In job interviews people say, “Tell us your three strengths and three weaknesses…” Our reply is presented to make our weaknesses come off as strengths. None of us likes to think about our weaknesses… much less tell them to anyone. Weakness is not a positive trait. We much prefer to boast about our strengths.
We usually boast about our kids or things we’re proud of. Most of our boasting is to ourselves, but we do love it when people boast publicly about us to others. These things could be… our looks, intellect, personality, Bible knowledge, doctrinal acuity, and many other things. Paul was no different… except for WHAT he boasted about. Consider 2 Corinthians 11:29…
Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? 30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 12:9 Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 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.
Boast about weaknesses? Boast about the things everyone else tries to hide? Boast about the things that SHOW others he’s really not “all that?!”
I suggest we know little of what Paul wrote. We readily admit we have weaknesses, faults, or failures… but we certainly don’t seriously BOAST about them! After all… who wants to admit they are arrogant… aren’t not loving enough… need to be more forgiving, gracious, merciful, and patient? Do we know anyone who admits to being prideful?
If we REALLY believed we had weaknesses that hindered godliness, wouldn’t we do something to change them rather than shrugging and pseudo-confessing them?
Paul’s weaknesses grieved him. They reminded him of how far he had to go to BE like Jesus. They were constant reminders that “what he wanted to do he didn’t do, and what he didn’t want to do he DID” (Romans 7:15).
Paul realized this… God was working most where he was the weakest. Whatever issus/problem he had, THAT was where the most pain and struggle were because God was conforming him to the image of Christ and the result WOULD be for God’s glory.