Redeeming Your Weaknesses

Redeeming Your Weaknesses

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Back view of middle aged manTo find your greatest weakness, first identify your greatest strength and then look right behind it.

That’s one of the tragic results of sin: it twists our strengths into weaknesses, just as (-1) x 100 becomes -100.

Are you highly intelligent and well-studied in the Bible? Look out, because your knowledge can puff you up and be used to conceal sin and rationalize ungodly attitudes and behaviors (1Cor. 8:1).

Are you gifted at reading others and discerning their feelings and interests? You may be tempted to use that ability to manipulate them for your own purposes (Rom. 16:18).

Are you kind and caring? You may be too quick to offer help to others and end up making commitments you don’t keep (Eccl. 5:2).

Are you compassionate and gentle? You could be vulnerable to “fear of man” and find it difficult to offer needed correction to others (Prov. 27:6).

Are you bold and courageous? You may be inclined to judge others and blurt out words that wound rather than heal (Prov. 12:18).

The same principle applies to churches and organizations.

Is your church committed to sound doctrine and theology? You could become proud, indifferent to emotions and personal struggles, and judgmental of those who don’t share your views.

Is your church given to passionate worship? You could be led astray by emotion and tossed to and fro by the latest worldly ideas.

Does your church work to alleviate injustice and suffering? Be careful … because doing good works can become a substitute for sharing the gospel of Christ, which is the only way to prevent eternal suffering.

The answer to this problem is not to stop being discerning, kind, compassionate, courageous, committed to sound doctrine, passionate in our worship, or concerned about injustice. All of these attitudes and behaviors are actually commanded by God.

The solution to this problem is to pray daily that God would give you grace to sanctify your strengths, that is, to purify them from sin and to set them apart exclusively for his purposes.

O Lord, please help me to accurately identify the gifts and strengths you have given me, and to discern how they can be corrupted by sin and used in ways that dishonor you and hurt others (self-awareness).

Please give me grace to discipline myself and take every thought, emotion, word and action—every strength you have given me—captive to Christ (self-engagement).

Enable me to clearly discern the needs of others (other-awareness) …

and give me both the desire and ability to truly minister to those around me rather than manipulating them (other-engagement).

Lord, I can only do this as you fill me with your Holy Spirit, as you give me a deeper understanding of all you have done for me through the gospel (God-awareness) …

and as you incline my heart to obey your command to love others as you have loved me (God-engagement).

God has given you special grace and gifts (Eph. 4:7-8). The more consciously and deliberately you sanctify these strengths for his purposes, the more fully they can be used to bless others, develop closer relationships, and build his church (Eph. 4:11-16.).

– Ken Sande

Reflection Questions

  • What are your greatest strengths?
  • How have those strengths sometimes been twisted into great weaknesses?
  • How could you sanctify those strengths today and use them more consistently and effectively to honor God and serve other people?
  • What are the greatest strengths of your church?
  • How could those strengths actually become weaknesses?
  • How can you sanctify those strengths and use them more consistently and effectively to build God’s kingdom?

Permission to distribute: Please feel free to download, print, or electronically share this message in its entirety for non-commercial purposes with as many people as you like.

© 2015 Ken Sande

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7 Responses to "Redeeming Your Weaknesses"
  1. Dear Ken,
    Thank you for this reminder! Would you say this applies to the Gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12-14; Romans 12; etc.)? Can we say this is Satan’s counterfeit effort to deceive believers, and undermine the fellowship of the saints?

    • Yes, I believe that all of the gifts God gives us are vulnerable to the corrupting power of sin if they are exercised in sincere humility and love (see 1 Cor. 13:1-3). How it must grieve God when we wield his gifts in pride and selfishness!

  2. Amen! Recognition of God as the offended party takes a real work of His Spirit!

    Would it be equally an indicator if an unbeliever has strong tendencies towards certain sinful patterns, say gossip for instance, that they could subsequently expect as a believer (truly regenerated, etc) to function in the Spiritual Gift of encouragement? A tongue submitted to the Spirit can do wonders.

    I’m searching for wisdom on how to place people in ministry roles for which they are gifted. While we are somewhat discussing a negative approach (beware of corruption), I see some insight for understanding people better, thus better placing them in fruitful roles. Is this reasonable? Or, is there a better way to arrive at the same goal?

    • Great question, Bryan. I’d never thought about it from this direction. The focus of my post was how to redeem strengths that have been corrupted by sin. I am intrigued with your idea of identifying weaknesses and discerning whether by God’s grace they could be redeemed into strengths. The first person who comes to mind is the apostle Paul. As a Pharisee he was well schooled in the Bible and articulate, but until he was converted he used those gifts to oppose Jesus. After conversion, he became one of the most compelling Bible teachers (and writers!) who ever lived.

  3. Perhaps the Apostle Paul’s hatred, predjudice and pride toward Gentiles and his subsequent calling, by God, to be the Apostle to the Gentiles – and suffer so extensively at their hands – sheds some light on Bryan’s intriguing question, as I understood it: could there be a correlate between God’s spiritual gifting of a believer and his/her sin patterns prior to conversion as well as the correlation Ken is suggesting .. between a believer’s greatest strengths and potential weaknesses? However, I am not sure generalizing that into a ‘principle’ is supported.

    Thanks for making us think, Bryan!

    Jody R. Green

  4. Sometimes I struggle with my strength being used in a way God didn’t intend. In Him, I am kind, gentle, and compassionate so I find it difficult to correct others. He will make me bold enough to speak for Him if I remember to ask.

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