What are your greatest weaknesses? I am not speaking of human tendencies to sinfulness. Neither am I referring to character flaws. I mean the shortcomings of ability, knowledge, experience and competency that all of us possess.
Doug Eaton has been sharing some wonderful thoughts concerning affliction on his blog. Many Christians have the misconception that we should never experience affliction or be beset by weakness. This goes against the grain of human pride.
The Apostle Paul came to grips with this concept. He was plagued by a “thorn in the flesh” that he had repeatedly asked God to remove. He came to understand that it was God’s will for the weakness to remain. God revealed this to him in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Much is being made today of spiritual gifts. I believe that God gives a manifestation of His Spirit to every believer. I also believe that God endows us with weaknesses as well. We need to embrace these weaknesses as an opportunity for God to be glorified in our life.
I have found that most of the time, Christians (myself included) tend to treat our weaknesses in one or more of three ways:
1. We Compensate for them.
By this I mean that we ignore them by focusing on our strong points. This leads us to depend on ourselves and overlook the areas of our lives where we need God’s grace the most. The consequence of this is a life that is unbalanced (kind of like a chariot with one wheel, we will only go in circles).
2. We Camouflage them.
Have you ever seen someone try to run a bluff? Trying to convince others that they have knowledge, experience, abilities or possessions that they don’t actually have? We must understand that people (especially those who know us well) will be able to see through our front. This comes from an unwillingness to admit our need for God’s help. We can call this pride.
3. We Change them.
Rather than accepting our weakness for what it is, i.e., an opportunity for grace, we try to better ourselves to turn our weaknesses into strengths. I can hear the Tony Robbins of this world screaming at me now. I am all for education, training, experience, mentoring–anything that we can do to improve ourselves, but let us never delude ourselves into thinking that a book, class or seminar will render us able to stand apart from grace.
This is one of those marvelous paradoxes of the Christian life. We live by dying. We conquer by surrendering. We are made strong in our weakness by the grace of God. Let us embrace our weaknesses. Let us make ourselves transparent to others so that God may be glorified through us.
Father, I want to thank you for my weaknesses. You gave them to me for a window in my life through which your grace may shine. May I never darken that window with pride, self-deceit or vain-glory. I know that when I am insufficient, your strength makes up the difference. I only ask that you be glorified through me. Amen.