Strength from a man’s weaknesses

Published 10:46 pm Thursday, September 29, 2016

While talking with individuals about recovery from unwanted behaviors, I shared how God turned a man’s weaknesses into strengths.

The man’s story was engaging and relevant. But it may surprise people to know the story was about apostle Paul, a convert to Christ who lived many years ago.

Before his conversion, Paul was called Saul. He regularly persecuted Christians or “followers of The Way,” which was the early name given to people who adhered to Christ’s teachings.

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Saul was traveling to Damascus, when he was blinded by a light and heard the voice of Christ saying, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me? I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go to the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

A believer named Ananias arrived to pray and lay hands on Saul. As a result, he regained sight and completed his conversion. Acts 9: 19-21 indicates, “Saul spent a few days getting acquainted with the Damascus disciples, but then went right to work, wasting no time, preaching in the meeting places that this Jesus was the Son of God. They were caught off guard by this and, not at all sure they could trust him….”

Romans, chapter 7 indicates Paul struggled with habits and old ways of thinking, and he acknowledged his need for God’s strength.

He exclaimed, “But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.”

“It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.”

In 2 Corinthians, chapter 12 Paul begged God to remove one of his weaknesses. But God replied: “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”

Paul changed his thoughts, saying, “So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Paul developed strength in God as a result of his weaknesses. And his testimony remains very genuine and relatable. May we all be inspired by Paul’s testimony.

Tonya Swindell writes a blog for and a teacher for Kingdom Building Equipping School ( She can be reached at