Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Weakness of Champions

I used to think that heroes were perfect. Knights in shining armor- beautiful warrior princesses - strong and fearless and wise. 

I wanted to be perfect. I would try to avoid doing things I knew I wasn’t good at. From a young age I taught myself to keep my true feelings under an icy cool, composed surface. I trained myself to choke back emotion and not cry in public, so no one could see how they could hurt me. I tried to do all the right things. As a teenager rebellion wasn’t really on my agenda. I strove for a perfect appearance. Anything less was unacceptable, unthinkable, and I wouldn’t admit to it.

Then I became a student missionary. I had no idea how that experience would strip me to the core and make me face my imperfection in all its ugliness. Other people could see it too. It was terrifying. (And the process of discovering my weakness hasn’t stopped to this day!) But I needed it, and I've been learning a lot from it - a lot about heroes.

“The Bible is a strange book because it repeatedly features people as heroes who admit their weaknesses and needs.” (George R. Knight)

An aggressive and self-confident fisherman. Hot-tempered young people, nicknamed “sons of thunder.” A fearful shepherd with a speech problem. A coward from a weak and obscure tribe, the youngest in his family. These aren’t the kind of people I’d think of as hero material. But these are exactly the kind of people God pictures as heroes.

The amazing thing to me is that God sees past their flaws to their potential. When they fall he doesn’t kick them off the program, as it were. He works with them, no matter how long it takes for them to see their own inadequacies and their need of something bigger than themselves.

The champions the Bible paints are great because they admit their own faults, and their helplessness to do much about it.

They show their strength by admitting their weakness.

Then Peter became a fearless preacher who ended up dying for his faith. Moses led a nation out of slavery. James and John became major leaders of the early Christian church. Gideon defeated a marauding army with only 300 men.

Some of the greatest strength is shown in admitting weakness. Only then can God step in and do something really amazing.

“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.” 2 Cor 12:9 NASB

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