28 August 2010

Archilles' Heel (How Strengths Relate to Weaknesses)

I had lunch with my friends this afternoon and it was interesting to note through out our discussion how that ones strength could just as easily be ones weakness or "Archilles' heel".

Over lunch, after discussing various things, it was suggested that each of us share, one after the other, what we thought were our weaknesses after which the others would point out what they had observed to be weaknesses when the person holding the floor was done. We've known each other long enough so that would not be a problem.

I tend to ask people from time to time, if they have discovered what their gifts are to which the response is usually, "I don't know". But never have I asked anyone whether or not they are aware of their weaknesses. It dawned on me during our discussion how important it is for every Christian to know their Archilles' heel. If you don't know your weaknesses, there's someone who certainly does:

1 Peter 5:8 says, "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour."

My friends were quite excited about this passage not too long ago. I remember when one of them song led at McDonald's farm and shared a little from the passage. He spoke of how that the devil is similar to a hungry lion roaming the jungle. The lion roams the jungle with its eyes peeled looking to pounce on any animal that it can catch unawares. Any Deer that lets its guard down and drinks from the stream of water without paying attention to its surroundings, any ill Zebra that stumbles its way across the plain, any Wildebeest that finds itself behind the pack during migration, any fawn that leaves its mothers side becomes the target of the lion. The lion being a lazy and somewhat intelligent animal, not wanting to run any more than necessary, realises that there is no need to spend energy chasing the alert, strong and well prepared animals when there are other animals that will be the exact opposite.

The devil is like that. He will not waste too much energy on those Christians who have done what is necessary to prevent themselves from falling. He will scout for Christians who are inactive in church, those who are babes in the faith. He targets those who are in high positions and whose fall would affect many.

He also targets those who do not know what their Achilles' Heel is. The man who is unaware of what weaknesses are. But those who do know what their weaknesses are better equipped to evade the traps of the evil one. If pornography, for instance, is the weakness of a man, and he does not know it, he is liable to attacks from the devil. The evil one, knowing what the man's weakness is, will send temptations his way that focus on his very weakness. Unless he knows his weakness he will neither realise this, nor put in measures to insulate himself from those attacks.

Now, during our discussion, it occurred to us (or me at least) that a major strength was pretty much a major weakness for each of us. I think this is typical of most people, their strengths are easily translate into weaknesses.

There are various examples. It could be that your strength lies in that fact that you don't worry. Whether its losing a job or failing an exam you just don't worry. This can easily become a weakness when you go to an extreme of being laid back even when something deserves urgent attention. It could be that you are one who is never idle and always ensures that you are doing something profitable and constructive. This could easily translate into a weakness of being too busy to attend to certain people and and areas of your life whereby you find that you've been so busy that you have never invested in people, friends or family. It could be that you are self reliant and assured. This strength could easily translate into an "I-don't-need-anybody" kind of mentality. It could be that you are logical and only do things when they make sense. This could just as easily translate into arrogance where once you're convinced of something, nothing and no one can make you feel or think otherwise.

And so in our quest to discover our weaknesses, if we find our strengths, we've pretty much got our weaknesses as well. When we discover our strengths, our weaknesses are just around the corner.