Devotional: Understanding Your Strengths – Focus on the A’s

Focus on the A’s, Not the F’s

Your weaknesses or your strengths: which are easiest for you to recognize?

To find out, try this exercise. On one side of a 3 x 5 index card, record your three greatest weaknesses. Turn the card over. On the second side, write down your three greatest strengths.

Which list was easiest for you to write?

A-plus grade on homework paper

Image: Education Portal

If you’re like most people, you are already an expert when it comes to identifying your weaknesses and failings. In fact, you may have had to limit yourself to just three items on your “weakness” list. But when it comes to identifying and articulating your strengths, most of us have a harder time.

Although it’s normal for people to focus on areas in which they’re weak, it’s not God’s intention.

Focus on the A or the F?

A recent Gallup poll underscored our orientation for weaknesses over strengths. Researchers presented parents with a scenario in which a child brings home a report card with the following grades: an A in English, an A in social studies, a C in biology, and an F in algebra.

When asked, “Which of these grades would you spend the most time discussing with your son or daughter?”  77% of the parents chose to focus on the F in algebra. Meanwhile, just 6% focused on the A in English and only 1% focused on the A in social studies.

The carefully-worded question sought to discover what draws parents’ attention and how they typically invest their time – in developing a child’s strengths or compensating for a child’s weaknesses. Parents in the study invested 11 times more time addressing weaknesses than strengths. Answers revealed an orientation towards weakness, even while A’s in both English and social studies represent strengths in processing information, communicating well, and analyzing material.

Our human perspective is skewed toward weakness, even to the detriment of cultivating our strengths.

Flip Over the Index Card

To orient yourself to your weaknesses and ignore your strengths and may be commonplace. Yet in doing so you deny both the uniqueness in how God made you and the power of God working through you.

Whatever strengths you possess have been woven into your being by God with the express purpose of imparting His grace to the world around you. The Apostle Paul underscored this truth: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Ephesians 2:10, NIV).

Naturally, Christ-followers are called to face weaknesses head on and seek to overcome them. Yet we’re also specifically called by God to identify, cultivate, and use our strengths.

In other words, God tells us to focus on the A … not the F.  

Look at the index card on which you recorded your strengths on one side and your weaknesses on the other. You may be tempted to leave the weakness side face up on your desk.

Don’t. Flip it … and focus on your strengths instead.

Growth Point Orient your mind towards your strengths over your weaknesses.


For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

Prayer Points

  • Compare your ease in identifying your weaknesses and your strengths. Which comes more naturally to you – and why?
  • Consider how much time you have invested in overcoming your weaknesses versus cultivating your strengths.
  • Ask God to show you specific strengths He wants you to cultivate.

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