What is the Source of your strength? Do you even know?
- If you are the source of your own strength, then I’m here to tell you that you are in deep trouble. Because when life gets hard, you cannot save you.
- If other people are the source of your strength, then I have a warning for you, as well – as much as they love and care for you, those closest to us can and will let us down from time to time. It’s not that they mean to hurt us, but it just happens sometimes.
- If your career (or some other ambitious pursuit) is the source of your strength, then I encourage you to proceed cautiously. Jobs can be lost, and activities can suddenly cease. Praytell, what would happen if you could no longer do the thing that brings you so much satisfaction?
- If your ministry or other act of service is the source of your strength, then be careful. These things are wonderful, but cannot in and of themselves do anything for you. God may use them to bless others through you (or you may be blessed through others), but the activity in and of itself cannot do anything for you on its own merits.
We could go on and on, but I think it’s high time that we check in and what the Bible has to say about the matter:
if you don’t know, now you know. 😉
Not only is the joy of the Lord the true Source of our strength, but so equipped, we are able – like Nehemiah and the people of Israel, who had gone through some rough times – to “grieve not” (and if you haven’t reviewed the story in awhile, the book of Nehemiah is a great read).
Now, I’m not sure how all of this plays out in the everydayness of our lives, but I am trusting that the Lord will make this plain to me in due time. After all, it seems to me that if the joy of the Lord is my strength, then it would be in my best interest to plug into the joy of the Lord. How can I do this? By focusing my attention more on Him (rather than my circumstances), and reminding myself of His character – His faithfulness and goodness – and the myriad ways that He has come through for me in the past.
I suspect that after going through this process, my mood will change so that I’ll experience more joy, since my perspective will have shifted in a big way. It doesn’t mean that things are suddenly all better – life is really hard some times, and I don’t believe the Lord has us to walk around in denial, pretending that everything is fine when it clearly isn’t. Rather, I think it means that it’s possible to tap into the joy the the Lord Himself offers to us, even in the midst of our most difficult trials. Does this mean that we’ll suddenly feel happy and carefree? I highly doubt it. However, I do believe that we’ll remember to view our circumstances from the perspective of who God is, rather than the other way around. And if we can reframe the situation biblically, then the strength that is promised to us from God is available to us at any time.
Dear Lord, thank You for being the only true Source of strength in my life. Without you, I am weak and lost – even with my intellect, abilities, and gifts, these perishable things pale in comparison to You! Help me to remember to fix my gaze upon You – especially when life gets hard – because I need Your strength, and the only way for me to lay ahold of it is by reorienting myself totally toward You.
This is not easy, and nearly everything in the world mitigates against it. The world says that true strength and success can only be found outside of you – in the wood, hay, and stubble that are so celebrated in our present day. Help me to remember that this is a lie from the very pit of hell. It’s not a bad thing to be successful or to have (and accomplish) goals in our lives, but when we see these human-made efforts as the source of anything meaningful and satisfying, then we are quite lost, indeed.
I don’t want to be lost, Jesus. Thank You for always keeping Your loving eye upon me, and for giving me the strength needed to persevere through the challenging times of life. In Your name I pray, Amen.