Thursday, March 17, 2011

In Who's Strength?

Recently, I received an e-mail asking a few questions:

"How do you know when you are trying to "do" life in your own strength? How do you draw the Lord's strength? Is it just through prayer? Meditation? Do you struggle with this?"


This is a very good question which I believe all us children of God need to examine in our own lives continually. It is so easy to fight battles in our strength but in the end...it makes things harder.

There are some things we do naturally in our strength. We pick up our food and eat, carry heavy bags of groceries in (when our husbands are not around), flip the mattress over 2 times a year (do people really do that?)

Then there is the the emotional/spiritual strength side.


So how do you tell how if you are doing it in your own strength?

During a trial or just life in general, if you experience anxiety, worry, sleepless nights, just plain ol stress, I believe you are trusting in your own strength.

Simple as that.

So, examine your heart.

When something arises, do you find yourself thinking a lot about it?

Do you lose sleep or sleep too much?

Are you angry?

So sad where your thoughts are constantly thinking of the negative?


Irritable, snapping at others?

Start to eat more to comfort yourself?

Not eat?

Watch tv to numb the thoughts for awhile?

There are a multiple of things you might do.

The problem is, when you try to "deal" with things in your own strength, I believe this is breaking a commandment.

The 1st Commandment.

"Thou shalt have no other gods before Me."
(Exodus 20:3)


Anything that comes before Christ is an idol. A god.

Whether it be your children, sports, ministry in the church, OR trusting in YOURSELF to get through trials.

We now know what trying to do life in our own strength looks like, now let's discuss... How you draw the Lord's strength.

To be strong in our Lord Jesus Christ, we must die to our flesh.

We can not be of God AND flesh (our ways) because flesh is enemy of God.

Again, if anything comes before God, it is an idol. Including self.


If you have examined your heart and find yourself trying to live in your own strength, you must confess.

Confess this sin to God. Repent.

Admit you are lost without Christ.

Tell Him, if you are sincere, that you want Christ and His strength only.

Then you begin to pursue and train in the ways of how to have strength in the Lord.

It will not be as easy as just praying. It will take some hard work.

You need to know first of all, that nothing can separate you from God.

"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)

If God cares about the birds and the animals of this earth, He takes care of His creation, how much more will He care for us? It is a lack of faith to not trust in this (Matthew 6:25-34).Trust that our Lord God is in control of all circumstances.

Know that everything that happens in your life has been ordained by our great God for our own good.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God..." Romans 8:28

Every trial, though it may be hard, is for our own good. We do not see the whole picture, but we serve a great God who does and knows all things.

Once you have these truths deep in your heart and mind, begin to pursue God's strength.

How?

Pray.



Start to memorize scripture on these matters. Write them on little cards if you have to and post them around the house.


Psalms68:35 "...the God of Israel is He that giveth strength and power to His people"

Matthew 11:28 "Come unto Me, al ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you peace."

1 Peter 5:7 ""Casting all cares upon Him, for He careth for you."

there are many more but I will leave that for YOU to get into God's Word and search.

You also need to captivate your thoughts.

When you start to doubt, worry, get anxious...

Pray...
go to the verses you have looked up, meditate on God's faithfulness.

Praise God in these storms. Praise Him, even in the deepest of times, even when you don't feel it.

If you have trouble on your own, go to the Word. Look in Psalms. They are full of prayers to God in times of distress.
Read Psalms 46. Psalms 88. There are many more.


And last, wait. Wait upon Christ, with anticipation, on how He will use this trial in your life.

"He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
But they that that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:29-31)

Do I ever struggle with this? Yes. I am still in training, pursuing these things, and I will be until the day when I go to be with the Lord.

But the Lord has been so gracious to teach these things to me more and more in my walk with Him.

I still fail, but I am learning to trust more and more in Christ and His strength and not my own.

I now can honestly say, in the deepest of trials, I am learning to depend on His strength.

And if trials is what it takes for me to grow in HIS strength, then I desire these times, for I desire my Lord to be my complete strength. I will count them joy and a gift from Him.

It's not easy, but I will pursue His strength.

Will you?


"This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." ( Joshua 1:8-9)

6 comments:

Pat said...

Amen and amen.

Candi said...

Thanks...I needed that...it corresponded with some of the things I was thinking and reading about for Bible Study. Miss you!

Pauline said...

Oh wow! I so agree. I struggle a lot with my flesh wanting to take over. During a trial or hardship, I start off strong in God's strength, then find that I have added to the chaos little by little every day and before long, I am trying to do things in my own strength instead of His. I know that when I allow God to be in control the ENTIRE way through, things are so much better. I guess that is why we need to "put on His armour" every single day. Very encouraging post :)

His bondservant said...

Great post! This is so true and something we all struggle with in the Christian life. I am constantly to give military moves over to the Lord because at times all the things that need to be done seem so overwhelming. But, the more I give to Him, the easier it gets the next time and the more He proves Himself faithful to me over and over again. Thanks for the reminder!

Camille said...

What a lovely Christ-centered post Christine! I agree with you...anything that comes before God is an idol...even self! Often self, actually! I *love* all the suggestions you gave for seeking the LORD for HIS help in a matter. Scripture is so powerful and yes, we must fill our minds with Truth! Very often when we worry it is lies we are believing. Thank you for taking the time to write these thoughts out and for sharing your heart here with us...it's beautiful.

Many blessings to you!
In His Love,
Camille

joelle said...

Christine, you have no idea how reading your comment today and visiting you and read this post was exactly what I needed today. You are such a great friend. I have been struggling with this yet again these past few weeks and more specifically yesterday. I sooooooo need to learn to depend on Him and deny himself fully. My husband is sucha great example in from of my eyes and yet I struggle so much with this. It is so easy to know it all in our head (specially for us reformed ) and yet be so far in practice. Thanks and thanks again for a plain straight to the point post on this topic of relying on God's strength. I think it was really God encouraging me through you. Now unto my Bible . . .
I'll await your e-mail. Have a great day.