“Counterintuitive” is a good word for a Christian leader. Jesus taught “the first will be last and the last will be first” and that becoming a servant is essential to leadership. In most cultures, leadership is often inaccurately defined in terms of position and power. People assume that a leader must always be at the top, fully in charge, and that a leader should never show weakness. A lot of leaders buy into this idea and in time, begin to use their position and power inappropriately. Solomon writes: “Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom”. (Proverbs 11:2 NLT) God has a different way of empowering leaders. It’s counterintuitive to our way of thinking, but it is the source of real power.
“Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”(2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NLT)
Paul never revealed what this recurring difficulty was in his life that weakened him. I think he did that on purpose so we could “fill in the blank” with whatever our recurring challenge might be. For Helen Keller it was blindness. For Nelson Mandela it was imprisonment. For Martin Luther King Jr. it was racism. For King George the VI of Great Britton it was stuttering. All of these leaders became strong not only in spite of their weakness but in some strange way they became strong through their weakness.
What is your weakness? (For me it’s plural; weaknesses). It may be a physical, social or emotional limitation. It could also be the tendency to be entrapped by a recurring sin. For Paul, it was a big deal. He begged God three times to take it away. God however wanted to teach Paul something about real power.
“Real Power” is when God shows up in the midst of our weakness and does His work in a way that can only be attributed to Him. Jesus told his disciples “apart from me you can do nothing“. God has given us the Holy Spirit as His power source working in and through us. We have nothing to boast about in our own strength but everything to boast about in His.
Humility is the key. It’s counterintuitive. As Christian leaders, when we humbly admit our weaknesses and turn everyone’s attention to God’s power, His grace shines! God said to Paul: “My power works best in weakness.”
It’s not about you…it’s about Him. When God’s strength shows up in the midst of our weakness, it’s His grace at work redeeming our weakness for His glory. Let me encourage you to confess and commit your weaknesses to God today. Ask Him to demonstrate His real power through you.
“The greatest weakness of all is the great fear of appearing weak.”~ Jacques Benigne Bossuel