Tag Archives: Strength for weakness

Confessions of a Weakling

Sometimes I get so down on myself that I think God must be really disappointed. My human limitations and weaknesses are just overwhelming to the point I can’t imagine he would be anything but upset with me. Yet, this is not what scripture tells me. Hebrews 4:15 tells me that Jesus understands our weaknesses. In 2 Cor. 12, Paul talks about delighting in his weaknesses, because when he is weak, then he is strong. It doesn’t seem to make any sense in human terms, but it seems that our human limitations are part of God’s way of keeping us humble and dependent on him. The Lord delights in us, and rewards the humble with his salvation and deliverance (Ps. 149:4). I think it would be a lot harder to be humble if I were strong on my own.

So as I sit here day by day moaning and groaning about my shortcomings, I realize should be glorying in them instead, knowing that they are part of his good plan to teach me to cling to him. These weaknesses only become become a problem when 1) I don’t recognize them, or 2) when I make them bigger than God. My tendency is to do the latter, so I have to learn to stop the self-condemnation and use them as motivation to run to him. I need to remember that scripture is filled with flawed people who were used mightily by God. They didn’t suddenly become strong one day, and move into ministry. Instead, their weaknesses were evident even in the midst of their their service. When called by God, Moses argued that he was too flawed, as did Gideon. Elijah panicked and ran off in fear after calling down fire from heaven and defeating the prophets of Baal. David committed adultery and murder, yet repented, and was called a man after God’s own heart. Paul spoke of a thorn in the flesh that God would not take away so that he would not become conceited about the revelations he had received. When he asked God to take away that thorn, God’s response was “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). Paul went on to say that he would boast in his weaknesses, because they were part of God’s good plan.

I have to admit I haven’t learned to boast in my weaknesses yet. Even worse, I imagine that’s probably a pride issue. As much as I’d like to think I’ve overcome all vestiges of ego, I don’t think it will ever leave me completely on this side of heaven. As I sit here contemplating my frailties, and my tendency to beat myself up, I recognize that it’s because I realize that I am not enough. I am not a spiritual giant. When people look to you for guidance, it’s easy to see yourself as some sort of authority or fount of wisdom. The truth is that without him we are nothing, and can do nothing (Jn. 15:5), and that is the reason weaknesses are good. They remind us that it is his strength, and not our own, that is as necessary as breath. I can glory in my weakness, because I realize it drives me to depend on the One who made and loves me.

It really is a wonderful thing that I am not enough! It is wonderful, because if I can receive that truth humbly, it drives me to complete and utter dependence on him. When I am weak, then I am strong, but when I abide in him nothing is impossible (Jn. 15:7). It unleashes his power, and miracles begin to happen. So today, I choose to glory in my limitations and frailties. I will move my focus from self to God, and I know that there I will find the power to overcome all obstacles.

 Oh dear Lord, thank you so much for being faithful even when I fail. Thank you for using my weakness to drive me to my knees in desperation. I need you more than anything! I was created to cling to you (Jer. 33:11). Help me to see that dependence as a good thing, and do not to let me pride tell me otherwise. Lord I truly do “need Thee every hour!” Bless me now as I come to you. Amen

Tapping the Power Source

Lord, I am just a mess. It seems like I have developed technology-induced ADD in my old age. My mind won’t stop wandering, and too much of that is tied to worry. I know better! There is no excuse for allowing myself to entertain worry. I know the answer, and though the spirit is willing, the flesh is surely weak. I need your help! It seemed so much easier to turn to You in my moments of need when I was a younger Believer, or even during times of major crisis. Right now it’s just a matter of dealing with the challenge of stepping out on faith and feeling like maybe I missed You. I find myself doubting my calling. I know the answer is to stop and spend time in your presence, but the concerns of this world just seem to be screaming at me. They can be all consuming. However, I don’t want them to be! I want to be consumed with You!!!! And I believe that if I could quiet my anxious soul long enough, and enter your presence more regularly; You would guide my footsteps to handle earthly concerns better. I need to stop allowing them to hold me down.

It’s so hard living in this world! It’s a constant struggle. I imagine You allow these struggles to keep me dependent on You, and I know I need to stop looking at other people wishing I could have the ease and blessings they seem to have. Forgive me for that. I only want what You have for me. I have this vision I thought You put in my heart, but with all the responsibilities weighing on me I can’t see it happening. Sometimes I think that maybe I am just going in the wrong direction altogether.  Show me Lord! I am willing to walk away from my endeavors. I don’t want to be wasting time! It is too precious! I want to walk in what You have for me, not some pipe dream I manufactured. Everything is so difficult right now. Nothing is falling into place, so all I can say is that I need for You to show me if I am working against You. I’m really clueless as to what other direction I could take. So Father, I ask You to help me to make the most of my time. Help me to dwell in your presence, and to be directed by your Spirit. Only You can direct my steps so that I’m not spinning my wheels. Teach me Lord, and in spite of me, use me! Don’t let me get so caught up in worldly responsibilities that I fail to live each moment for your kingdom purposes. Help me to find the balance I need! Lord, I am desperate! Please come and overcome me with your Spirit! I give You permission, I invite You. Please don’t leave this to me. I am so stuck without divine intervention! Come now Lord Jesus! Amen

Dear child, striving in your own power will only keep you trapped. It is not by your might or power, but by my Spirit that this mountain will be overcome (Zec. 4:6). You can not muster it up. When the disciples received the Holy Spirit they were waiting on Me. Can you wait one hour with Me? You live in a society that thrives on instant gratification, but that is not my way. I have promised that if you seek Me, you will find Me– when you seek Me with all of your heart (Jer. 29:13). This means that though you have to live in and toil in this world, you must not allow any of your worldly pursuits steal your affections from Me. Empty yourself daily before Me, and see what I will do. I can only fill vessels that have been emptied. Release your desires to Me. Surrender them all to Me dear child. I am able to use all you entrust to Me for your good. I will release my power in your life when you release everything to Me– every care, every concern, and every desire. Let them all go dear child, and I will meet you there. I will empower you with my Spirit. In your weakness, run to my loving arms and rest in the warmth of my embrace. That is where you will find the strength you need. There is immeasurable power in my love.

Let go of the things the world sees as important, and realize I treasure you, not what you have to offer. Abide in my love, because that is what is most important. Yes, I know you share my values, but still the world has more influence than you realize. You have not completely overcome the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride of life (1 Jn. 2:16). These refining fires are intended to help you see that. Trust in my loving plan dear one. I will not disappoint you. You have a glorious inheritance in Me, and I have made the immeasurable greatness of my power available to you. It is the same power that raised Christ from the dead (Ep. 1:19-20). Surely, it it sufficient to overcome these temporary problems. I will never leave or forsake you, so trust in Me, abide in Me, and let Me carry those burdens. In finding that place of quietness and trust, you will find your strength (Is. 30:15). 

“It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses…” (Acts1:7-8).Who will you compare Me to, or who is My equal?” asks the Holy One. Look up and see: who created these? He brings out the starry host by number; He calls all of them by name. Because of His great power and strength, not one of them is missing. Why do you say, and why do you assert: “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my claim is ignored by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless. Youths may faint and grow weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint. (Is. 40:26-31)

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (Jn. 15:4-5)

 Ascribe strength to God; His majesty is over Israel and His strength is in the skies. O God, You are awesome from Your sanctuary. The God of Israel Himself gives strength and power to the people. Blessed be God! (Ps. 68:34-35)

Running the Race

Lord, time truly flies. I know that it won’t be long before I am standing in your presence. That is why I cannot grieve long over those who have gone ahead of me. I miss them, but know that they are free from the struggles of this earth and would never want them back here. I will see them in the blink of an eye, and I know that all that counts on this side of eternity are the eternal things—loving You and loving people. Yet, I feel that I am not consistent in anything. Life gets in the way of my best intentions, and though I desire to put You first, the constant demands of life tend to drown out the eternal. I know that much of the problem is just me. Scripture tells me to love You with all of my heart, soul, and strength. That last word hits home as I think about my weak attempts at physical strength training. I may get to the gym once or twice a week, and when I do there’s really no plan. I run back and forth in the water, and use the resistance weights on and off, but there’s no real strategy to achieve my goal. In fact, I don’t even set goals. I see the same problem across the board—from physical exercise, to work, to personal life, to spiritual life. I build no strength, because I lack the self-discipline and consistency needed to build it.

Athletes are consistent. I am consistent with nothing. It takes so little to get me off track. It doesn’t help that my schedule changes from day to day, but that was my choice—a choice that fits my impulsive personality. I hate routine, but it’s quite apparent I need it. Paul often compared the Christian life to competing in an athletic competition. “Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore, I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:25-27). Every day of my life feels like an exercise in futility—like beating the air. I call it spinning my wheels. Lord, please help me overcome myself! Help me run with endurance the race set before me, and help me to see the goal! Actually, Hebrews 12:2 tells me I should run it by keeping my eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of my faith. I must look at his example of endurance, and his determination to finish the work the Father sent him to accomplish. Make me resolute Lord. Strengthen me in this weakness of mine, and teach me how to overcome my inconsistent nature. I surrender it to You now. I am desperate for your help! Amen

My child, you did get some athletic training when you were growing up. Remember how you couldn’t wait for baseball season? You practiced every chance you could, because you loved it. The same was true of tennis. Yes, it required self-discipline, but it was born out of a love for the games. Keep that in mind, or you will quickly become legalistic. Everything you do must be born out of love. You must run towards Me, and I will give you the strength you need. I did not make you a “type A” personality, and I intend to use you with the gifts and strengths I have given you. Yes, you must “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God,” but in order to do that you must have Me in your sights. You need only make yourself available to Me consistently. I do not ask for more than that. Do not turn this into a list of requirements, or you will fail very quickly. Run the race because you love Me, and because you love people. Set your goals with that love in mind. Even your physical exercise should be born out of love for Me, and a desire to honor Me in all you do. Make the time and I will do the rest. This means you cannot give in to every demand life throws your way. You must make choices, but that is easy when your priorities are correct. The real battle is choosing what is most important. Put Me first, and everything else will fall in place. I will bring order as you run towards Me. 

The Road to Victory is Paved with Intentional Living

Lord, here I am– one foot in victory, and the other in defeat. Unless I am intentional, I know which way the day will go. I long to walk in a way that pleases You—that is where I find peace and joy beyond human comprehension. So why in the world do I ever allow myself to drift off onto the path of least resistance? I constantly disappoint myself, yet I sense your grace and mercy over my weaknesses. You are so much more patient than I am, and though You have the right to condemn, You choose to encourage instead. Thank You for meeting me here and enabling me to find victory over myself. Thank You so much for your willingness to use imperfect and needy vessels. I stay amazed by that. Right now, I yield myself, and ask You to help me stay yielded. Gently remind me of the power that is mine when I get overwhelmed by life today. Help me rest in You in the midst of turmoil. Thank You so much for your incredible love!

 The mustard seed is the smallest of all seeds, yet when planted it becomes the largest plant in the garden (Mk. 4:31). Give me what little you have, and let Me cause the growth. I am working in ways you cannot see, and you must always remember leave the outcome to Me. My grace is sufficient, and I am infinitely merciful, yet I call you to be holy. That means you are to be set apart from the madness of this world, even though you are in the world you are not of it (Jn. 15:19). I know how easy it is for your mind to dwell on the temporary, earthly things rather than the eternal, unseen things (2 Cor. 4:17), and I am telling you that you must make every effort to resist that tendency. Freedom comes from discipline, so discipline your mind and heart. Cast down every imagination that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and take your thoughts captive to be obedient to Me (2 Cor. 10:5). Right now, you are allowing worry to take root, as if you don’t think I will take care of that situation. Let go of it. Give it to Me, for as long as you hold on, I will not take it by force. I see the one you see as hopeless, and I am here to tell you that there is always hope in Me. Put that loved one in my hands. You have no power to change anything, and any efforts you make to help will not be helpful. Your best course of action is prayer and surrender. Leave this child in my hands, and trust Me for the outcome. Do I need to remind you of all the miracles you have seen firsthand in your own life and in the lives of others you used to worry about? Surrender this one to Me my child. I am in control. I am able, and I see. Let your burdens become my burdens, and find rest for your weary soul. Refuse to meditate on worrisome thoughts, and choose to praise Me instead. I inhabit the praises of my children (Ps. 22:3), and miracles happen in my presence. Praise instead of worrying, stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf (2 Ch. 20:17). I am mighty and this battle is mine, so do not try to take my place by carrying a burden that is too heavy for you. Let go. I have it in my competent hands.



Beyond My Expectations

Lord, I don’t know why it surprises me that You rarely work in ways I expect. I think I have it all figured out, but find that You have a completely different plan. I suppose it’s another way of keeping me dependent on You. When I barge ahead in my own strength, it’s like listening to a radio that is losing its signal, but when I abide in You the difference is amazing—it’s like a symphony. Give me ears to hear You today, so that I can share Your beauty in the midst of despair. There is so much ugliness on this earth Lord. I only see small fragments of it, but You see it all and I marvel at your patience with us. If I were in your place, I would have probably brought an end to it by now, but You are “not slow in keeping your promise, as some understand slowness. Instead [You] are patient… not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). Your love for this dark world amazes me. I know that my impatience with people is just because they put a kink in my desires, but your agenda is never self-serving like that.  It is completely loving and giving. Thank You so much for your kindness towards us!

“For God so loved the world that He gave…” Abide in me daughter, and I will teach you to give. Yes, your human nature is selfish to the core, but I have given you a new nature. Open your heart and your ears, and I will use you. I put my Spirit into jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to Me, and not to you (2 Cor. 4:7). If it were your own power, how could that draw anyone to Me? Delight in the fact that I give strength to the weak. You have something to offer the world, because everyone needs strength in their weakness. Show them that it is not you, but Me. Let them know that the mighty One, the Lord of hosts stoops down and embraces his creation daily. Show them my power to redeem a life, and never let them think the power is yours. Point to Me, and I will do mighty things. I oppose the proud, but give grace to the humble. Walk humbly before me so that my love and power can be manifested.