Devotional – Real Strength

Ephesians 6:10  Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

“Teaching you would be simple if I negated your free will or overwhelmed you with My Power” – Sarah Young from “Jesus Calling”

I never really thought about it like that before. That God’s classroom of life would be much more simple if He just BOOM – made us understand. Sometimes I feel frustrated with my three-year old. I wish I could just force her to get it. But I can’t. I can’t for the same reason God doesn’t ram His lessons down my throat. We have free will. I have the choice to try to do it on my own. To be self-sufficient and independent are valued traits in our world, but to the Lord, real strength comes when I depend on Him. For everything.

Feeling like I can handle things on my own is really a huge obstacle to overcome. The giftings I’ve been given by my creator often hamper my ability to let go of  “control” and let God run my life. When I think I’m navigating life fine on my own is exactly the time I’ve gotten off course. Because if I’m not relying on God to steer me, I’m heading straight for rough waters. I’ve been there before. I know. I’m glad I’ve been given freedom to make my own decisions. But that freedom makes it easy to take off on a power trip of self-indulgence. I need to remember that it takes real strength to move over and let Jesus drive.

Lord, please help me to seek you in the decisions of my life. Show me continually that reliance on Your strength is the only place I find my own. Help me to keep my pride in check and focus on your powerful navigation of my world. Not my own meager back-seat-driving.

Devotional – Success Through Failure

2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJ) For we walk by faith, not by sight.

People associate success with victories in life. We strive for a bigger house, nice job title or well-behaved children, but what we should really be looking for is problems, failures and weakness. When by my own strength, intelligence or resourcefulness I’m achieving great things, I feel like I don’t need God’s help. In the times when I stumble and fall – my dependence on His grace and mercy in my life becomes an intimate need, not just a casual fall back plan. The closest I have ever felt to my Lord was in the lowest of lows in my life. The times when I had peace resonating through my being were in choosing to turn my problems over to God, knowing that there was no earthly way to fix them. The growth that results from just letting go, from really depending on the Father to manage the details cannot be developed any other way. Unless I rely on Him, how can I tell others He is reliable? If I’m always “making it” without any real submission to God’s will, how am I a follower of Him?

2 Corinthians also says “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (verse 9) While it’s all good to be driven to the Lord’s feet in times of struggle, if we can come to a place of dependence on Him always, our lives would be so much more fulfilling. Sometimes I think we limit God’s ability to work in our lives in amazing ways, because we think we’re not good enough, strong enough or smart enough to go after big dreams. But that’s the whole point right? WE aren’t. But God is! There is no aspiration that’s too big for Him. No unattainable goal. When I’m in God’s perfect will and am striving for the seemingly impossible, I have the ultimate partner to turn my failure into His success.