find support. This kind of community is invaluable for fostering accountability, empathy, and authenticity.
  • Seek Guidance: Books like Brené Brown’s “Daring Greatly” or “The Gifts of Imperfection” offer valuable secular perspectives on vulnerability. For a faith-based angle, look to writings by figures like Henri Nouwen, who emphasize God’s love even in our weakness. Pastors and Christian counselors can also provide insightful guidance.
  • Step into Courage: Start small. Practice vulnerability by openly admitting a mistake, asking for help, or sharing authentically in a safe space. Each step builds courage for deeper sharing as you grow.

Remember, vulnerability is not a destination but a transformative process. It’s about shedding the exhausting armor of self-protection and embracing the liberty found in Christ’s strength. May you discover the unexpected joy, freedom, and connection that comes from bravely walking this path.

Let God use your vulnerability for His glory and the good of those around you!

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Other Comments

  • Roosevelt Williams sr. says:

    I’m so happy and grateful for this awesome ministry you’ve been a wonderful man of God amazing blessings and healing power over my life. Please keep me in your prayers 🙏🙏🙏

  • Zack Glasser says:

    Vulnerability is the transparency that God has called us to allow Him access to our whole heart, soul, mind, and body in an intimacy that supersedes any human relationship. God is spirit, and they who worship God must worship Him in spirit and truth. Unless we are transparent with a heart of humble repentance before God, Jesus cannot take our sins, unless we are willing to be vulnerable before God. There must be a willingness to open ourselves up to God and invite Jesus into our lives completely allowing God to take our lives over in submission to God’s will.

    The healing that we all are seeking is as close as our risen Savior, Jesus the hope of glory within our hearts and seated next to our heavenly Father in the kingdom of God within each one of us who has received Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.

  • Jennifer brown says:

    Thank you so much for this teaching & Revelation.It is just what I needed to hear & see for my own spiritual growth.
    May we the wounded allow our Lord to give us HIS strength to walk in this process/ journey
    to wholeness and peace for ourselves and for others too.