"But he [God] 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."
I read a few years ago the story of a 10-year-old boy who decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident.
The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn't understand why, after three months of training, the master had taught him only one move.
"Sensei," the boy finally said, "shouldn't I be learning more moves?"
"This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you'll ever need to know," the sensei replied. Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training.
Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals. This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out. He was about to stop the match when the sensei intervened. "No," the sensei insisted, "let him continue."
Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake: he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament. He was the champion.
On the way home, the boy and the sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind: "Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?"
"You won for two reasons," the sensei answered. "First, you've almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm."
"The boy's biggest weakness had become his biggest strength."2
Hmmm ... very interesting. When it comes to life, for some folk their biggest strength becomes their biggest weakness. For example, as Jesus said about the wealthy man, "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."3 The eye of the needle was referring to a door in the wall of the city (as it was commonly called) which was too small for a camel to go through, meaning that it was impossible for a person who trusts in his riches—or his fame, personality, power or position—to get into God's heaven.
On the other hand, when we acknowledge our weaknesses and know that we need to depend on God for guidance, wisdom, discernment, and deliverance from temptation—this can become our greatest strength.
Suggested prayer, "Dear God, please deliver me from the sin of pride and help me always remember to be dependent on you for guidance, wisdom, direction, power to overcome temptation, and for my eternal salvation. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV).
2. Thought for the Day, by Alan Smith, http://www.tftd-online.com.
3. Matthew 19:24 (NIV).
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