“The glory of young men is their strength, and the beauty of old men is their gray head [suggesting wisdom and experience]” (Proverbs 20:29 Amp.).
“Patience is better than power, and controlling one’s temper, than capturing a city” (Proverbs 16:32 HCSB).
Indeed, wisdom is greater than strength, more powerful than mere vigor. The young think as they move, learning by trial and error; the mature think before they move, having learned to read the instructions first. The mature know (for instance) that “Once God has spoken; twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God” (Psalm 62:11). They KNOW God is Almighty. They understand that He alone holds their soul in life. They understand that “It is finished!” They understand that “the kingdom is the Lord's, [that] he is the governor among the nations.” They understand that every knee will bow and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, that everyone who goes “down to dust shall bow before him: and [that] none can keep alive his own soul” (Proverbs 22:28-29).
Saul, in the strength of impetuous youth and the vigor of religious zealousness persecuted the church in a profound educated ignorance. The madness of a prophet is sober reality and the settled center of morality, but zeal without knowledge is the madness of all madness. And in varying degrees along this line of misalignment of thinking and being are all those who think themselves powerful. Many Christians cannot distinguish between the power of the flesh and the empowerment of the Holy Ghost. ALWAYS, the foundation of power with God for service is premised on the revelation of our weakness. Indeed, as Paul (converted Saul) said:
“Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, FOR THIS REASON, TO KEEP ME FROM EXALTING MYSELF, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for POWER IS PERFECTED IN WEAKNESS.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for WHEN I AM WEAK, THEN I AM STRONG” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
How many ministers have you heard “boast” about their weaknesses? I dare say I’ve heard none that I can recall throughout my entire thirty-five years as a Christian. And the irony is that therein lies the secret of mature power. The word “perfect” means “complete,” or “consummated character,” i. e., matured strength of disposition, an established empowerment along the lines of righteous conduct. It is a solid state of being that is unmoved by winds of doctrine, unswayed by temptations, and inconsiderate to suggestions of sin. It is to truly experience overcoming the world as defined by not succumbing to the lust of eye, lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life.