Good, honest, pointed self-evaluation is a healthy thing. I often find myself doing this during my prayer time. I cry out to God over my sins, my failures, or just the weaknesses of my personal life that are not necessarily sinful but they do restrict me from my potential for the Lord’s work. In this light, my strengths and weaknesses come to light, very evident, clear light. And that’s good. It enables me to pray specifically regarding specific areas in my life, in my heart.
It is good to give attention to our weaknesses, whether we mean our sinful inclinations or our restrictive behaviors such as shyness, lack of courage, etc. When we recognize our weaknesses, we recognize our desperate need for grace, and that’s always a good thing! We know we need grace to resist temptation. We know equally well we need grace to be a bold witness for Christ when the opportunity arises. We need grace to reverse a pattern of withdrawal into intentional engagement with those around us. We need God’s help! So we pray for grace concerning our weaknesses!
Therefore, when God answers, He gets the praise. We know when we say “NO!” to that which normally so easily besets us that God’s grace is at work! We know when we speak up to share truth instead of cowering away that God’s grace is at work! We know that when we have something helpful to say instead of being silenced by questions or criticisms that God’s grace is at work. In our weakness, He is made strong!
That’s why we pray about our weaknesses! We need help and God gets the glory!
However, with so much attention given to our weaknesses, we often totally ignore our strengths, and that may be an indication that we are not thinking rightly about the areas where we are living rightly!
We tend to look at our weaknesses as areas where we need grace, lots of grace. On the other hand, we tend to not even think about our strengths during our prayers. After all, we’re doing pretty good in those areas, right? That’s the problem. We think WE have those areas under control. WE are doing a fine job against those sins or in those personality traits. These are OUR strengths.
Ahh, the old enemy of pride hides in every corner, doesn’t he?
The truth is if we do have any strengths, their root is in the grace of God as well, not in our strength, will, determination, capability, etc. Strengths are gifts to be thankful for not accomplishments to enlarge our egos.
Both strengths and weaknesses are occasions to pray about grace. For weaknesses, we need grace, so we beg for it. For strengths, we’ve been given grace, so we praise God for it. And we dare not take a single strength for granted. What is a strength today may be a weakness tomorrow. In the end, we rely upon God in both instances. In the end, we are the recipients in both instances. In the end, God gets the glory in both instances! Weaknesses AND strengths point to God’s grace!