Not our own…

August 25th, 2019

The two-year-old fumbles with putting the items back on the shelf where he took them down to play with them. Mother watching over him with a slight look of disapproval, yet pleasure. Despite getting into things on the shelf, the boy correctly had remorse for what he’d done, he had come to the point of harmony with what his mother had instructed him to do, and now was attempting to correct the problem.

That is a simple form of repentance. In contrast to us, when we have behaved outside the instruction we’ve received from the Lord, and yet, we persist in doing that thing. An even more common occurrence is where we attempt to make right what we have done wrong. Daddy God reaches in to help us put things back as they should be, we respond with “No daddy, I can do this!”

See, we didn’t have to learn this stubborn streak of independence. It’s there from birth, just as a child tells their mother, ‘I can do it mommy!’, we grow into adulthood and even followers of Jesus and still are telling Him, we would prefer to do it in our own strength rather than rely on Him.

The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory. This is my God, and I will praise him — my father’s God, and I will exalt him!

Exodus 15:2 (NLT)

In our own strength we have limitations, what little strength God gives us is the result of His intent and desire that we use that strength at the time and in the manner that the Lord so directs us. But most importantly that we use that strength and ability to ‘exalt him!

Despite our understanding that God is in control, has our best interest at heart, a plan for us, and the ultimate means to accomplish it through us; we constantly find we are like that young child, running ahead.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary.
They will walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31 (NLT)

The Lord should always be our first resource. As soon as we step out ahead of Him, we effectively are saying, “God, I believe I can do better at this than you can.” We do not have the strength, the understanding, or the wherewithal to accomplish all that we determine we want to do, let alone anticipate God’s will and intent.

The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death.

2 Timothy 4:16-17 (NLT)

Paul is writing to Timothy; in this letter he tells him when he was put before the court, he had no one on his side. Everyone had abandoned him and there was nothing but the Lord and him.

If you consider what we are talking about, God has put Paul right where he wants him to be. Totally subject to the Lord’s intervention, mercy and strength. Under Paul’s power all was lost and he almost certainly faced death; short of divine intervention.

Resulting in the Lord standing with him and giving him “strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear.” God’s plan. God’s power. Diverting strength through weakness and hopelessness, to victory.

We may not always agree with where God is coming from with His plans, but they assuredly will result in good, because He has promised that all things work together for our good.

Paul obviously didn’t agree with God’s decision regarding his infirmity (thorn in the flesh).

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (NLT)

We must always be prepared, just as Paul was to accept no for an answer, because God has a bigger plan, a better plan. He absolutely wants us in a position where he can demonstrate his power through our weakness.

Not running ahead, off in our own direction, to do that which we think ‘should be’ the will of God. We don’t have God’s mind nor intellect. Yes, we are all growing to a greater and greater maturity in Jesus, but that doesn’t mean we have his brain cloned to our own. Not yet, not ever.

We need not rely on our own “Strength”, but His!

In His Grace!

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