Why It’s More Important to Know Your Weakness Than Your Strength

You know it’s important to know your strengths. And that’s where the self-help books will have you focus. This makes sense when your goal is to gain position, authority, influence.

But not if your goal is to be like Christ.

The Bible presents a counter-intuitive, even risky, view of strength and weakness. It’s that, paradoxically, it’s more important for your ultimate good to know your weakness, than your strengthto know, just how far that weakness goes.

Do you know it?

weak

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Do you clearly perceive that you are, in fact, weak, insufficient, helpless, that you’re not up to the task, that, on your own you can’t do what must be done, you can’t be who you must be?

If you do, if you leverage that knowledge, your weakness will prove to be the most valuable personal asset you have.

“Ridiculous,” says Mr. Self-reliance.

“Offensive,” says Miss Independence.

❯ WHY WEAKNESS?

How could weakness be your most valuable personal asset? I’ll offer you a very simple and straitforward answer:

A real sense of personal weakness is the only thing that will drive you to depend on God.

And when you do, He will never refuse you; He will never fail you.

The Bible is full of examples:

❯ God made Abraham wander an unfamiliar landscape full of foreign cities and enemies, surroundings that left him exposed and vulnerable. He saw he was small and weak, and thus learned he must depend on God for a homeland, and descendants like the stars of heaven.

❯ God made Joseph a slave in Egypt, seemingly forgotten and alone. There he learned he was not the great man he dreamed of, but the weak man whose dreams depended on God.

❯ God made Israel wander in a barren, empty land while feeding them with manna to teach them, “…man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deuteronomy 8:3) God showed them their weakness and vulnerability to teach them to depend on Him for everything.

❯ God even made Jesus hunger and thirst for 40 days in the wilderness, while Satan tempted him to make bread from stones. He experienced the depth of human weakness, nearing the brink of starvation, to test His resolve to depend on God.

❯ Later, Jesus taught that the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, and the hungry—in other words, the weak—are the people God blesses and fills with His good gifts. (Matthew 5:3-6)

❯ Paul wrote that Jesus died for us “…while we were still weak,” insufficient, helpless, not up to the task, unable to do what had to be done, unable to be what we had to be. (cf. Romans 5:6)

The conclusion is inescapable: If you want God’s strength in adversity, His support through trial, His guidance with the complexities of life, His protection from the evil one, His provision and protection when all is at risk, His comfort during inevitable sorrows and grief, His greeting after death…

You must be weak.

If you want God Himself, in Christ, for you…

You must be weak.

❯ HOW DO YOU “LEVERAGE” THAT?

Unbelievable. How are you supposed to leverage weakness? It doesn’t make sense.

But again, there is a simple and straightforward answer. Admit what God has designed all of life to teach you: You are a dependent creature.

You are weak, vulnerable, helpless. Your life is only a breath, like grass that is here today, gone tomorrow.

Ultimately, you have no control over life. You are not the source of what you have. You cannot make your dreams come true. You can’t earn your way into God’s favor. You are dependent on Him for everything.

Once you can admit your weakness to yourself, only then will you confess your dependence on God, to God. This is the beginning of true faith. It’s the beginning of real trust and enduring hope that God will give to you, and be for you, all that you need in this life and the next.

Admit it. That’s how your weakness becomes your most valuable personal asset.

❯ WHY MOST PEOPLE WON’T

But even now, you may only half believe it. Admitting weakness doesn’t fit with the cultural values of strength we prefer. Admitting weakness isn’t what upwardly mobile, confident, tough, cool, physically fit, beautiful, intelligent, ambitious, strength-oriented people do.

But, you don’t want to throw this out altogether, do you? There’s a humility in admitting weakness that sounds kind of noble and spiritual. And so you admit, half-heartedly, that well, “Sometimes we all need a little help in life.”

…Which is no admission at all.

This won’t drive you to depend on God for anything. You’ll approach life believing you make your own opportunities, you pull yourself up by your bootstraps, your life is in your own hands, you’re a man or woman of your own making.

And because you won’t believe what God want’s to teach you, you’ll never discover all that God is for you, and has for you. You’ll end your days as you lived them: self-reliant, independent, and without God.

And that’s why it’s more important to know your weakness than your strength.

❯ WHAT THIS MEANS FOR WEAK PEOPLE

How would you live if you admitted your weakness to God? How would you interact with people if your life was an expression of your whole-hearted dependence upon Him? How would approach a new challenge? A dream? A fear? A promotion? A layoff? A loss? A gain? A betrayal? A sin?

Would you lead differently? Serve differently? Parent differently? Work differently? Pray and worship differently?

You’d be a different person, wouldn’t you? And you’d know it has nothing to do with grit and determination, but everything to do with God’s work in you.

Admit your weakness to God—your moral, physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual weakness. Admit your fear, your anger, your lust, your despair, your doubt, your greed, your grief. Think it through. Pray it out. Confess it away.

And then?

Then trust God through Christ as if your life depended on it.

Because, actually, it does.

“‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”—The Apostle Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:9

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3 thoughts on “Why It’s More Important to Know Your Weakness Than Your Strength

  1. Lon,

    Discovered this site at the right time. Thank you for being here! A buddy and I have been sharing our struggles with many challenges to our later years in our Church. We haven’t received/grown as much in our mutual support and prayers as we were expecting. We find this site refreshing and insightful in an uncommon way. Blessings.

    • Thank you, Allen. It does my heart good to hear that you found encouragement here. Thanks for your comment and for sharing Average Us. Lon

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