Last week, a mentor of mine posted a video of himself working out. He held a barbell above his head and squatted multiple times. He then moved over to a chin up bar and did several chin ups. After that he went back to the barbells. He repeated the process until he couldn’t go on. I watched as he began to struggle. His arms twitched. He had to refocus and retry a few times as he got wore out. Finally, he stopped and walked off the mat. His caption said, “One thing Crossfit does, it exposes weakness in areas you might have thought you were strong in. But I love it!”
That phrase stuck out to me. Most of us want nothing to do with having our weaknesses exposed. We like to keep them hidden from others and pretend they don’t exist. We like to focus on areas where we’re strong and show that side to the world. We like to put our best foot forward and rarely let others see who we completely are. We’re afraid others won’t like us as much or will look down on us. Fear plays a big role in keeping our weaknesses covered up. Unfortunately, that fear is what keeps us from being more of the person God wants us to be.
Knowing what your weaknesses are and putting them in the open has a lot of benefits. First, knowing your weaknesses gives you direction and focus. It shows you exactly what you need to work on. Just because you are weak in an area of your life, it doesn’t mean you can’t get strong there. Don’t fall for the lie that it’s just who you are or it’s just in your nature. You are only weak in areas of your life to the extent that you allow yourself to be. You have the power to get strong in those areas if only you will push yourself. When you do, you will find other areas of weakness. Simply repeat the process.
Another benefit to exposing weakness is that it opens you up to accountability. As long as you hide your weakness, it will eat away at you and hold you hostage. The moment you expose it and ask others to help, you set yourself free. You are free from the mind games it has played with you and used to keep you down. You are free to work on that area and to get help. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to say to someone else, “Here’s where I’m weak. I need you to hold me accountable and to help me beat it,” you begin to turn that weakness into a strength. You begin to take control over it instead of letting it have control over you.
In Psalm 139:23-24, David prayed, “Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; cross-examine me and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about… then guide me on the road to eternal life” (GNT). David understood this principle. He asked God to test him and to expose his weaknesses so that he could be guided on the road to eternal life. Each one of us have areas of weakness. Each one of us fail God in our lives. But not each one of us dare to ask God to expose it and then to guide us to a deeper walk with Him. Take that first step today and ask God to expose your weaknesses. Then find an accountability partner to help you strengthen that area. You’ll be glad you did.
Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
Have you ever done the wrong thing for the right reasons? How about the right thing with the wrong motive? It’s funny. You and I tend to judge ourselves based on our motives and intentions while we judge others on their actions. We want others to give us grace when we do something wrong because we intended to do the right thing, yet we escalate when someone almost hits us in traffic. We scream, yell, call them names, honk and then use our vehicle to show them how mad we are. Interesting. We want people to give us the benefit of the doubt, but are we extending it to them?
The hard part for us is that we can’t see people’s motives or intentions. We can only see what they do. God sees both our actions and our motives and He judges us based on our motives. I’ve always heard that sin is less of an action and more of a attitude or motive behind the action. It’s hard to think that way when you think of Christianity as a list of do’s and don’t with God in the sky waiting to smite you for breaking His rules. That’s not who He is. The Bible says His mercy’s are new every morning and His kindness leads us to repentance. He’s not watching your actions waiting for you to mess up. He’s looking at your heart ready to forgive.
Here are some Bible verses on God looking at our motives.
1. Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart.
Psalms 26:2 NLT
2. And you, Solomon my son, get to know well your father’s God; serve him with a whole heart and eager mind, for GOD examines every heart and sees through every motive.
1 Chronicles 28:9 MSG
3. Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs and examines the hearts [of people and their motives].
PROVERBS 21:2 AMP
4. We are all in love with our own opinions, convinced they’re correct. But the Lord is in the midst of us, testing and probing our every motive.
Proverbs 16:2 TPT
5. Don’t hesitate to rescue someone who is about to be executed unjustly. You may say that it is none of your business, but God knows and judges your motives. He keeps watch on you; he knows. And he will reward you according to what you do.
Imagine you had a medical issue that worried you. The first thing you would do is visit your doctor and ask them to examine you thoroughly. You’d want them to run tests to find the problem, then to tell you what the solution would be to bring healing to your body. We would want the doctor to be honest with us about the problem and the treatment, and we would be willing to endure just about anything to be cured.
Now imagine you went to God in prayer and asked Him to examine your life, your thoughts, and your heart to find anything wrong. Why did the thought of that make you uncomfortable, but the thought of asking a doctor the same thing didn’t? For some reason, we think we can hide things from God. Adam and Eve tried it in the garden, and we’ve been trying it ever since. We think of we don’t invite God into those areas, we can keep doing things our own way.
Since God knows everything, He already sees the areas of our lives we try to keep hidden. He knows the thoughts we think and the attitude of our heart too. So do we not ask Him to examine us because we don’t want to hear what He will tell us? Imagine if you used that same logic with the doctor. If we wouldn’t do that with our physical body, why would we with our spiritual life? If you pretend there’s not a problem, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. It just means you’re not addressing it.
In Psalm 139:23-24 David prayed one of the toughest prayers. He prayed, “Examine me, O God, and know my mind; test me, and discover my thoughts. Find out if there is any evil in me and guide me in the everlasting way” (GNT). He knew the only way to get better spiritually is to ask God for an examine. He wanted God to dig into the dark, hidden places of his life so that God could lead him in the everlasting way. If we want God to do the same for us, it’s time we gave Him permission to examine us and to give us the cure.