Saturday, September 25, 2010

When I am Strong

I spent two days last week in Toronto participating in a leadership program called Morpheus. This is a highly respected program in my company, and only a few people each year are selected to be involved in it. The goal is to gain clear understanding into your strengths and create practical ways to build on those strengths. Another large part of the program is to start thinking of and looking for opportunities to put those strengths to work. Of course the company wants that to be within the context of job, but they also encourage implementing these ideas in personal life as well. What about in my Christian walk though? Do these same "strengths based leadership" ideas carry over to my faith? And, if they do not, should I actually ascribe to that focus on strengths in any part of my life?

It would appear that the secular world certainly puts a lot of stock in building on strengths and minimizing places where you must depend on areas of weakness for you. In business, I believe that makes good sense. Business has to be all about efficiencies and effectiveness. "Do what you and only you can do" seems to be a common thought these days. If someone else can do something better and more quickly than you, then team up with them and get more done. Build well-rounded teams of people, not well-rounded people. Ouch! That last part is a dagger to me, as I have always strived for being well-versed in everything I could find time for.

Now, let's look at a Biblical view on this for a minute though. And specifically, let's look at my primary mission on earth: to bring glory and honor to God. When am I best able to do this? When is God's power most visible? Those are the times when I find myself at my weakest, lowest points. God's glory shines most when He takes the worst and transforms it to the best. God's grace comes forth clearly when He uses my weakest abilities to reach a lost person and rescue them from death.

If that is the case, then am I not in some way hiding His glory when I ignore my weaknesses and focus only on my strengths? When I put my weaknesses into His control and commit even those most minimal of my abilities I am truly at my strongest, because I become dependent upon God! I have the power of God fully behind me. I am in no way allowing my pride to enter into the thought that I can do it alone. The arena of my strengths are these: pride, self-reliance, success. The areas where God's power shines for and through me are in humility, dependence, respect, and heartfelt need, all things that come out when I allow my weakness to surface.

Throughout the Bible God shows time and again He loves to use the lowest, the weakest. Abram, Moses, Israel, Rahab, David, Mary, Jesus, the apostles. Not a single one of these people would have been expected to do great things. They were of the least in their times. Yet God elevated them because of their faith and used them to glorify Him. Let Him now expose my weaknesses, use them to His glory, and bring more people into His kingdom through my numerous imperfections. I am strong when He guides me, works through me, and I am dependent.


Duane said...

I too am learning that doing things in a Kingdom of God way is quite different from the kingdom of the world. I have always loved Matthew 6:33, but I am now really starting to understand it in a whole new light.

Duane said...

One more thing, the Nouwen book I read In the Name of Jesus talks about Christian leadership and how it is so different from worldly leadership. Christ came and just did things in a whole new way.