Unlearning Strengths. Embracing Weaknesses.


October 10, 2021

Judges 6:15 (NIV)

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”


Why is it that our response to a word like, 

The Lord is with you, Mighty Warrior! 

tends to be like

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

It is strangely reminiscent of that time God called Moses. 

Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” Exodus 4:10

and later this:

13 But Moses said, “Pardon your servant, Lord. Please send someone else.”

I mean, do we really think the God of Heaven and Earth involves us because of our qualifications and strengths and super powers? What if he involves us because of his qualifications and strengths and super powers? What if he looks for the kind of people through whom to work such that it is clear who is who and who is doing what? It reminds me of what Paul said,

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7. 

On another occasion he put it this way,

My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. 1 Corinthians 1:4-5

Paul had enormous qualifications and strengths and superpowers but he had to unlearn them. What if our worldly qualifications are actually disqualifications in the Kingdom of God? What if it’s actually our weaknesses that most qualify us to walk and work with God? Paul was super educated, super competent and super skilled, and yet he would come to say this:

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 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. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

Something about God seems to love and even be drawn to human weakness. Yet we live in a world and value system that is magnetically drawn to human strength. In fact, if we are honest, we are much more drawn to strengths in people than weaknesses. If we perceive ourselves to have a lack of strength or qualification to do something we tend to shy away from it. “Find someone else,” we say. Why? Could it be because we fear failure? And why do we fear failure? Could it be that we have our sense of identity and worth bound up with our performance and success and reputation? What if our deepest worth to God is actually not connected to our strengths but to our weaknesses? 

I think one of the hardest things most of us have to learn is to embrace our weaknesses. Even harder sometimes is embracing the weaknesses of others. It’s why encouragement is so important. What if we learned more to encourage one another in our weaknesses—to embrace them— than in our strengths and building them? 

This seems pretty upside down doesn’t it? But then so does Jesus, right? 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”


Father, I struggle to admit it, but the truth is that I am weak and poor and needy. Thank you for being o.k. with this central feature of me. Would you help me be o.k. with it? Even better, would you teach me to glory in it? I want to learn to embrace my weaknesses such that I become the kind of person through who you can demonstrate your strengths. Come Holy Spirit and bring me this transformation of mind and heart. In Jesus name, Amen. 


How are you with this whole upside down teaching about weakness? How are you with your own weakness? Others’ weaknesses?  


Ok Preachers and Pastors and Candlestick makers in our midst—If you haven’t gotten your plans for Advent together yet, I’ve got a deal for you. Check it out here. 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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Comments and Discussion

One Response

  1. This discussion about serving God in our weaknesses reminds me of Jesus’s parable of the talents. We can either risk failure in employing our known S.G,’s and talents or refuse to act on them out of fear of failure. But we know how that turned out.

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