Strength in Weakness

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. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

This passage has been on my mind a lot lately. It’s a relatively well-known passage for sure, but lately it just seems to pop up at random moments keeping it in the forefront of my mind.

I get in the car to go to work, put my iPod on shuffle, and Shane & Shane’s musical version starts playing. I sit down at home, pick up a book, and read (in David Platt’s Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream) that “God … delights in exalting our inability.”

Almost everywhere I look over the past few weeks, I keep seeing reminders of and references to 2 Corinthians 12.

God has been using these verses to work in my life for some time, however. One of the things that always made me question whether I could succeed in ministry was my personality. I’m very strong-willed and extremely introverted, and those two things never seemed to lend themselves well to working with people and building relationships.

Personality-wise, I probably would have fit in perfectly at a job that required me to sit alone in a cubicle all day. As I confessed at a Men’s Breakfast at church recently, medieval monasticism probably would have appealed to me had I lived back then due to the majority of one’s time being spent in solitude or study. Despite my best efforts, however, I could never reconcile living in isolation with the Bible.

Recently, I have grown a lot more comfortable with my personality. I’ve met people with similar personalities to mine who have thrived in ministry for decades. They all testified to the same fact, that God enables them to use their personalities or push past their personalities as needed. And as a leadership team in church, we read The Emotionally Healthy Church, which emphasized that leaders don’t need to change their personalities, but rather to be true to themselves (including their personalities).

I’m starting to understand why despite my personality, I’ve always felt called into some type of ministry, first at a Christian school and now at a church. My strengths would have enabled me to succeed at any number of things where , but I would have thought that I was responsible for the success because my weaknesses never would have come into play. Instead, God has called me into ministry, where my strengths are still valuable, but my weaknesses are such that I need to continually rely on God for strength.

But really, that’s the way it’s supposed to be. As Platt writes in Radical:

This is how God works. He puts his people in positions where they are desperate for his power, and then he shows his provision in ways that display his greatness.

So I know that even when my personality feels like a liability, God can turn it into a strength if I trust him enough to let him. And that knowledge makes it much easier to take the step of faith into ministry, knowing that my success or failure doesn’t depend on my strengths or weaknesses but on my willingness to rest on his strength.

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

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