How to be a Superhero
Awhile ago I read the Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela and Hard Work by Roy Williams. I was compelled to read these books, though I didn’t know why.
As I was nearing the end of Hard Work, I knew why; the dedication these men showed for their passion. Regardless of obstacles or situations beyond their control, their resolve to their passion and their purpose was astounding. At that time, I needed that resolve – and God used those books to show me what that meant. But I couldn’t have that resolve without God’s strength.
As believers we are God’s workmanship created for certain purposes. Ephesians 2:10. However, when challenges arise putting us face to face with our vulnerabilities, fears, and weakness, we can have the tendency to pull back, become stagnant, or give up. We start to believe we don’t have what it takes like the resources, ability, wisdom, or energy.
Often for what God calls us to do, we don’t have what it takes of ourselves. However, as a believer we never face anything alone. God is working in and through us to accomplish the works He created us to do. Our part is to submit and do what He says. When we submit to God’s work in us by being obedient His word and leading, then we have His strength and are able to accomplish far beyond what we imagined, yes like a superhero.
Therefore for the challenge that lies in front of us, like a struggling marriage, health issues, demanding work, or problematic children, we don’t have to be concerned about our endurance, ability, or resources because God’s strength is working in and for us. When we realize what we’ve been given, we do what we normally wouldn’t do. We live gloriously beyond ourselves.
It’s fundamental to a life of a believer to learn to work in God’s strength. In order to accomplish the purposes that God created us for, we will have to act outside our comfort zone so we will need His strength.
There are many reasons for God wanting us to live beyond our own strength; here are three.
1. When we are acting in God’s strength, His power is reflected in our lives and He is glorified. Our very lives give Him praise, because what is accomplished is obviously done by Him and not us. As our lives reflect Him, He is shown to the world. Like Daniel in the lions’ den, it wasn’t about his strength to be able to close the lion’s mouth it was about God’s. And who got the glory? God.
2. Living beyond ourselves drives us to trust in God because we are totally dependent on Him. John 15:5 We were created to live in union with God, not separate. Trust is key to that union and being rightly related to God as He desires. Daniel had to trust in God. No one else could save him. He trusted, and God delivered. Talk about forming a tight bond. How Daniel’s trust must have grown from that experience.
3. Because of our reliance and need of God, we develop a deep intimacy and relationship with God grounded in love. When God delivered Daniel from that lion’s mouth, what that must have done for their relationship.
Because fulfilling our purposes will require us to trust in God’s strength, we can only be in God’s will if we are willing to act outside our comfort zone. That means we have to learn to work and trust in His strength and not our own. On the flip side, God only gives us strength for what is His will. If we are acting outside His will, we won’t have His strength. Therefore, it’s our job to seek His will for our individual lives and walk in it.
What does that mean practically?
To be continued …
November 30, 2010 at 1:47 am
Great post! I really liked what you had to say. I need to remember this. I must not try to do things in my own strength but rely on the strength of God. It’s so hard to remember that sometimes. I think we like trying to do everything in our own strength because we want to be in control. It hard to relinquish that control. I’m looking forward to Part 2.
November 30, 2010 at 5:26 pm
Hi Captainquaker – you make a good point – we want to feel in control … and when we have to rely on God’s strength that is exactly what we don’t feel. The curious thing is we never really are in control we just think we are.
November 30, 2010 at 10:02 pm
November 30, 2010 at 4:25 am
I loved your photo and encouraging words. I often feel the tasks God calls me to are so far beyond my capacity that the temptation towards inertia takes over. Your post reminded me to partner with God’s unlimited grace. Thank you.
November 30, 2010 at 5:28 pm
Hi JoDee – I love how you stated to partner with God’s unlimited grace — when you really take a minute to consider it – it is amazing – why do we ever worry?
November 30, 2010 at 4:29 am
Excellent topic and message Rachel.
Reading your examples of strength reminded me of Jeremiah. To some he lived a boring life. But once a reader comprehends the strength he exhibits in committing daily for years and years to serving God, it is clear how much of an extraordinary life of faith Jerimiah led.
November 30, 2010 at 5:30 pm
Hi Slamdunk – you bring up a great point about Jeremiah. For what he was called to do – he needed tremendous strength beyond himself. It is hard to be the fish swimming upstream against the rest flowing in the other direction and that is what he did.
November 30, 2010 at 5:22 pm
Nice post. Incidentally, I just bought the book Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela last week.
You said, “There are many reasons for God wanting us to live beyond our own strength…”
Just a point to consider– All three of your points can be summed up in one. If you look at from the very beginning until now, there is one common thread: faith. God created the world by faith (Gen 1, Heb. 11:3). Abel was made righteous by faith (Gen. 4:1-7 and Heb. 11:4). Noah built the ark, preached and obtained righteousness by faith (Gen. 6:8-9, Heb. 11:7, 2 Peter 2:5). Enoch walked with God and pleased God by faith (Gen 5:22-24, Heb. 11:5-6). Abraham was made righteous by God by faith (Gen. 15:6, Rom. 4:3, Gal. 3:6). The just (or the righteous or those in right-relationship with God) live by faith (Hab. 2:4, Rom. 1:17, Gal. 3:11, Heb. 10:34). We have access into the grace wherein we stand by faith (Rom. 5:2). We are made righteous by faith (2 Cor. 5:21).
There’s so much more but the point is that from eternity past, here in the present, and to eternity future, mankind has always and will always relate with God by faith. That is the “currency” of Heaven. The “currency” of Hell is fear. Faith is how we have relationship with God through Jesus. And this is how we will always have relationship with Him forever.
I’m looking forward to see how you finish it up.
November 30, 2010 at 5:33 pm
Hi Eric — it is a great point about faith. Faith is the end result of trusting and abiding in a relationship with God. Often faith gets to be seen as some mystical power we exude– when it is simply knowing God’s promises and ways and acting on them. The problem is His ways often contradict wordly wisdom that we are so comfortable with. His ways entail His power that we don’t inherently possess, but have to rely on. His ways are not what we expect. Therefore walking in faith can seem daunting at times. Thanks for your comment. 🙂
November 30, 2010 at 6:23 pm
Your comment is so true.
“Faith is the end result of trusting and abiding in a relationship with God.”
This is absolutely the truth. Faith is a direct result and proportional to abiding in Him and His Word. No abiding–no faith. Living and abiding in Him–Faith, faith, faith. This is why I think people have “hard time” walking and living by faith. They want to walk by faith but aren’t abiding in Him. They don’t spend any time with Him.
“Often faith gets to be seen as some mystical power we exude– when it is simply knowing God’s promises and ways and acting on them. The problem is His ways often contradict wordly wisdom that we are so comfortable with.”
People say to me sometimes, “I’m really walking by faith. It’s hard. I’m frustrated. I just can’t see how God is going to do it. We are in a tough spot.” When people say things like this, I usually tell them, pull back and slow down a little bit. When you are walking by faith and living by faith, your trust isn’t in you. Our minds have to be renewed or changed to think like God thinks about things. The problem is that many don’t do it before attempting to walk by faith. So they jump out on the water and immediately look at the waves instead of keeping their eyes on Jesus. Faith isn’t about what’s happening around us. It will always happen. It is about our relationship with Him and what He says.
When we are focused on Jesus (the Word of God) and listening to Him, walking by faith is really the most fun adventure that people will ever have. We were made for this.
December 1, 2010 at 5:28 pm
Hi Eric – you made some excellent points … people often do launch out trying to “walk by faith” and yet don’t have the relationship and don’t abide. It’s backwards. I think that comes from the misunderstanding about what faith is and what a life with God is really about – about abiding and seeking His face. Seeking leads to knowing which leads to trust which leads to a life of faith.
November 30, 2010 at 6:49 pm
Thank you again for your “words in season”. What you have said is so true and in these days I am being called to live beyond myself in a big way. Some days I feel hemmed in on every side.But I do know that when I am helpless, my God is a never-ending source of help. I am determined to endure until the end as more than a conqueror through Christ who loved me and gave himself for me!
December 1, 2010 at 5:29 pm
Hi Jelillie – what words of encouragement. 🙂 As I said it is uncomfortable because it is beyond ourselves – but as we see God’s work – it’s tremendous.
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December 1, 2010 at 9:22 pm
Great post Rachel. God’s desire is for His glory, so if we live beyond our own strength, He gets the credit, not us. Love the Scripture references throughout the post! Looking forward to the next one!
December 2, 2010 at 5:36 pm
Hi Ron, How true it is — think of the many many examples in the Bible of people living beyond their strength and how was revealed and glorifed throug their lives. I find it very encouraging.
December 3, 2010 at 2:14 am
How do you feel about the comment:
“Sometimes it’s easier to say you’re sorry than it is to ask permission.”
I mention this loosely in light of this post of yours. Love your stuff. Seriously.
Donald in Bethel, CT
December 3, 2010 at 6:48 pm
Hi Donald .. I would have to say it totatlly depends on the situation and person … I think all we do should be done out of respect and love, which go hand-in-hand. So whatever serves that purpose.
December 3, 2010 at 2:28 pm
Encouraging words, Rachel. Your words about becoming stagnant or giving up hit my heart. Sometimes our path seems difficult… but He’s helped me see that it’s much better to start with the thinking that it’s not just difficult: it’s impossible – without Him! And therein lies a beauty and wonder of all God has been teaching me. I need Him for all things – salvation, understanding, guidance, and the ability and desire to follow Him.
God opened a door yesterday for me to talk to a friend. I had been burdened for her because she has faced so many trials and hardships lately, and I felt the need to speak with her about it to encourage her to take heart and stand fast. And faithful to His Word, He made the way and gave me the words. I pray He works in us both to trust Him and lean on His strength. She has a hard weekend ahead of her!
Thanks, as always, for your words!
December 3, 2010 at 6:46 pm
Hi Ruth – great point – not difficult but impossible. Reminds me of the verse John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” — When we realize it is all His work, it is very freeing. I think that is wonderful about your friend. If we are willing it is amazing what God can do through us.
December 4, 2010 at 6:53 pm
Good job Rachel and it is so very important that we listen to our Father and follow him otherwise become burned out,trying to do what everybody else think is right for you,is not God’s will. And this happens so much until some Christians are stuck in bondage,trying to do what others feel is God’s will for them,while putting a gulit trip on you if you don’t fall in line and do what they feel is right. It’s a mess I’ve seen so many sad Christians feeling like failures because Mary & Jane said I should do this & that,and now I’m just to tired.Really others are being pressed to keep the law,that’s what it boils down to. But what freedom we enjoy when we know who we are in Christ,and who he is in us!!!! Praise the Lord! Rachel I enjoy the wisdom God has placed in you.
Love you 😀
December 6, 2010 at 6:11 pm
Hi Pat – you make a great point … so many press us to this and that because that is the bondage they are in. It reaffirms the need for us to be so closely connected and listening to the Holy Spirit and what He desires for us – not man.
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November 6, 2011 at 9:15 pm
Enjoyed it! Can’t wait to read Part II tomorrow.