At a traffic light in Bakersfield, I saw a white vinyl sign on the rear window of a van that read:
"Make sure you draw attention to your children's strengths and don't discuss or draw attention to their weaknesses."
Is this bit of advice consistent with Biblical principles? There are, of course, different kinds of weaknesses. Let's consult Scripture to see some of the various types of weakness. We'll take a look at 10 weaknesses, the first five in part 1 and the next five in part 2.
Humility as Weakness
1Corinthians 2:3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling,
Paul is simply saying that he is not worthy to write God's Word and carry it around teaching it to God's people. Paul is simply aware of his limitations as a human being and therefore, he depends more fully upon God's power to enable him to properly minister to the churches. We all certainly need MORE of this, not less! If we are unaware of our inabilities or weaknesses we won't even feel the urgency to depend upon God. The result of such ignorance is more weakness, not strength.
1Corinthians 15:43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;
Now this kind of weakness is shared by all. We are going to die if the Lord doesn't return before we die. This weakness can hardly be ignored because we hear of or see death all around us. Yet, I am struck by the number of Christian parents (especially moms) who go to great lengths to insulate their kids from the awareness of death. Some parents won't let their children attend funerals. Others who let them attend, don't want an open casket so that their children won't see a dead body.
The Bible, however, is replete with references to death and dying. God thinks it is vital, even critical, that everyone be aware of death so that they can prepare their souls for that day! Scripture teaches,
Hebrews 9:27 "And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,"
Awareness of our mortality is extremely important so that we make the proper preparations BEFORE we die because right after death is the judgment when we will have no second or third chances (no do-overs) to be ready to face eternity!
Weakness as a Channel for God's Power
2Corinthians 11:30 If I have to boast, I will boast of what pertains to my weakness.
2Corinthians 12:5 On behalf of such a man I will boast; but on my own behalf I will not boast, except in regard to my weaknesses.
2Corinthians 12:9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
2Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul was aware of an incredibly important spiritual principle: My weaknesses are opportunities to depend on God more fully and as a result God's power will be unleashed in my life. As long as I depend upon MY strengths and ignore any weaknesses, I will always depend upon me and not God. The irony is that in MY strengths I am actually weak! On the other hand, in My weaknesses God's power intervenes and I am, then, actually strong!
Weakness as Temptation
Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
Hebrews 5:2 he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness;
Being tempted is not a sin. Giving in, or yielding to temptation IS sin! Jesus was tempted and did not yield to it so that He could empathize with our struggle and be able to coach us in how to resist it. This is a weakness about which we MUST be aware if we hope to avoid sin!
1Corinthians10:13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.
James 1:14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.
If we are unaware of the theology of temptation, we won't know that God provides a way of escape! If we are unaware of temptation we won't be LOOKING for the way of escape that God provides.
Physical or Tactical Weakness
Hebrews 11:34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
This is the kind of weakness that God ordained in Gideon's case. God told Gideon to purposefully pare down the number of warriors Israel would have to fight the Midianites! God instructed Gideon to go to battle with 300 warriors against an army of 30,000 Midianites! That is definitely, from man's perspective, a huge tactical weakness. It is, however, from God's perspective, a tactical strength for Gideon because it will allow them to enjoy God's power in the battle. If our children never face a tactical weakness, where the odds are stacked against them, they will never experience the mighty power of the Lord fighting on their behalf! Is that what you want for your kids?