“Lean on Me” is a hit song written by and first performed by Bill Withers in 1972. Nearly two decades later, Lean on Me became an American biographical drama film written by Michael Schiffer based upon the real life story of Joe Louis Clark. Yet, the concept of lean on me dates back to the teachings of King Solomon. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 illustrates why two people are better than one. If you fall down while alone, there is no one to lend a helping hand.
But we do [[a]strongly and earnestly] desire for each of you to show the same diligence and sincerity [all the way through] in realizing and enjoying the full assurance and development of [your] hope until the end, 12 In order that you may not grow disinterested and become [spiritual] sluggards, but imitators, behaving as do those who through faith ([b]by their leaning of the entire personality on God in Christ in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness) and by practice of patient endurance and waiting are [now] inheriting the promises, Hebrews 6:11-12.
In the first century, one New Testament author repeats a similar phrase on a couple of occasions. In the passage above, readers are encouraged to lean on the entire personality of God. While Solomon urged his sons to lean not on their own understand, Proverbs 3:5-6, Hebrews takes this to a new level of faith. Absolute trust and confidence in Jesus is essential to get you through the dark and dire periods in life. Thus, as you wait for answers to prayer, yield total control over to the Holy Spirit, Galatians 5:25.
Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me; 9 But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and [b]show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may [c]pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! 10 So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [[d]in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful [e]in divine strength), 2 Corinthians 12:8-10.
In the passage above, the apostle Paul illustrates how to lean on Jesus when you’re not strong. Apparently, Paul had some sort of a medical condition, a thorn in his flesh that resulted in excruciating pain. Paul begged and pleaded with the Lord in prayer to remove this burden from his life. Yet, it was this physical condition that brought Paul to his knees, forcing him to lean on the entire personality of God. Subsequently, Paul learned a valuable lesson, the weaker he got, the stronger Jesus became. May you follow in Paul’s footsteps to lean on the Lord when you’re not strong.
by Jay Mankus