People are frequently confused about the difference between a paradox and an oxymoron. And often times the reason for this is because both involve words which seem contradictory to each other. In the case of oxymoron, it’s often two words where each words definition is completely contradictory – and yet are commonly used in our English language.
For the sake of illustration, let me share some of the more popular oxymoron’s with you:
- Jumbo Shrimp
- Plastic Glasses
- Pretty Ugly
- Tax Return
- Government Organization
While oxymorons are intriguing and often downright funny, they are different from paradoxes. The main distinction is that a paradox, although at first may appear opposed to common sense, it is nevertheless true!
The teachings of the Bible are full of paradoxes. And one of the most common paradoxes in Scripture is found in II Corinthians 12:9 where God, speaking to the Apostle Paul, says; My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
I am told that in certain extreme situations professional lifeguards are actually trained to wait until the person who is drowning stops fighting before beginning the rescue. This is true because they can actually end up drowning both individuals.
As human beings we have the capacity to learn, grow and become stronger. While in some instances this can be a blessing, for the Christian, it often sabotages our capacity to experience God’s ultimate strength. Until we willingly resign to the fact that we are spiritual weaklings and really allow that weakness to make us desperate, we will never truly experience the almighty strength that is available to us in Christ. As long as we think we are strong enough, we only limit what God can do through us!
Andrew Murrey said it this way; “The Christian often tries to forget his weakness: God wants us to remember it, and to feel it deeply. The Christian wants to conquer his weakness and to be freed from it: God wants us to rest in it. The Christian thinks his weakness is his greatest hindrance in the life and service of God: God tells us that it is the secret of strength and success. It is our weakness, heartily accepted and continually realized, that gives us the strength of God who has said, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Will you ask God to give you strength today by making you weak? Take a moment and let go of your ability and your strength and cry out to God for His ability and His strength. What does God want to do in your life if you are weak enough?