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 Corinthians 12:8-9).
Lately I’ve wondered whether we should define adulthood as the season that starts with realizing that we will carry certain limitations to the grave. Adulthood takes off once we realize that we will be mediocre to average at most things and, despite our strengths, likely will not be the best in the world at anything. I say this with a smile.
God is slowly freeing me from believing that that’s what life’s about. Being the best at something is not a bad goal, but it’s a terrible source for one’s identity. Jim Collins’ “hedgehog concept”–finding the one thing you can become the best at–is a good way to develop an organization that meaningfully contributes to society. However, it’s a broken way to develop a life, because our specialities don’t make us who we are. God’s grace makes us who we are.
If God looks better when we are more inadequate, then it is better to be inadequate, because God will still cherish us and use us and display His mercy. If God’s power is made perfect in weakness, then it is better to be weak, because God will carry us and guard us and show His glory. It would be a fleeting rush to be the best among humans; it is a lasting joy to abide in the only God, the God who promises to abide in us.
The reality and confession of personal spiritual weakness is not a grave danger to your ministry. God has chosen to build his church through the instrumentality of bent and broken tools. It is your delusions of strength that will get you in trouble and cause you to form a ministry that is less than Christ-centered and gospel-driven (Paul David Tripp, Dangerous Calling, p.152).