Living from our strength can require us to do hard things. Sometimes it seems easier to be weak.
The best example of this I can think of is from the quintessential man-movie, Braveheart. In the film, Robert the Bruce, seeking the Scottish crown, knows that his duty is to free his people from oppression but his scheming father convinces him to bow to the English rulers. Bruce admires William Wallace and his courage. He wants freedom for his people but his father plants the seed of fear in his mind and so he chooses to side with his country’s oppressors because it is safer. He chooses to abandon his strength.
On the positive side, there is William Wallace. He chooses to live from his strength and resist English oppression. He pays the ultimate price for that decision. His story makes the solid point that living from one’s strength can be dangerous. The man who chooses to abandon his strength is not necessarily deceived in expecting more safety or security in the moment. But the price one pays in loss of freedom, weakening of character and loss of morale and self-respect is not worth it.
I’ve found in my life that the thing most likely to scare me into abandoning my strength is embarrassment. Embarrassing I know. The Braveheart example is inspiring but the truth is that most of life’s decisions between strength and weakness are less extreme. I’ve been in situations where I should have stood up for someone, combatted a lie, offered help, etc. and I didn’t because I decided the social risk wasn’t worth it.
I don’t let these moments of weakness define who I am. I draw strength from remembering the times I’ve been strong and from looking to the example of stronger men. Thank God for grace. Thank God that Jesus is the perfect example of a man who always lived and continues to live from his strength. His strength was in his Father and our strength is in him.