Ask Fred > Career/Work > How can a man conquer his weaknesses?

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Dear Fred

How can a man conquer his weaknesses?

Fred's Response

Your question is "how can man conquer his weaknesses?" In the first place, he never will. It is basic humanism to think that man is perfectible. This is impossible. One of the ancient Christian mystics wrote that perhaps God leaves sin to humble the believer and also to show us how far we have to go. This is somewhat of a different thought, but intriguing. When Paul talks about his thorn I don't believe it was a physical condition like eyesight or epilepsy. I believe he had a temptation that he had to fight every day. When you struggle with a life-long temptation it keeps you humble and dependent. There is a difference between weakness that is caused by a human mistake and a sin. A human mistake with a good effort and good intention can usually be corrected; the sin requires confession and repentance. Is your weakness a mistake or a sin? There are two questions that I have consistently asked myself: 1) what is my productive strength and 2) do I have a destructive weakness? If it is not destructive then don't spend alot of time working on it because you are draining energy from the development of your productive strength. If you are focusing on your strengths you will working on your contribution. If it is sin, repent and turn away. But if it is mistake, correct it, learn from it and move toward your strengths. Focusing on your weaknesses gives you a negative approach to life. Concentrate on your productive strengths because those are in the area where you will bless people. Conquering your weaknesses will not be a source of blessing like developing your productive strengths. In another question I addressed temptation --- one last word: if your weakness is in an area of temptation, don't spend all your time trying to conquer temptation for that just focuses your attention on the troubled area. Know when the best way to conquer is by fleeing. Thanks for the question.