Is weakness despised in all cultures? In the USA it sure is. Growing up I remember the advertisement of the 97-pound weakling getting his face full of sand by the muscle-upon-muscle bully. I remember the big kids in gym choosing the link between me and the skinny girl next to me for their "Red Rover" breakthrough every time. Weakness is most definitely frowned upon and the appearance of being weak is avoided at all costs, even by Christians.
Can you imagine, in this proud culture of ours, someone actually boasting about their weaknesses? The things we labor to hide and cover up, these very things would be the objects of boasting! But, instead this is more like what we hear and see:
"Did I tell you already how much I can dead lift?"
"Help? No, I don't need any help. I'll be just fine."
"I just ran my 578th marathon and added a triple tri-athlon on just for good measure."
Now, is it okay to strengthen our bodies? Of course! What the apostle Paul is exhorting the Corinthians, and us, to grasp is a mentality of dependence. If I am so focused on how I can be strong and independent from my husband, my marriage will suffer. To be independent from friends will stunt the closeness of the friendship. And, worst of all, to not have any need for Jesus will sever the most important relationship we will ever know.
Recently, at a conference by Revive Our Hearts, 77-year old Susan Hunt spoke to a group of women about aging beautifully. I am sure our culture despises aging because it involves the weakening of our bodies. To hear this wise woman's take on finishing her Christian race well was convicting. She recommended that we pray for grace to finish this race strong. But she clarified her use of the word "strong" by saying that this actually means we are finishing the race weak.
The more we walk with Jesus Christ, the more we must deny any confidence in our own flesh. We must NOT fight against our own weaknesses (not talking about sins here, but weaknesses) so that we will admit our utter need for Jesus and be dependent upon Him alone.
As we get older, it's important to realize that the next generation will be leading in our place. We can either hold tight to the baton or transfer it with joy and instruction. If I'm intoxicated with the majesty of self then I can't be intoxicated with the majesty of Christ. So, whether it's training up the next generation to "take my place" or whether it's a more personal thing between me and Jesus, I must decrease and HE must increase.
Be humble, acknowledge that you are weak, and let that bring about a child-like dependence upon your Savior Jesus that glorifies Him, not yourself. Wouldn't it be glorious to point the world to HIS power instead of our own dwindling 97-pound weakling power?