Not Our Strength, But the Lord’s
By: Betsy St. Amant Haddox
For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness. For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. - Psalm 18:28-29 (ESV)
I’ve always loved these verses in Psalm 18. They make me feel powerful because I know through the Holy Spirit, God equips me to be strong in Him. I can leap walls! I can run against a troop! While these examples aren’t necessarily directly relatable to today’s culture, we get the gist of what the psalmist is expressing. We are powerful in the Lord. When our hearts are right with Him, we feel like anything is possible.
Without Christ, though, I am nothing. I am weak. I am helpless. My own strength, be it physical, mental, or emotional, simply doesn’t last. Think about the last time you ran a marathon, went through a rigorous workout, or climbed a steep hill. We often start out feeling capable, right? Our blood is pumping, and we feel our muscles working to carry us through the race or to accomplish the tough physical goal. But at some point, during or after we achieve it, we’re exhausted. We want a nap and a big plate of carbs. We can’t sustain that level of energy for long without having to recharge and replenish our bodies.
The same goes for our spiritual life. When we start our day with a to-do list and social media instead of with the Lord, our strength will burn out—fast. We think we can be productive and conquer the day, and for a little while, we might deceive ourselves into thinking we did exactly that. But after a few hours go by, we realize we’re impatient. Irritable. We get aggravated and frustrated at little things, we snap at our families, and we lose it when we’re interrupted. Those are all signs that we’re working through our own strength, and not the Holy Spirit’s.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul talks about being content in all circumstances for the sake of Christ. He wrote, “for when I am weak, then I am strong”. This isn’t just a poetic turn of phrase. He means when we are weak, the Lord is strong in and through us. Our weakness only serves to give God glory. We don’t have to be ashamed or embarrassed in our lack of strength. It gives God joy to be strong for us.
For example—think how much a husband delights in being able to open a tightly sealed jar for his wife, mother, or daughter. He doesn’t mock her for not being able to do it herself (though there might be some lighthearted teasing!) He’s happy to do what she can’t. He finds joy in being strong for her. How much more does the Lord receive glory for being strong for us? Our frail flesh, our depraved hearts, and our struggles with sin and temptations are no match for His strength and ability to overcome through us, in us, and for us.
This is how it’s meant to be. It’s how God designed it. Because when we are capable on our own, we get prideful—quick. When we can do it all ourselves, we lose humility. Being constantly aware of our need for the Lord is what bears genuine fruit of the Spirit in our lives—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
The next time you’re tempted to skip your morning prayer and Bible time with the Lord, think twice. Remember you’ll get more done in Him than you will on your own—and your heart will be more at peace during the chaos of your day.
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of more than fifteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her hero of a hubby, two total-opposite young daughters, a vast collection of coffee mugs, and an impressive stash of Pickle chips. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she’s not sweating it out at Camp Gladiator or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha—no whip. Look for her latest novel with Revell, The Key To Love, coming October 2020. Visit her at http://www.betsystamant.com.
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