July 30, 2010
The Source of Our Strength
"I can do everything through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
When we arrived at her hospital room she was in the bed, looking very weak and frail. I fought back the tears as I watched her lie there, helpless to beat the disease that had waged war on her body. I found myself wanting to do something for her, but there was nothing I could do except wish to the depths of my heart that I could infuse her with the strength she needed to carry on.
But my strength held no power for her.
Later that day, I looked to God's Word for comfort. I came across some verses that seeped into the little cracks in my heart that so needed to be filled with something sweet of God. Those verses were Deuteronomy 11:8-9, "Therefore, be careful to obey every command I am giving you today, so you may have strength to go in and take over the land you are about to enter. If you obey, you will enjoy a long life in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors and to you, their descendants..." (NLT).
In this passage, through the mouth of Moses, the Lord instructs the Israelites about their soon-to-be entrance into the Promised Land. He reminds them of all the miracles and amazing things that happened during their journey. Based on their history of disobedient actions, God knew they were easily tempted and distracted - which caused them to lose spiritual strength.
Here in Deuteronomy, we find the Lord warning the Israelites about losing sight of their priorities. He reminds them that the only place they will find the strength to enter into what He had promised was through obedience to Him. The Lord also wanted them to understand that their strength could not come from merely desiring to be good, simply believing He exists, or by carrying out rituals or sacrifices in His honor. It would result from obedience to Him and His words. In fact, in verse 18 the Lord says, "So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine" (NLT). They drew their strength from full and wholehearted obedience to the Lord's commands.
God also wants us to understand the importance of obediently walking with Him every day. He desires that we obey Him in the big things, but also in the small daily things. In doing so, He infuses us with spiritual strength. That strength equips us to handle the tough situations which we feel are far beyond our human level of strength, regardless of whether we are in a hospital bed or standing beside one.
This daily obedience is where we find emotional strength to walk in His peace when we face doubts and fears; strength to walk in His joy when we cannot find any reason to be joyful; strength to stand firm in our faith when things seem hopeless; and strength to be strong when the painful things of life take their toll.
Whether we need strength to comfort a loved one who is hurting or strength to overcome an adversity of our own, a life focused on obedience to God taps into the strength we need to carry on.
Each time we get out of bed we have a choice to make - where will our strength come from to face the day ahead? Will we rely on ourselves or will we rely on God?
Even if our physical weakness is a reality, we can be spiritually strong by keeping our hearts focused on the only true source of unending strength.
Dear Lord, please hold me up today. Give me strength. Help me to lean on You. I am tired and weak and need Your strength today to face these hard situations and the pain in my heart. Draw me closer to You in the midst of this. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
The Wonder of His Love: A Journey into the Heart of God by Nancy Stafford
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31 Days of Power: Learning to Live in Spiritual Victory by Ruth and Warren Myers
If you have been trying to walk through your life in your own strength, confess this to God and ask Him for His strength. Admit that you cannot carry life's burden on your own and lay those things at the foot of the cross.
Have I been trying to live life in my own strength?
Are there days when I am focused on what I cannot do, instead of focused on what God can do?
Matthew 11:30, "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (NIV)
1 Chronicles 16:11, 18, "Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always…So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine." (NIV)
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