What is a man’s greatest weakness? Ask most men and they would say “women.” Ask most women and they would say “self-indulgence.” While both of these responses ring of truth, and while both may be individually relevant to my question, there is an even greater threat to the focus, responsibility, and well-being of a man.
In an age where a mere flick, click, or turn of a dial can bring the most vile of materials, the most destructive of philosophies, and the most corrupt of theologies to the literal doorstep of anyone seeking a private peek, one would think that in these would lie the greatest threat to man. Yet even with the pervasiveness of these external vices, they only represent a secondary peril. So what then is man’s greatest weakness? In the words of Dr. David Jeremiah, of the ministry Turning Point, it is his “Unguarded Strength.” We can find a perfect example of this reality in the 11th chapter of the book of 2nd Samuel.
This chapter opens with the words; “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war ..” Yet King David, who used to LEAD his army into battle, opted this time to SEND his army into battle under the leadership of his Commanding General Joab. And what was so pressing a matter that it prevented King David’s leading the army entrusted to him by the Almighty? Mere laziness. This is seen in verse 2 where it is said that “One evening David got up from his bed and walked around on the roof of the palace.” Now picture this; at a time when all adult men of Israel should have been either involved in the harvesting of Israel’s crops, or in the defense of her borders, King David, after having spent his entire day lounging in the bed, arises at dusk.
David, who before his infamous battle with the giant Goliath, was perplexed to the point of frustration at the attitudes of his king, his brothers, and his countrymen in their failure to personally address any and all challenges to the sovereignty of Almighty God and the kingdom that He established with Israel. David, who was confused that his brother and his king would focus on who he was, rather than whose he was in seeking to determine his worthiness to face Goliath. It was clear to David at that time at least, that he was not in service for himself, but rather, to Almighty God. This, in turn manifested itself in his undying devotion to protect Israel from those who would seek to conquer her and scatter or enslave God’s people. In short, David recognized that he, as King of Israel, was merely charged with protecting God’s theocracy. In that role he had an absolute trust in the delivering power of God, and the absolute trust and loyalty of the whole of his army who rally around this dashing young king.
This leader, who showed no fear while fighting off surrounding gentile nations in God’s name and for His glory. Yet once he had successfully evaded, and eventually succeeded Saul as ruler of Israel, he allowed the trappings of this power to lull him into a sense of false security. A security that caused him to do the very thing he once despised; to focus on WHO he was rather than WHOSE he was.
Now granted, as King, David was well within his rights as the human sovereign of Israel to do the very thing he was doing. All earthly kings have enjoyed this kind of privilege since the dawn of time. But as a servant of the King of Kings, David should never have allowed himself to think of himself as “top dog,” As though Israel, and all of her citizens existed to serve him. Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality was for David then, and for you and I today, is that we serve, no matter how large or small the capacity, at the behest of the Almighty God. We are merely conduits through which he can make his will known to mankind, and to reap a harvest in due season. King David, like we today, should have known that this work would never be done in his lifetime, and thus he should never have dropped his guard. This is equally true for us today.
Like David, God has blessed many of us with special gifts and talents to be used for the furtherance of His kingdom today. And just like David, we can and sometimes do get caught up in the success that God allows us to experience while in service to him. We may feel that we are well within our rights to sit back and coast on what He has done for us in the past, and on how far He has brought us from. But in this kingdom, HIS Kingdom, it is equally important to focus on where he is taking us to in our lives and ministries. Our fight is before us, and within us. We can never rest, as if we’ve accomplished something in our service to Him, or for ourselves. And we can never, ever take credit for His victories though us. We are in His service, and as such, we are to always be on guard against, and actively engaged in toppling evil in our lives in all of its forms. The Apostle Paul put it this way:
"Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize." (I Corinthians 9:25-27)
May we ever keep these words as the focus of our mind’s eye. Amen.