Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Strength of the Lord

"For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him…"
2 Chronicles 16:9

So often when I am struggling and need God the most, I find myself pulling away from Him. I have realized that it is important for me to remember that God is still God no matter what my circumstances are in the moment. He is still sovereign even in the midst of chaos and confusion. He is still love me when I blow it or when others reject me. He is still the Savior and His blood still cleanses me when I stumble and feel dirty. He is still all powerful, when my situations seem insurmountable and I feel so powerless. In fact, when I feel the most unlovable, undeserving, and confused is when I need to be sure to continue to look to Christ! For God is continually looking for committed people to strengthen.

I looked up the word "strengthen" in the New Testament to see how and in what ways God strengthens us. The first passage I found was Ephesians 3:16-19. Paul says that he prayed that Christ would strengthen us in the deepest parts of our hearts through His Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit can give us the power to grasp how deep the love of God is. Through knowing the love of God we would then be filled with the fullness of God…in other words bear the fruit of His Spirit which is love, joy, patience, kindness, etc. I have tried to figure out why we need to be strengthened to know His love and come up with only two possible explanations. The first is that God's love is so pure and passionate and deep that without God's help I will never understand it nor be able to demonstrate it to others without His strength. The second is that God has told us that we will suffer because Christ suffered. As we face different situations similar to what Christ faced, we will begin to understand His love at deeper levels as we choose to love during the most difficult times. Christ chose to suffer physically, emotionally, and spiritually for us. Physically…He faced great pain when He was beaten and hung on a cross . Emotionally…He wept and experienced emotions that come with rejection, being misunderstood, and falsely accused. He also faced the painful grief due to sin and broken relationships. Spiritually…He bore the Father's wrath for our sin and felt the same feelings we feel in sin and failure as our sin was laid on Him. He chose to face all these different realms of suffering to demonstrate His great love for us. I can’t help but think I will need His strength to face those situations that provide that the opportunity to love like Him.

Another passage I found was Colossians 1:10-11. Paul says that he prays that we will live a life worthy of the Lord and will bear fruit in every good work. He also prays that we will grow in the knowledge of God and be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that we will have great endurance and patience and joyfully give thanks to the Father. He strengthens us with the same power that overcame death so that we can endure the Christian life with patience and joy! If we are at a place that we want to give up on our walk with the Lord that is when it is the most important that we stay fully committed, because that is when HE WILL STENGTHEN US! In and of ourselves we don't have it in us to be patient and endure in the lonely, stressful, or painful times. However, if we simply stay fully devoted to Him He will strengthen us so that we bear fruit, endure, and joyfully sing no matter what comes our way.

In Philippians 4:11-13 Paul said he learned to be content in all circumstances whether he was well fed or hunger, had plenty or had wants…that he could do everything through Christ who strengthened him. God will use circumstances to teach us to be content in Him and to put us in that place of depending fully on Him. If we have physical needs we can learn a lot about His provision if we take those needs to Him. If we have emotional needs we can learn a great deal about God as we allow Him to meet those needs. If we have Spiritual needs He will satisfy those if we remain fully committed to Him.

Lastly in 2 Corinthians 12:15 Paul said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I think the biggest battle we face with the enemy is that in our weakness we draw away from Christ because we believe the enemy’s lies. The enemy wants us to believe that because we are weak, the Lord could be tired of us, disappointed in us, or we are unworthy of His fellowship, but this verse makes it clear that it is in our weaknesses that Christ's power is the most fully demonstrated. The encouragement and exhortation for today is that no matter where we are at in our walk with the Lord is to guard our heart and keep it fully committed to Him. He will strengthen us with knowledge, with power, and with love through His Holy Spirit. Remember it is in our weaknesses, our most stressful times, and in our deepest pain that His work, His Character, and His love will have the opportunity to shine through us. The question of the day is how strong is our commitment to the one who desires to strengthen us in the deepest parts of or hearts.

Prayer: Father, thank you for searching us out and promising to strengthen us when our hearts are fully committed to you. Help us to refute the lies of the enemy and to cling to you when it is the most difficult to do so. Thank you for the promise of strengthening us…help us to cling to your promise and to wait on you for the strength that we need to live lives that honor and glorify you. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Several years ago I realized that I often sped through my Scripture reading and gave it little thought. Yet, when I had meaningful conversations with friends or family members I replayed them over and over in my head. One day it occurred to me, that if I thought more about what God says in his word that I would not only know more about Him, but I would come to know Him in a personal way. I would know more about His thoughts, His character, His intentions, His passions, and His actions. So, I began to take one verse at a time and think on it and then journal about it. At the time I was served as a volunteer in youth ministry and shared my “Thoughts on God” with those girls. For a while I have been rewriting and posting them on this blog. I have realized when I am in the Word or move through my day focusing on God's presence that I have wonderful opportunities to Meet God in the Everyday. The Everyday can include storms, blessings, hard things, scary things, exciting things...just any where, anyplace, any time. I hope that you will be able to engage with what I write with both your head and your heart. I also hope you will be challenged to love, trust, and know the God of the Scriptures. It is my prayer that as you read you will experience Him at a deeper level and share pieces of your journey in the comments. It is my desire that we form a safe community of believers who pursue the God who loves us radically, eternally, and without reserve. As a precious pastor once told me, "Don't forget, Wendy, God is Good!" I find myself compelled by His Goodness and His Love to share so others can know Him through all the ups and downs of life. Please feel free to dialogue back and to share how each passage impacts you. If if there is a passage you would like me to write on or if you would like to be a guest blogger, please let me know. I am just learning to navigate this blog and appreciate the kind comments you have made in the past...I promise I will even try to respond if you leave a note. If you are blessed please share the blog with friends!