I was recently reading about the life of Samson. He was best known for his physical strength, which in his day was probably greatly envied by other men. The ability to overpower and conquer both animals and people gave him great status.
The problem for Samson was that his outward, physical strength in no way helped him overcome his sexual appetite for ungodly women. This was one of Samson’s greatest weaknesses.
Many men out in the world of business today display a genuine and, if we could see in their hearts, an enviable ability to make money and build organizations; but like Samson, they have no inner fortitude. They can’t control their desires and appetites. Like Samson, they have no inner strength.
So where does a man go when he realizes a need for inner strength? When he recognizes his weaknesses? Ironically it is found in a place most men would never look. It is found in what I call “Life’s Greatest Paradox.”
Simply stated, life’s greatest paradox can be summed up in the words: true strength is found in humility. The apostle Paul tells us as much in 2 Corinthians 12 when he reveals a struggle in his own life with what he calls “a thorn in the flesh.” He asks God to remove the pain and the suffering of this affliction. God’s response is to say “no,” and instead He tells Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”
I don’t know about you, but to my mind, this is a very interesting and challenging concept. It’s certainly not taught at Harvard Business School, and it is counterintuitive in our culture. Paul is revealing that inner strength is only found when we are willing to acknowledge our weaknesses, our deficiencies, and our inadequacies as we humble ourselves. Paul reinforces the paradox when he says, “When I am weak, then I am strong.”
I like to think of this more as a mystery than a principle because it can only be true with God’s grace, without which it would be utter foolishness. Only with God’s grace can we find true strength, and it comes from acknowledging our weaknesses as we humble ourselves before Him. It is a strength that carries us through the toughest of times. And it is a state that can transform our greatest weaknesses.