After a physically exhausting day with children or an emotionally exhausting day on the job, I often find myself craving power. I search the Scripture and pray that I, like Paul, will be “strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might” (Colossians 1:11).
Yep. That would just fit the bill for my needs today. Lots of power in God-sized qualities.
But then the Father urges me to re-examine, so that He may keep revealing. “Strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience.”
I hear His still, small voice: “There are occasions, Kandy, when you will need a mighty surge of supernatural power to achieve a great feat of strength. But most of the time, you are most in need of my power for the acquisition of all faithfulness and fortitude. That’s really where your weakness lies.”
How true. More than power to complete my tasks in record speed, I need the strength to endure a monotonous day with grace. More than energy to keep going until two in the morning, I need the ability to endure long, plodding days without complaining.
What an insight. The Lord is more interested in giving me energy to say “No!” to the thoughts of the evil one than to grant all my healing prayers answered. He knows that giving me power for miracles will just inflate my image of myself.
“Like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My Hand,” says the Lord (Jeremiah 18:6). Sometimes His fingerprints come in the form of great fruit bearing and joy. Sometimes, they will seem quite painful and without purpose. Either way, He will “accomplish what concerns me” (Psalm 138:8). My best reaction is with unwavering conviction of His Love for me. I must hold fast with certainty that He will not forsake the clay that lies in His Hands.
The strength He gives most is the strength to wait. In season and out of season He desires my trust. In forming me into the image of His Son, He is molding a person who can endure. Whether the endurance means the fog of the unknown, the indecision or unfairness of others, the lack of fulfilling ministry, or the existence of crippling emotions. He doesn’t remove the world, but reveals that I can be a conquerer while still living here (Romans 8:37).
May it be, Lord. May it be.
Inappropriate. Vulgar. Suggestive.
No, this wasn’t a movie, a book, or a joke. It was a high school health test and I was required to take it.
The exasperation had been building for several weeks. My classmates and I knew the rumors about this teacher before walking into class the first day. Although the accusations hadn’t been proved so far, his off-color remarks and lascivious gestures grew more suspect as the semester progressed. I’d kept my interaction with him to a minimum and never asked questions, especially now, with the current chapter on sexuality.
As I re-read the test questions, it was obvious many had nothing to do with the lesson and everything to do with lust. As my heart pounded and mind raced, I tried to sort through what I was sensing. Was it real? Or was I making too much of it? Motivated by something deep within, I found myself scooping up the page and exiting the classroom.
I don’t remember what happened minutes later in the principal’s office. But I do remember that we had a substitute teacher the following day. Within a few weeks, a scandal surfaced and the administration fired a certain health teacher.
This incident happened a long time ago, but just another instance in which “the grace of God…teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness” (Titus 2:11-12 NIV). Surely if a high school junior has the power to say “No more” to inappropriate behavior in a classroom, you and I have the power to say “No” to ungodliness in our own lives.
We know the signs of the besetting sins that entrap us. Repeatedly, they trip us up again and again. Let’s take hold of our power to say “No!”
The evil one will do everything he can to keep us from wielding this amazing strength. He’ll try to convince us that it’s not “all that bad” or cloud our thoughts with forgetfulness. But daily, early refusal of these weak areas will grant us amazing breakthroughs we previously thought to be hopeless.
The process is simple. When you awake in the morning, give the Father your thoughts, emotions and will. Thank Him for giving you everything you need regarding life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Remembering your top three besetting sins, take a moment to tell each of them a resounding “No!” For instance, “Spirit of impatience, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I tell you ‘No’ today. You have no authority in my life and I don’t want to hear from you further.” Then ask the Lord to remind you to do this again tomorrow.
Of course, you may have to do this more than once during the day. You’ve been forgiven of your sin nature. Your cleansing is eternally secured (Hebrews 10:14-18). But your reaction toward temptation is a daily endeavor (Romans 6:10-13). We’ve won the war. Now let’s tackle the daily battles.
“That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God” (Romans 6:12-14, The Message).
Let’s do this together today shall we?