I’ve never been on a job interview ever that didn’t include the question, “What are your greatest strengths and what are your greatest weaknesses?”
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Skilled interviewees find a way to talk about their strengths that doesn’t sound too braggy, and talk about their weaknesses in a way that makes weaknesses sound like strengths.
“I care too much!”
“I try too hard!”
“I am so passionate about my work that I sometimes make others around me feel lazy!”
It is natural and normal to want to avoid, deflect, or minimize our flaws and weaknesses.
But just because it’s natural and normal doesn’t mean that it is right or good.
Scripture gives us another approach, which is unnatural and abnormal to us.
In 2nd Corinthians, Paul is talking about incredible and amazing spiritual experiences he has had, including being “caught up” into heaven, where he saw indescribable things.
As he reflects on such powerful moments in his life, God gives him the following revelation:
Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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. (2Co 12.7-10)
We don’t know what Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was.
It has been speculated that it was a physical affliction of some kind, a difficult person attacking him, or even a spiritual attack through an actual demon.
I suspect God has left it vague in the Word on purpose. If He wanted us to know the details, He certainly could have told us.
But the lack of clarity helps us to see ourselves in this text, and learn the lesson that Paul learned.
Paul begs for deliverance from this thorn, but is clearly told no.
Jesus says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
This struggle that you are carrying – that’s where My grace is showing up the most.
Our natural desire is to get out of the struggle as quickly as possible.
But Jesus says that His grace is there in those moments, and His power shows up the most in our areas of weakness.
“Then I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me!”
If my weakness means I get more Jesus, then weakness is OK with me!
If my weakness means that God meets me in my weakness, then I can live with that weakness!
If my weakness means that God gets glorified and gets to show off through me, then I will celebrate my weakness!
It’s the exact opposite of what you would naturally think.
That’s because the Kingdom of God is often the exact opposite of what we would think.
Weakness is good. We shouldn’t hide from it.
Our weakness tells the whole world that it is Christ at work in us that makes us impressive in any way.
So we celebrate our weakness, knowing that we are at our strongest when we need God’s power the most.
And this is a great place to be.
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