Acknowledging Our Weaknesses
Can you imagine the apostle Paul at a job interview?
“So, tell us about your background.”
“Well, I was walking down the road one day when my life totally changed. A bright light flashed around me, and I heard a voice ….” Those interviewers would surely be in for a remarkable story.
I can imagine another inquiry that would bring about an interesting response: “Tell us about your weaknesses.” While most people cringe at that query, I am sure Paul would seize the opportunity to begin highlighting his weaknesses.
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul describes a problem he had which he prayed for the Lord to remove:
“But he said to me, ‘“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
We are often reluctant to talk about our weaknesses. Instead, we try to conceal them in order to present ourselves in the best possible light. We do not like to admit that perhaps there is something weak in us. However, Paul was open about his weaknesses. In fact, in this passage, he says he would gladly boast about them. Why such a different attitude? Because Paul knew that in the midst of human weakness, Christ’s power is perfectly strong. If human frailties and foibles could more clearly showcase God’s strength, then Paul would gladly disclose his own weaknesses.
Our culture has taught us to be self-reliant and independent, and we have been conditioned to hide our weaknesses rather than openly admit them. However, we must realize our constant need for dependence upon God, the One in whom “we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28 NIV). We must allow our weaknesses to be a reminder of our constant need to lean and rely on God. Rather than trying to trust in our own power and abilities, we must understand our human limitations and humbly confess our need for God’s limitless power. By faith, we must allow Him to gift us with His grace for whatever situation we may be facing. Whether it is our fears, temptations, physical limitations, difficult circumstances, or personality traits that may be considered weaknesses, God’s power is enough. His grace is sufficient. As humans, we all have weaknesses. Instead of trying to hide them, let’s acknowledge our true condition and rely on the Lord and His all-sufficient grace and strength. “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:7 NIV).
Discussion Question: How has God shown Himself strong through one of your weaknesses?
For further study: 1 Corinthians 1:27-29; Zechariah 4:6; James 4:6