2 Corinthians 12: 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Like most kids I loved watching superman. Who wouldn’t love a superhero who could fly with extraordinary speed and take on the bad guy with supernatural strength? But his creator, Jerry Siegel, left some humanness in the superhero as Superman could be drained of all strength by kryptonite, a mineral from the planet Krypton. This created great suspense for me as undoubtedly some “bad guy” would get hold of the green crystalline material and render my superhero defenseless.
As athletes, I believe we all have our kryptonite. While it may not render us completely defenseless, we have weaknesses in our lives. Some may call them our Achilles heel, or perhaps our blind spot. From my own competition years, and from watching and coaching many athletes, I have seen a wide variation of such weaknesses. For some it is an eating disorder where they starve their body of nutrients. For others it is the opposite and they cannot control their cravings. For some they overtrain and feel guilty for taking a single day off, while for others it is laziness. Watching the Michael Jordan documentary, The Last Dance, it is very clear that his kryptonite was gambling. He was arguably the greatest competitor ever, but he couldn’t restrict that to the basketball court and couldn’t resist gambling on everything from golf to gambling quarters with security guards before home games. Unfortunately, this weakness got him associated with some shady characters like James “Slim” Bouler, a convicted cocaine dealer; and self-described gambling addict Richard Esquinas (who claimed Jordan had owed him $1.2 million in gambling debts at one time).
Whatever your weakness as an athlete, it is extremely important to have the self-awareness to recognize it, to set up checks and balances in your life, and accountability to save yourself from it. Likewise, as a Christian, it is equally important to recognize your weaknesses. It is an incredibly humbling thing to recognize your weakness and then share it with trusted confidants and welcome accountability, but when you do, it is personally freeing, and you actually become a stronger person as a result.
There are many dichotomies in the Bible, and weakness is one such contrast. In 2 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul describes “a thorn in his flesh”. He never identifies it, so we don’t know if it was a physical ailment, or emotional or spiritual, but we know it caused him great distress. It is interesting to see where Paul lands after considering his weakness. He recognizes it was given to him to keep him humble (vs. 7); he went to God to ask him to remove it from his life (vs. 8); and he accepted the answer when God came back and said “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (vs. 9). Paul then actually goes on to boast about his weakness. ”That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (vs. 10)
What is your weakness as a Christian? If you don’t know, go to a trusted person to help identify it. While it is possible for God to remove it completely, and it is good to pray for that, do not be surprised if, like Paul, he does not, and instead he wants you to rest in his power. If your weakness leads to sin, remove the blind spot, establish accountability in your life, lean into God and let him turn your weakness into strength. Enjoy the freedom that comes with admitting your frailty and recognizing your power comes from Christ.