I recently heard this in an ARP meeting: if we are creations of God, an omnipotent and perfect Being, then we cannot be defective. That would seem to be an obvious truth. But neither are we perfect. We know this is true also. We have been given weakness by God.
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” (Ether 12:27)
How? How do weak things become strong unto us? We must learn to come unto Christ, humbly allow Him to show forth His power in our lives, and become like Him. Paul describes it this way:
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
Perfection through Weakness
We have shortcomings. Christ has asked us to become perfect (see Matthew 5:48). What does He mean by that, if He, Himself, has given unto us weakness? According to Russell M. Nelson, in this scripture, “the term perfect was translated from the Greek teleios, which means “complete.” (“Pending Perfection,” October 1995 conference.) Elder Nelson goes on to describe in detail how this term is used and what kind of perfection (or “completeness”) we can and should seek in this mortal life. I recommend reading the entire talk.
How should we go about seeking perfection? Most of us cringe when we see our weaknesses and shortcomings. Sometimes we try to hide them from ourselves and those around us. Other times we beat ourselves up for our lack of perfection, and allow Satan to convince us that somehow we are too broken, too imperfect. That we truly are defective and that there is no hope for us.
We need to put those thoughts and voices behind us and turn to Christ, seeking His omnipotent strength and love, and allow His power to rest upon us, as Paul says.
We finally abandoned the idea that we could become perfect by ourselves, and we accepted the truth that God desires us to conquer our weaknesses in this life by coming to Christ and being perfected in Him. (A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Healing, p.41)
You may not yet be perfect, but you are not defective. You are a beloved son or daughter of God, created by Him and given the full potential to become like Him. Regardless of what your life looks like now or was like in the past, as you turn to Christ in your weakness, and take His yoke upon you, His strength and power will rest upon you and you will become like Him. It will take time. Be patient and diligent. Walk in faith. It will happen.
I testify that this is true.
- Are you willing to acknowledge your weakness and recognize that you, including your weaknesses, were created by God?
- Write about your weakness and your willingness to be perfected in Him.
- What can you do today to demonstrate your willingness?
Please share your thoughts about this post by commenting below.
Related Posts: On Being a Perfect Rosebud, Paul’s Thorn – Weakness is Not Always Removed by Faith, Trust: Take My Yoke Upon You
4 thoughts on “Weakness, Shortcoming or Defect?”
One of the most powerful insights I have ever heard about Eth 12:27 is that the LORD is the one who shows us our weakness. So often I think we get discouraged because we spend a lot of energy trying to fix mortal stuff that bothers us rather than learn to co-exist with our humanness enough to not hijack God’s line-upon-line personal growth process that God wants to be in charge of.
To me, this is what steps 6 and 7 are about. God never promised to take away all of my human weakness in this life, and yet I used to think that I was supposed to fix all of that (and I tried to fix myself by myself). To me, trusting Him means letting Him carry the load of ALL the weakness I see daily while I focus on the next right thing(s) that He inspires me to do. I surrender 100%, and then seek to only focus on the next right thing. VERY different than years of obsessing about all that was wrong with me and being sure that there was no hope for me.
If you haven’t read “Weakness is not Sin” by Wendy Ulrich, I would recommend it. I think perhaps she doesn’t even go strongly enough toward surrendering weakness more fully, but her insights on recognizing the difference between weakness and sin was life-altering for me.
I couldn’t agree more! Check out my Resources page. It has Wendy Ulrich’s article listed as recommended reading, with a link.
I am one of those people who have pride issues. I can see the wisdom of our Father in Heaven in giving me my weaknesses because they really do help me to turn to him instead of myself thinking I know what I want and need. As I have learned to turn to him, he has taught me so many things that I couldn’t see or wasn’t open to receive until I became humble. Becoming humble has helped me to trust him and his will for me. I personally am so grateful for my weaknesses. They aren’t fun to struggle with, but the rewards of becoming stronger and better able to deal with life as I turn to him is worth the hard times. My weaknesses are truly a blessing to me!
I’m not sure I agree with the initial quote…mainly the word “defective.” To me that word means that He meant for us to be a certain way, but through some accident or mistake we aren’t. You point out that God doesn’t make mistakes or accidents, but I think the other end of the equation is where the quote gets it wrong–we were never meant to be perfect from birth. I’m not sure I understand why a perfect God’s plan involves creating beings who need to learn from agency (including making poor choices). However, I believe that there is a God who mourns when I choose selfishness over healthiness, but who refuses to force me to accept His offer to heal me. Without God, I can’t. Without me, God won’t.
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