“I love you, Lord; you are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” Psalm 18:1–2
“be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”
When I opened my emails yesterday I found a nice surprise; a voucher for an ebook of my choice from a well known online supplier.
In the email was a list of suggested titles the supplier thought I might be interested in, so I had a little scroll through. The title of one ebook caught my eye and I clicked on it. It wasn’t at all what I had been expecting. Written by a secular author, it had somehow ended up in the Christian books section. Below is a synopsis of the book (with the title left out for obvious reasons)
“Your success, fulfillment, satisfaction, and destiny await you on the other side of your struggles, fears, setbacks, and disappointments. In the same way that a diamond is brought to beauty through immense stress, your true strength of character, worth, and value are found by embracing the prospering power inherent in your problems.
You are tougher than your tough times.”
And what’s wrong with this statement? One might ask. It’s very positive and encouraging. It’s about overcoming fears and setbacks, it’s about personal growth and ‘fulfilment of destiny.’
Well, all I can say is that as I read this statement, something just doesn’t ring true. It doesn’t quite “hit the bullseye”.
“It’s all about me”
That whole synopsis shouts “you are tough, you have the strength and character hidden inside, that you just have to search for in times of stress and somehow the ‘big strong’ you will burst through like some sort of superhero and save the day!”
(It makes me think of ‘The Incredible Hulk’)
The Bible tells me the opposite.
The Bible, God’s written Word – His instruction manual for my life, tells me that in my weakness, He, God, is my strength – not my “inner self”
It’s all about Jesus!
If it really were true that I had to face life on my own, struggle through hard times myself and somehow try to dig down and find the strength within myself to get through, I might as well give up right now! But the good news is, you and I were never meant to go it alone.
The Apostle Paul faced some immensely hard times, including a very personal struggle: 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 “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. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
God alone is our our source of power and strength. This is also made clear in Ephesians 6:10-20
The very same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you and I (Romans 8:11) and empowers us to live from day to day. I don’t have to try to do it on my own. I don’t have to look inside myself to find strength, I just need to lift my eyes and look to The Lord my God, who strengthens me!
Psalm 18 is a beautiful picture of God’s rescuing love and enabling strength. David says “In my distress I cried out to the Lord; I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my reached his ears. He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me. They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress, but the Lord supported me. He led me to a place of safety; he rescued me because he delights in me.” (verses 6, 16-19)
Here are just a few of the the many verses in scripture that describe how God’s power enables us:
“The Sovereign Lord is my strength, he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”
1 John 4:4
Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
“Awesome is God from his sanctuary; the God of Israel—he is the one who gives power and strength to his people.” Psalm 68:35
God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great. Psalm 18:31-33,35
He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. 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 40:29-31
The truth is that whatever today or tomorrow might hold for you, The Lord your God has enabled and equipped you to stand strong and face it; with Him!
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