Friday, July 30, 2010

A Snapshot of Real Spiritual Strength

Welcome P31 subscribers and blogger friends! Thanks so much for dropping by today.

The topic of todays P31 devotion, was finding strength, when we feel powerless. When we feel weak, and without the strength to make a difference in difficult situations in our lives.

The term "weakness" can actually be a confusing topic, because it can mean different things for different people, and it can present itself in many forms.

Weakness can be a lack of physical strength, from extreme fatigue and stress, or the sheer inability to do the everyday things that most of us take for granted.

Weakness can be a lack of emotional strength, such as the inability to control harmful emotions like fear, selfishness, depression, judging others, pride or maybe even a lack of confidence.

Weakness can be also be a lack of spiritual strength, where we feel distant from God, and void of any infusion of power from God to face our adversities.

Regardless of what type of weakness we may be experiencing, the results can be identical.

Maybe you are facing extreme tragedy and severe hardships today, hanging at the end of your rope - and you feel physically, emotionally and spiritually spent.

Maybe you have been fighting against a sin in your life, but you cant seem to break the stronghold that it has over you - and you feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually spent.

Maybe you have just been experiencing a lot of little discouragements lately, that altogether, make you feel a little blue. Everything seems to be going wrong, instead of right - and you feel physically, emotionally, spiritually spent.

Maybe nothing is specifically wrong today, but you just dont seem to have the same zeal and enthusiasm as you once did. You try to be strong in your faith, but you seem to have lost the passion you once had for the Lord - and as a result, you feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually spent.

It would be so awesome if we could ask God for strength, and immediately feel an electrical infusion of spirituality and become instantly empowered with new gusto and energy and unshakable faith to face the days ahead.

And this could certainly happen, if God chose to act in that way. However, most of the time, our strength is going to come from persistent communication with God, and from walking with Him through the easy stuff, and the hard stuff, just as I mentioned in todays P31 devotion.

The kind of strength we need - that spiritual infusion of power- comes from a daily devotion to the principles of God, so much so that we practice and live out those truths in our every day lives. It is this constant connection with God, that will enable us to feel close to Him, transformed through Him, and empowered because of Him.

So what does spiritual strength look like? I will venture to say that most of us, when we think of strength from an earthly perspective, may think of muscles, and envision body builders or buff athletes in superior shape. Or we may think of a powerful executive, or someone who never seems to cave under pressure.

But in Gods opinion, I feel pretty sure that He would not consider those to be accurate pictures of real strength at all.

I began to wonder, that if God had a camera, and could take pictures of people who were pillars of strength, what types of snapshots would He take? Hmmmmm.....

I can imagine Him seeing a mother on her knees every day, pouring out her heart to her and asking Him to protect and watch over her family- and taking her picture.

I can imagine that God might take a shot of a man in a blue power suit in a high rise office, standing up for ethics and integrity in the workplace even when there may negative consequences to his career - and taking his picture.

... a pastor in the pulpit, or on a street corner, encouraging anyone within earshot of Gods grace and love for them;

... a couple staring at the smoldering remnants of their home, and praying for God to provide for them in the coming days, while believing that He will do just that;

... a teenager deciding not to give in to peer pressure, by relying on the standards for righteous living that they have read about in Gods Word;

... a couple working hard on forgiving each other, just as Christs forgave them, as they work on the difficulties in their marriage.

... a man fighting his temptation to view pornography, by spending time in Gods Word and praying for God to help him focus his thoughts on things that would please God;

... a divorced woman surrendering her anger and bitterness towards her ex-husband, and discovering a peace and joy that she had not felt before;

... a man who loves his family, working his fingers to the bone, and trusting Gods will, even though the bad economy has caused worry and financial hardship.

These are merely a few ideas of "snapshots" that came to my mind, but the real pictures of spiritual strength that God could give would be infinite.

Ive always heard the saying that if God had a refrigerator, our pictures would be on it. He loves us, His children, that much.

And how wonderful to remember that God doesnt love us any less when we feel spent, tired, fatigued, and drained.

He doesnt love us any less when we feel weak and hopeless.

He doesnt love us any less when we do not seem to have any form of strength at all - physically, emotionally or spiritually - because then, He knows we are desperate for His intervention, and primed and ready for His strength to take over.

In 2 Samuel 22, David is singing a song of praise to the Lord, because He delivered him from his enemies. But I find it interesting that before the Lord came to his rescue, David asked to be rescued:

2 Samuel 22:7 In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.

Then we see in 2 Samuel 22:33, that David thanks God for Gods rescue:

2 Samuel 22:33 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.

David faced more adversity than we would want to shake a stick at, but he remained strong in his faith, and in his God.

Sometimes we may feel like we are running a close second to David in the race for the worst adversity; and in our state of feeling of physically, emotionally and spiritually spent. Life can be tough, and it often makes us feel weak.

I cant help but wonder, if God really did have a camera, and really was creating a heavenly photo album of pictures of spiritual strength, would He take a snapshot of me? Would he take a snapshot of you?

Hmmmmm. This thought made me really do some deep reflection. But regardless of how weak we may feel, while we are here on earth, we can strive every day for spiritual strength every day - through prayer and devotion and commitment and passion for the Lord. And in His timing and through His will, we can become strong.

Strength is available for each one of us. All we have to do is ask, and we will receive. When we seek His rescue, like David did, God first provides the strength to persevere, then He provides the rescue. When we are rescued, our strength resumes.

If you need strength today, and Gods power to continue on, then give Davids method a try. Pray earnestly for God to intervene, let Him know how you feel and what you need. Seek His rescue. And expect to be strengthened.

We can be made strong in our weaknesses, through the strength of Christ within us.

2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Exodus 15:2 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him.

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Anonymous said...

Hello Tracie, I want to thank you for the devotional today, your insight and for allowing God to use you! I needed to hear all of that. I have had so many struggles in the past 3 years and that is how I can only make it, with God's strength and some days I struggle to give it ALL to Him and be obedient. Blessings to you and you are in my prayers and I would certainly covet yours!


Julie Coleman said...

Your crosswalk devotional left me a bit confused. Are you saying our strength really comes from obedience? If so, then the burden to earn strength is on our shoulders. Not according to Paul, who quotes Jesus as saying "My GRACE [undeserved merit!]is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness."

Be careful-- readers can misunderstand that it is all about them and what they need to do. I think you made yourself clearer in this blog, but many Crosswalk readers will never click over to the site.

I've just heard so many women who struggle with guilt thinking God can't bless them because they are not trying hard enough. Our rest is in God alone. When the focus becomes about what we are doing, our eyes leave the Savior and focus on ourselves. And we are back to earning the love of God.

"My yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Julie Coleman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tammi said...

Thanks Tracie. I was just thinking of David yesterday, when I was reading in II Sam. 22. I was thinking about the adversity David endured, sometimes stumbling because of his weakness--and yet God uses David's life to be an example to us today--David's repentance, reaching out to God, praising God for Who He is, and seeking to do God's will kept David "a man after God's own heart." I think strength is reflected in our humility when we fall to our knees and beg for His help and strength to refill us by the power of His Holy Spirit. I'm so thankful He knows we have this treasure of salvation in leaky vessels! Aren't you?
Thanks for these thoughts to grow on.

Anonymous said...

We have to acknowledge our weakness, we have to recognize them as deterrants, and seek his strength.

I thank you for your insight and timely words. When we experience this we know just how wonderful it is to rest in the arms of a loving, forgiving Father, and to feel His strength. "Tis so Sweet to Trust..."

When we find that peace, we really see the termoil that we have left

It is not easy but we know that it is possible to get through.


Pamela (His maidservant) said...

Absolutely loved this devotional!! Gave me some verses to add to my memory spiral booklet too. There is so much to be found in obedience to God and I thank you have conveyed it well here (coming from someone who has been on both sides-obedience and disobedience)!!

Believing Him...Experiencing Him~Pamela

Emily Painter-Davis said...

Meanwhile, I meant to leave my comment on this post, but I left it on the next one.
Basically what I said is that I have felt weak and lonely lately for many reasons.
I am so happy you wrote the Proverbs 31 devotional and the post here as well.