Have you ever applied for a job? You know the drill. Get those references lined up (make sure they are people who actually know you), write that essay about all the wonderful things you’ve done in your life (or at least things you intended to do), and then fill out that lengthy application, asking you where you went to elementary school and how old you were when you started delivering the morning newspaper. I’ve done it many times, perhaps too many. First comes the question: What are your strengths? I have no problem with that question. My answer can be effusive. How many answers do you want? I’ve got plenty more where that came from!
WHY WOULD THEY HIRE ME?
But let me tell you about the part I’ve always hated. The hard question: What are your weaknesses? Oh no! Do I have to tell them the areas I am weak in, where I daily struggle? If I am honest and I lay out all my shortcomings, why would they hire me? Then, if I simply delay the application because I am overanalyzing this, that gives them one more reason why I shouldn’t get the job. (My editor says I get stuck on this too often).
When it comes to actually living life, the Bible makes it very clear that believers have a lengthy list of “strengths”. We are no longer children of the Devil (Ephesians 1:1-2), we are no longer dead in our transgressions, (vs 5) and God has raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenlies (vs 6). Peter goes one step further: “But you are a chosen people. A royal priesthood. A Holy Nation. A people belonging to God. That you may declare the praises of him who called you. (I Peter 2:9) Wow! That’s quite a list of strengths. All credit goes to the saving work of Jesus Christ.
WHAT ABOUT THE HARD QUESTIONS?
But what about your list of weaknesses? What about the things you’ve said or done that would cause you to lose the respect you want from your peers? How about behaviors that could cause you to miss out on opportunities to serve in the church? What are the weaknesses which are holding you back from being truly a servant of Christ? What about the hard questions?
Peter tells us we should “examine” ourselves to see if we are in faith. (II Peter 1:10-11) Self-examination is appropriate for other areas of our lives. We need to ask about what our weaknesses are. Is it in sharing the gospel with someone we encounter? Have you been a good listener to someone who just needs someone to hear them? How is your speech and being careful what comes out of your mouth? We are all different, yet for each of us the answer is the same: recognize your sin problem and admit it to God; find someone who can disciple you and get you on the right path; and finally commit yourself to prayer and Bible Study. It takes time, but it is worth it.
NOT GETTING STUCK
If I take this course of positive action before the next time I apply for a job, I promise you, I won’t get stuck on the hard question: “And what are your weaknesses?”