While I was drinking a cup of coffee with a friend, the subject of military intelligence was discussed. He referred to military intelligence as an oxymoron.
Most any dictionary will define an oxymoron as a combination of contradictory words. Let me share a few of these with you: Silent Scream, Honest Crook, Pretty Ugly, Jumbo Shrimp, Sure Bet, and Alone Together.
Oxymoron is a form of oxymoros which is a word that comes to us from the Greek language. The prefix oxy means sharp, pointed or acute, and moros carries the idea of that which is dull. Joined together the word means sharp-dull.
Paul uses an oxymoron to teach an important principle of Scripture: For when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:10). In the preceding verse, Paul received a promise from God in the form of an oxymoron: My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.
This concept is a bit foreign to those of us who grew up watching John Wayne westerns that idealized the self-made and self-sufficient man. Macho, macho, man was the creed of the day, and admitting any weakness was hard to do.
Paul is adamant that an honest admission of our weaknesses is the key to spiritual strength. Only then do we find the blessings of His grace. It is His grace that:
- Guides and directs (Psalm 32:8)
- Provides for our needs (Philippians 4:19)
- Gives daily strength (2 Corinthians 4:16)
I think it was Kay Arthur who said: For the victorious Christian, the one who lives as more than a conqueror, grace is more than a theological term. Grace is a reality, a fact of life. It is by grace that one becomes a Christian, and it is by grace that one lives the Christian life.
So, the next time you feel a little weak, remember this is the best time to find new strength in Christ (Philippians 4:13).