Looking at Abraham’s life, we find that his fatal flaw was lying. Abraham had a beautiful wife, Sarah, and because of her beauty she was desired by other men. Since Abraham was travelling in foreign lands and was vulnerable to the people in those lands, he seemed to be very fearful that if those people knew Sarah was his wife, they would kill him so that they could have Sarah.
How did Abraham deal with this predicament? He lied repeatedly about Sarah, saying she was his sister rather than his wife. In fact, as we read in Genesis 20, there was no need for him to lie. There was no threat on his life; but that fear had so possessed him, that he lied anyway, and he caused Sarah to lie as well. He used the old “If you love me, you’ll lie for me” persuasion on Sarah.
By lying, he was willing to allow his wife to commit adultery. Can you see how the lying led him to other areas of sin? Fatal flaws are always that way: one little thing leads to another. Here is this great man of faith, who could trust God for so many things, but not when he thought his life might be threatened.
He resorted to lying as a way out of his tough spots. Lying had become for Abraham a fatal flaw, and it damaged his effectiveness for God.
You know, Satan is the father of lies, and if he can get us to lie, he has us where he wants us. Do you find it easy to lie? Do you often resort to lying to get yourself out of trouble? It’s become very common these days; it no longer has the social stigma that it used to. But it is still totally unacceptable to God. Quite literally, you can become addicted to lying so that you lie even when you don’t have to. And Christians are not immune to this destructive tendency of lying.
King Saul of the Old Testament had a fatal flaw: pride and power. He started out so good and humble, wanting to be the right kind of king, wanting to honor God. But once he got a taste of power, pride took over and eventually destroyed him. He could have been a great king in the history of the people of Israel, but instead he went down in disgrace because of his fatal flaw.
Power is a common fatal flaw today. It is a rare person who can truly handle a position of power without becoming obsessed with themselves and their power. Be careful in your pursuit of power; if you don’t know how to handle it, believe me, it can be a totally destructive force in your life.
Some other fatal flaws that I’ve observed are the inability to accept criticism or suggestions, the out-of-control tongue which causes great damage through words, quick anger and violent tempers, a stubborn resistance to change, and a consuming need to have the approval of others. I’m sure there are many others.
One thing you should know about fatal flaws is that if they are left uncontrolled, they get worse and worse, stronger and stronger with time. Many people start well: they have good intentions about how they’re going to live their lives and serve God, but they never recognize or control their fatal flaws. Then they so very often miss out on what God wanted to do for them and with them because of their fatal flaw. It can be something which starts rather innocently but soon is out of control.
Well, what’s the answer to these fatal flaws? The answer is to recognize them early and put a plan in place to bring them under control. The longer you allow fatal flaws to continue unchecked, the more damage they will inflict. As children of God, we have been given the way to escape from these fatal flaws. Jesus died to give us victory in all areas of our lives, even in these most difficult ones. But you must first recognize what they are, and then seriously and sincerely go to God for deliverance.
What is your fatal flaw? If you don’t immediately know what it is, I encourage you to pray about it and find out because you do have one. We all do. But until you recognize your fatal flaw and how it can damage or destroy your effectiveness for God, you won’t be able to do anything about it.
So, start a campaign to find out what your fatal flaw is. Go to trusted advisers and people who know you well, and ask them to help you discover the one area in your life which could become that fatal flaw. The sooner you embark on this discovery, the better.
Then, once you have a clear understanding of what your fatal flaw is or could be, start a program to bring it under the control of the Holy Spirit. Of course, the first and most important thing you can do is to pray daily about it. Then find every scripture passage you can which refers to that fatal flaw, and memorize several verses. That is the basis of victory in our lives—prayer and the Word of God.
Here are some verses that relate to the specific fatal flaws we’ve examined. God’s Word is the key to our victory over any sin, and we need to apply it directly to the disease.
If sexual obsession is a fatal flaw for you, memorize these verses:
1 Corinthians 6:13, 18 ~ “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.”
Ephesians 5:3 ~ “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”
1 Thessalonians 4:3 ~ “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable….”
If a stubborn unwillingness to accept advice or accountability trips you up, here are some verses you should commit to memory:
Proverbs 15:22 ~ “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
Proverbs 13:18 ~ “He who disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.”
Proverbs 12:1 ~ “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.”
If greed and the love of money and things is a problem in your life, learn these verses:
1 John 2:15 ~ “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Matthew 6:19-21 ~ “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
For those of you who find lying to be a way of life or a frequent pitfall, you should keep these verses in mind:
Proverbs 30:8 ~ “Keep falsehood and lies far from me….”
Colossians 3:9-10 ~ “Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
John 8:44 ~ “He [Satan] was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”
Believe me, you’ll find verses in the Bible for anything you are facing. A good concordance will help you find the right passage. Look for Scripture that addresses your fatal flaw, commit that scripture to memory, and then pray it into your life on a daily basis.
Once you’ve done that, make yourself accountable to at least one person, or perhaps to a small group. Confess to that person what you see as your fatal flaw; tell him or her what you are committing to do to become strong and invulnerable; make yourself accountable to that person by asking them to check up on you. Set a schedule in place for doing this. Making yourself accountable to others is very important. We don’t need to be wiped out by our fatal flaws. Jesus died to give us victory, but we must apply it to our lives with discipline and total dependence on his power to work the miracle we need.
Those of us who are marketplace Christians are called by God to reach our worlds. We begin to reach them by living in such a way that they see Jesus in us. With that kind of life, eventually those who are seeking will ask us some questions, and we will be able to give answers. You never know who is looking at your life now—watching to see how you act and react, and seeing if you’re able to handle life any better than the rest of them. If they see a difference, they’ll start to ask questions.
It all begins with a life that is victorious! We have the power to be victorious, to live free from the domination and obsession of our fatal flaws! I hope you’ll be encouraged to start down that road today.