Your Strength Is Your Weakness

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I know that the sentence above sounds very much like a contradiction. How can my strength be my weakness? Read on and you will see how true this is. In fact, the opposite is also true, that is your weakness is actually your strength.

Our five-star talents can make us very lopsided. And so all of us need to balance our strengths so that they do not tip us over on the other side. For instance, a person who works very hard can easily become a workaholic and thus neglect his or her family. Thus, a strength in one area can become our undoing in another.

Our abilities can also fill us with pride. This is why the Apostle Paul was given a thorn in his flesh. It was meant to stop him from tipping over on the other side. He wrote, “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited” (2 Cor. 12:7).

Many people who are exceptionally gifted soon become superstars. This can feed their egos until they become proud. They forget Paul’s words: “What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” (1 Cor. 4:7).

The Bible is very clear about pride and its consequences. It is the precursor of the fall. Whenever people begin to think too highly of themselves, it is usually only a matter of time before they are humbled. Their very strength becomes their Achilles’ heel.

The opposite is equally true. When you are conscious of your weakness, you become strong. How? You become more prayerful and more dependent on God. Thus, God’s strength comes to your aid, fortifying you in the very area where you are most vulnerable.

This is what the Apostle Paul meant when he said: “Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:8–9).

We do not know what the thorn in Paul’s flesh was. What we know is that this messenger of Satan really harassed him. It often laid him low. It drove him to his knees. In due season he learned that he was stronger on his knees because the Lord’s omnipotence upheld him.

This is a lesson we all need to learn. Our strengths are our weaknesses because they make us self-reliant, lop-sided, and proud. That tips us over the cliff. But our weaknesses are our strengths—as uncomfortable as they might be—because they drive us to our knees.  

First published in Tabletalk Magazine, an outreach of Ligonier. For permissions, view our Copyright Policy.