Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. ~Romans 8:26
Help my weakness of virtue. A primary weakness that we notice about ourselves is our moral weakness, our weakness in the face of temptation. Jesus noted that, like when we want to stay awake but drift into sleep anyway, we are susceptible to the weakness of our fleshly cravings. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mt. 26:41). May the Spirit help us when we are tempted to sin.
Help my weakness in hope. In the context of Romans 8, in which the teaching “the Spirit helps us in our weakness” appears, the immediate subject matter is doubt because of present difficulty. When sufferings of the moment create a fog that limits visibility of our glorious future, we are in danger of losing hope. May the Spirit help us hope in patience. (Rom. 8:25).
Help my weakness of zeal and joy. Discouragement damages our zeal and zaps our joy. “Let us not grow weary of doing good.” (Gal. 6:9). Yes, but sometimes we get tired and lackluster anyway. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. (Gal. 5:22). May the Spirit help “lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees.” (Heb. 12:12).
Help my weakness of faith. When we are weak in faith, we start walking by sight. (2 Cor. 5:7). When we walk by sight, what we see eventually frightens us. Remember Peter who walked with Jesus on water. “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out.” (Mt. 14:30). When circumstances cause you to fear, may the Spirit help strengthen your faith.
When our virtue fails, when our hope fogs, when our zeal and joy flags, when our faith falters, so that we do not know what to do, what to say, or even what to pray, at least we know to whom to go – or better yet, who will come. “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Rom. 12:26).
Cecil May, III is the longtime minister and elder serving the Parkway Church of Christ in Fulton, KY.