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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

A Need For Weakness

Strength may be overrated!

Since I was a child, I’ve been keenly aware of my weakness. At times my sense of deficiency has been debilitating. Rather than risk failure and embarrassment, it’s tempting for me to refrain from participating.

It was apparent to me — even at an early age — that I wasn’t the brightest, strongest, wealthiest, most talented, or most competent individual on the block. And, when your sense of weakness is overshadowed by the perceived strength of others, what possible value is there to weakness?

We admire the strong. We appreciate powerful leaders. We applaud the athletic. But why? It may be due to our cultural belief that suggests strength is associated with success. After all...

...The powerful are more likely to succeed than the unknown. The agile athlete has a more significant advantage over the less graceful competitor. The affluent have more privileges than the disadvantaged.

Or, so we think...

We are influenced by our culture to believe that strength is desirable, while weakness is somehow discreditable. But is it?

One of the apparent strengths of Paul the Apostle was his recognition of his weakness. Writing to the Corinthians, he acknowledges:

And I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God - 1 Corinthians 2:3-5 (NRSV).

Here's something I've discovered: Even the mighty struggle with weakness! The outward persona of strength frequently masks inward insecurities and fears.

Although others observed Paul to be strong, knowledgeable, and competent, he is aware that strength is overrated. “A Hebrew of the Hebrews — a Pharisee of the Pharisees,” Paul rightly submits his human wisdom, accomplishments, and competence to God’s power (Philippians 3:4-6).

In spite of the perception of others who see him as eloquent, competent, and affluent, Paul sees his deficiencies and recognizes that God graces weakness with power.

If like me, you are more aware of your weakness than your strength, there's HOPE!

Our weakness encourages our dependence on God. For it's in our weakness that God's power is made perfect (2 Corinthians 12:9).

If like me, you're tempted to shy away from participating due to weakness, perhaps it's time to remember: God chooses the weak to experience His grace and power so others will be impressed with God — not us!

There's a need for weakness because: “[God] gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless” (Isaiah 40:29).


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