Friday, November 5, 2010

#67 Ultimate Strength

Psalm 28:7 "The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;"

I had the opportunity in high school to take a class called "weight training". No, they did not teach me how to lose weight--although that would have come in handy over the years. Instead the class was all about how to properly lift weights and how lifting weights certain ways assisted in developing various muscle groups.

The class was pretty great. I got to lift weights and get buff fifty minutes a day five days a week. What teenage boy who wants to be cool and have big arms would not think that was fun? Although I loved the class I never wanted to get really big muscles. I just wanted to look good wearing a tank-top. Yes, I was vain and self-centered. There were even times when I lingered by mirrors to check out my biceps, forearms, and chest thinking I was all that. Yes, it was sad really.

Each day we would try to push ourselves to lift more and more than the days before, and at that point in my life I thought physical strength was the most important type of strength there was. Truth be told, I probably thought physical strength was the only kind of strength.

It was not until I began to learn of Jesus and His infinite love that I came to know of a much different form of strength. When I heard the stories of His love, grace, and mercy my heart was moved with deep conviction. When I learned that He died for me I was overwhelmed with thoughts of shame and sadness for the sins I had committed. I can recall going forward to the altar and weeping as I knelt down. As the memory of my sin and guilt came flooding to remembrance I wanted only to be free from my past and all my wrongdoings.

Sweet relief was mine when I learned that the blood of Jesus poured out on Calvary's cross would cover my sin debt to God. The pastor told me to confess my sins and Jesus would cleanse me of all iniquity. He went on to say that in my weakened, sinful spiritual state I could lean on Jesus and He would give me strength to endure. Although, the concept of spiritual strength was totally foreign to me I knew I needed it and I wanted it.

But when I found out how to get spiritual strength it amazed me. You recall that I was accustomed to gaining strength through the repetitious lifting of weights, but spiritual strength comes not from my efforts but rather through Jesus' efforts. Spiritual strength comes not through fighting and pushing myself to be better and better, but through surrender. That is crazy in the world's eyes: "Surrender to gain strength?" Yes, yes, and yes!

If we want to be spiritually strong friends we have to let go of trying to do things by our power and let the creator God of heaven empower us through His Spirit. When we do this He can become our strength and He will shield us from the evil of this world. Sure we may have to endure loss or persecution in this life, but if Christ is our strength and shield then He protects our minds from molding into worldly conformity. He blocks Satan from having his way with us.

It is my prayer that each of you will seek to discover that source of ultimate strength that lies in living a life surrendered to Jesus Christ. Like me, you will find that His strength is better than any physical strength we can attain on our own.

Dear Father God,
Please help us each one to live in a constant state of surrender to You. Let us not buy the world's bill of goods that says trust in your own power and strength. Teach us to trust You and we thank You in advance for shielding us and lifting us up with Your righteous right hand, Amen.

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