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Stirring The Deep

In God’s Strength, Not Ours

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In God’s Strength, Not Ours

 

Some time ago, I read a secular book on writing and attended a Christian writers conference within weeks of each other. I’m going to share with you something that greatly impacted me at that time to remind us of who we are in God and what we have.

What struck me was that the advice from those at the conference and from the author of the secular book was basically the same. Everything about becoming a successful writer stemmed from you and your strength, not God. Why was there no difference? Aren’t Christians to be living in God’s strength, not man’s? Then why was the counsel the same?

Many Christians are living like mere men. God calls us to live in His strength and that shouldn’t look the same as the world’s ways, should it? I speak to myself as a reminder as much as anyone else. There is a better way to live, so why settle?

When you dive into the Bible, what you find is a description of a life with God that varies from what the world offers. Below are some elements of our lives when we are living in His strength:

  • We work in situations beyond our capabilities.
  • We are not limited to what we know; we are limited to what God knows, which has no limit.
  • God accomplishes a lot with a little.
  • God moves in the hearts and minds of others to accomplish His will in our lives.
  • God uses ordinary people to accomplish mighty works.
  • We work yet at the same time rest, because it is His power working through us.
  • We often work in areas or in ways that are specifically our weaknesses so we learn to trust Him.
  • We are prospered beyond our own capabilities.
  • We are asked to do something for which we aren’t prepared.
  • We don’t endlessly strive.
  • Our efforts don’t equal our returns – they equate to God’s work in us, which is much more.
  • There is no rat race in God’s Kingdom.
  • There is balance, rest and satisfaction.

I’m sure there are many more but these came to mind. Each scenario above creates an opportunity for the power of God, not man, to be displayed. God revealing Himself to the world through us is what our lives are about. And that means we will be living beyond our capabilities in many ways – it is uncomfortable and glorious all at the same time.

If you look at the characters in the Bible (Peter, Paul, Daniel, David, Moses, Joshua, Gideon, the prophets) they had one or more of these aspects. Their lives showed the strength of God, not the power of man. Often times they got scared, doubted, questioned, but they pushed forward with God.

Makes you think . . . what does your life show? What will be the story of your life? What would it read if it was in the Bible? What does it tell the world about who and what you REALLY trust?

For the child of God, there is a new way of life. Often God puts us in situations beyond our abilities so we can learn to trust Him. Our trust isn’t in our talents, skills, or gifts, how many extra hours we work, or if we did all the necessary preparations. It’s in God’s ability, power, and strength, because we are here for His glory not ours. In Him, we do what we never could. That is our life.

Running the rat race like the rest of the world isn’t for us. Nowhere in the Bible do I find that to be the case. Look at the Israelites. God established their life full of celebrations and feasts. I have never seen a group of people rest so much and yet accomplish what they did. God provided for their physical needs. He defeated enemies far stronger. He guided them and instructed them in every facet of life. They were living a life that was impossible in their own strength and God was glorified. However, our lives also aren’t about sitting around – but following His lead and moving forward in His strength.

Striving, toiling, and living by the same rules as the world – what is the difference then? What is the abundant life that God brought to us in Christ? His life consumes ours and that means everything changes. Yes we work but it is in a different strength. It isn’t our work, but His in us.

I know it can be extremely uncomfortable living beyond yourself. You aren’t in control so at any moment it feels like things could turn for the worse. Because of this discomfort, we often give into the fear and hold back from moving forward into what God has laid on our hearts. Like Moses, we are full of buts and what ifs. Exodus 3:11, 4:1, 4:10, 4:13. It isn’t easy to live in His strength, to make that leap and let go of what we have always trusted in. It takes time. If it was easy we would all be there. But God is offering us a much better way to live. I’ve tasted it. If we feast on His pure Word and seek to do it His way, then He will show us the way and give us the faith to live as He ordained – in abundant life, in His presence. If this life is your desire, then step out and follow Him beyond your strengths into His. Pray to let go of the control and to have a peace about it – God is driving now.

Psalm 21:13 “Be exalted, O Lord, in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power.”

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Author: Rachel

My passion is cultivating a deep relationship with God and helping others to do the same. I LOVE sharing with others insights that God has taught me and hearing what God has taught them... thus my blog, Stirring the Deep. My focus is on a relationship, not a religion. Life is in the relationship. I believe in a balance and unity of body, mind and spirit. I feel it's important to nurture all three for they all affect each other. I try to live in the present, where the Holy Spirit is. And I try to do all with the motive of love. I've come to believe life is a journey and not a destination. It isn't about perfection, is it about growth.

26 thoughts on “In God’s Strength, Not Ours

  1. Great message! The only time we grow is when we let go of ourselves and trust God to do what we can’t. You really covered the subject completely and very well. Good job!

  2. Since the Christian life is Christ living his life through you by the Spirit, everything must be Spirit motivated and enabled.

  3. Goodness I could write a book in response to this post….and it would have all been inspired by where God has taken us. 🙂
    First, I am not surprised at all by what you heard at your writers conference. I think the church has seriously forgotten that ALL good things come down from the Father of Light. That means that when I sit down to write….if anything good comes out…..it did not come from my strength or talent. Any strength or talent I have….it came from the Spirit within me.
    Second, if we are not living beyond ourselves then are we truly walking in the Spirit?
    At this point in time God has called us to walk by faith. Yes, we are all called to walk by faith…but I am talking about for our ministry and income. It is stretching me beyond what I thought I could endure. It is teaching me who my provider is….and it is renewing my mind to truths the world has warped.
    Anytime we choose to live the way God has mapped things out in the Bible…..we should look strange to the world. And we may even look strange to the body of Christ….because that body is living according to the world and not according to the Word.
    So as we walk this walk….that hurts sometimes….we can only walk it by His grace. If I can walk it in my own strength……I don’t think I will be moving any mountains. 😉 And we want to see some mountains tumbling into the sea. 🙂

    Great post! I feel like I have been sharpened…..as iron sharpens iron. I will stop…..but I could go on. 🙂

    • Hi Sharon – Thanks so much for your comments – you shared some excellent points!! It amazes me how little we do live in His strength and limit ourselves to our own. It is my prayer each morning and throughout the day (when I remember to ask) to work in His might and not rely on mine. And I agree – I want to see some mountains tumbliing too – why settle for less?!

  4. Hey Rachel, thanks for your comment on my blog! I agree with what you are saying here. We should be different form the world. We can do so much more through God than we can alone.

    Even though my husband just got hired, we are looking at not having enough money to live on for the next few months, and actually have been living with that all summer. But it has been amazing how He has stretched the money that we do have. At one point we thought we had enough to last through July and then we’d be out. But in July, we found out we still had enough to last till August. Now its September! 🙂 Isn’t that awesome?! He definitely does amazing things when we trust Him to take care of us!

    Thanks for your encouragement! Jenny

    • Hi Jenny – it is so true how God provides for us – my husband and I went through a similar experience some years ago – we were at our very very end, but it was a time of testing who we TRULY trusted in – by God’s grace we had the faith and trusted God and He delivered us in a mighty way. Looking back – those were very tough days and yet very special. What it did for our faith in God is invaluable. May you guys draw ever closer to the heart of God through this time – for that is its ultimate purpose.

  5. Jesus did remind us that we cannot serve two masters.

    Some people try hard through their own efforts because their focus in life is on one master – money. However, if our focus were on God instead, then we’d need no effort as we progress since He works in us through His Holy Spirit.

  6. Hi Rachel
    Truly enjoyed this wonderful message wooooo weeeeee it’s good and so much encouragement in here!!!! How very true God does intend to reveal himself to the world through us and that’s exactly what he is going to do in me yes,yes!
    Love ya

  7. Life is a believer is merely is own. He lives by the grace and by the image of God. We become an extension by which the presence is God is manifested through us and therefor He attribute some of his virtues into us and in a sense we become one.

  8. You are a great voice for The Lord. God Bless you and your fine work.

  9. “Many Christians are living like mere men.”

    How true that is Rachel and sadly it is my story all too often as well.

    I also think it’s discouraging and a bit sad that you heard the same advice at both the secular and Christian conferences. So much preaching I see on TV these days seems to be secular self-help with a little Bible mixed in. “Believe in yourself” and “you can do it !” no longer seem to be just secular mantras, unfortunately.

    In one of his sermons, Greg Laurie mentioned seeing a “God is my co-pilot” bumper sticker while driving. “That’s nice,” said Pastor Greg. “But God isn’t anyone’s co-pilot. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t even want you in the cockpit !” Thanks Rachel for the reminder to “step out and follow Him beyond your strengths into His.”

    Blessings to you –

    • Joe,

      What a great way of putting it – we often act like we are in charge then God is there to help us along the way. Or we give no real power to God at all. Both are far from the type of relationship God designed us to have with Him.

  10. Hi I found your blog after googling “trusting our strength and His” I really enjoyed what you wrote and I was wondering if you could point me to any resources that eloborate on the subject. This is may seem random but to you have any thoughts on how personality strengths come into play in our Christian walk?

    • Hi Daniel, sorry I’m not familiar with any other books on the topic. As for personality strengths – I find in my own life God often keeps a balance between my strengths and yet needing to be completely dependent on Him. Where this world often focuses on what we can do, with God the focus is on His will for us. Whatever it is He will prepare, enable, and help us to accomplish it, whether it is in our strengths or not. So fundamentally the focus is different. In my walk, it isn’t on my strengths but on God’s will and trusting Him do accomplish in me what He has called me to do. What were you thinking in regards to this?

      • Thanks for the response I have been going to a church for the last three years and have attended a couple of their membership meetings were they have introduced these personality tests to determine what our natural gifts are so that we may use them to glorify God. It seems like a noble intention but at the same time it just sort of seems weird. I’m just wondering were the cross comes into play with all of this and our co-crucification with Christ. It seems that these test measure who we are according to our flesh and I saw that you have a background in Psychology so I wondered what your thoughts were. Ultimately it seems that rather than nurturing our strengths that we posses in and of ourselves to serve and glorify God we should be nurturing the resources that we have in Christ. So I just wondered if you had any input or any resources that you could point me to that might be relevant. Thanks
        -Daniel

      • Daniel, I agree with you – I think the church doing those tests is the wrong focus. Being in psychology – I see the appeal of of these tests and things- but it is based on earthly wisdom and not on anything of God. Therefore pyschologists’ methods are based on trusting man and man’s wisdom and not God’s and therefore way off in my opinion. As you said, we are to be nurturing our resources in Christ – which we do by cultivating a relationship with Him that is real, deep and intimate – and not foucsed on strenthening ourselves. I read these verses the other day and thought of you and our discussion . . 2 Chronicles 16:7-9 — in these verses they were relying on their own strength and the strength of the world – not God and they suffered for it. I think it is a similar thing with our strengths – we are to be dependent on God and His strength and cultivate depedency in Him and not ourselves. Throughout the Bible you see how God warns against putting your trust in man. It is to be in Him and Him working through us. The Bible is our truth – it is so important to abide in it daily and in all of it – New and Old Testament – because as it tells us from God’s Word comes discernment in these things – so that is your greatest resource for truth 🙂

        I think this verse sums it up Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

        Rachel

  11. Thanks for the encouragement and the verses. God bless you and your ministry!

  12. Thanks for the post! I’m kinda struggling with the question of how to live in His strength and not my own. sometimes it’s really hard to know. Thanks again!

    • Hi Sean — it can be challenging to grasp it — but seek to understand from the Holy Spirit and He will show you. It’s about doing what God has called you to, knowing it is Him who works through you and it is in Him you trust not your own skills and abilities.

  13. Reblogged this on The Long Road and commented:
    I found this lovely blog this morning when searching the net for scriptures on using God’s strength vs. our own to overcome our struggles.

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