Recognizing, developing, and using personal strengths is not a new concept. Throughout virtually every book in the Bible, God provides us with an abundance of examples and experiences in which people used their strengths. But, if all we do is focus on individual strengths, we miss the reason for their inclusions in Scripture. The personal strengths of people like Joseph, Deborah, Moses, Ruth, David, and Hannah invite us to be part of a bigger story—to use our strengths in ways that align us with God’s redemptive purpose in this world.
By recognizing the personal strengths that help us stay alert to God, that lead us in loving God and loving others, we can become more aware of His guiding voice as it echoes throughout Scripture, our lives, and into the lives of those we have opportunity to serve.
Read Psalms 139:13-14.
Let’s think about the strengths of a few women in Scripture for a moment. The story of Ruth gives us some interesting clues into her strengths. From what we can surmise, here was a woman of strong belief and responsibility, a woman whose positive attitude kept her going regardless of her circumstances, and a woman who eloquently communicated her thoughts. We might also consider the story of Mary, mother of Jesus. In Luke (chapter 1), we learn that Mary was contemplative, trusting, insightful, and peaceful. The beauty of how these women lived out their strengths is inspiring. They can remind us that God gives each of us certain attributes and strengths that enable us to be effective. We are not called to be someone else, but to be true to what God created in us!
The incredible message of these stories lies in how these two women’s individual strengths fit into the larger story of God’s redemptive will. Had Ruth not lived out her strengths, she would not have given birth to her son, which was vital in continuing the lineage of Abraham. When the story comes to Mary, we can see how her contemplative and trusting strengths led her to obedience. These women were true to who they were created to be. They honored the lives that God designed for them and aligned their lives with Him. Ruth and Mary could not see the bird’s-eye view or the timeline of humanity. They could only live in the present and be faithful to live out the life to which God called them. They became part of something much bigger than themselves; they became part of God’s redemptive plan.
As we consider this developing our personal strengths, we must always remember to align ourselves with God. How can we use our strengths to effectively serve God and others?
Consider your favorite biblical character. What strengths do you notice in his or her life? How do those strengths fit into God’s bigger picture?
Do you recognize some personal strengths that seem to be a part of the fabric of your life? How do these strengths help you serve God and others?
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society®.
“Developing Your Strengths” is published by National Women’s Ministries at women.ag.org, ©2020. Permission granted for personal use or within a teaching setting. Do not reproduce.