Tag Archives: power

You Aren’t God

The Bible talks a lot about how we should consider our “selves”. I know modern psychology, and Oprah, and Joel Osteen, and the like say we need to feel powerful, and able, and special, fulfilled, and important. But I see the Bible telling us something quite different. I see Scripture saying we are helpless, sinful, depraved, that we need someone outside ourselves to save us from drowning.

Modern psychology does not work. We are a people drowning in a sea of “self”. People who are angry, depressed, anxious, violent, and who keep looking within themselves for answers because that’s the popular notion are looking in the wrong direction. How many people are medicated today because of psychological problems from eating disorders, to sexual confusion, anxiety to clinical depression? Even children are given pills for psychological problems.

Our children are taught that they are the most important entity in their own lives. So, when a police officer tells a young person to stop, to put their hands in the air, or to drop a gun, we end up reading about a shooting because the young person feels he is above the law. We hear about unspeakable crimes against children, against women, against the elderly because someone has considered their own desires more important than anything else. Abortion? Don’t get me started.

I was reading in Isaiah this morning and was impressed by God’s take on the whole thing. Chapter 45:9-10 tells us what is created has no business questioning the Creator. 47:10-11 says when we say, “I am, and there is no one else besides me,” evil will come upon us.  Proverbs 26:12 says a man who is wise in his own eyes has less hope than a fool.

These verses are only a few throughout the Bible that warn us about the foolishness of focusing on ourselves. Isaiah 48 spoke to me about who God really is. He is the Creator. He alone is God. And everything he does points to the fact of his absolute superiority.

Isaiah 46:5 asks a redundant question. Do I really want to put myself up next to God to establish equality? Do I really?

This just occurred to me as I was thinking about this subject. When a counselor or a pastor tells us to change our thinking about ourselves by telling ourselves how wonderful we are, we end up repeating things like:

I am powerful.

I am capable.

I am good.

I am worthy.

And in doing so, we replace the Great I AM with a counterfeit. Satan wins. We lose.

May you see yourself through God’s eyes today. You are someone who is lost, who is vile, who is powerless, and someone Jesus felt was worth dying for. Let him transform you into someone truly powerful and capable and good and worthy when he pours Himself into you, when HE gives you everything you need to face this day and its challenges.

There is nothing you can do for yourself that he can’t do so much better. After all, he’s God. And you’re not.

Satan’s Subtile Strategies

As I continue to read in 2 Samuel I see that David is once again running for his life. This time it’s his own son Absalom who wants him dead. Absalom was a wicked, sneaky man who set his plan in motion by playing the part of a good guy. (Read 2 Samuel 15) Then after he got the people on his side, he made his move. He made himself king.

That’s a picture of Satan. If his only means of getting us to follow him was by using his pitchfork, he’d be easy to recognize and resist. But he comes playing the part of an innocent. He whispers in our ears and makes sin seem harmless, desirable.

“One drink won’t hurt.”

“One peek at pornography is no big deal.”

“One lie, one dirty joke, skipping church just once can’t hurt anything.”

But all addictions begin with “one”. All habits begin with doing that thing the first time. 

Soon Satan quits whispering in our ears and makes his move. And we are caught up in something that is meant to destroy our souls.

David ran for his life and we should, too. “Flee youthful lusts.” Think on things that are true, lovely, right.  “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” “Put on the whole armor of God.”

Do you take Satan seriously? Do you understand that he is actively working in your life to make you his own? David took Absalom seriously. We could learn from his example.

Heavenly Father, I pray for your people today. May we not ignore Satan’s subtle attempts to destroy our souls. May we recognize sin and be quick to repent of it. May we guard our hearts and minds. And if there are those reading this who are caught up in addictions and habits that keep them from a right relationship with you, I pray that they will look to you for strength and healing. Give wisdom. Give direction. I pray for victories today.

Did You Break Your Arm?

My sisters and I were raised not to expect someone to do something for us that we could do ourselves. If Dad heard one of us ask a sister to get us a drink of water, for example, he’d say “Are your legs broken?” or “Did you break your arm?” So when I read in Numbers 11 about Moses complaining to God and doubting his instructions, I laughed when God said, “Has my arm lost its power?” Made me think of my dad.

God had asked Moses to do something and wanted Moses to know God was able to accomplish great things through him. God had done great things before and he had the power to continue to do great things on behalf of his people.

I think the lesson here is – do we trust God? When he asks us to do something, he doesn’t expect us to do it alone. If he asks, he’ll be right there. Like in my childhood example. If God was asking me to get him the drink of water, he would lift me up and carry me to the faucet if I was willing to obey.

So the question isn’t, are my arms broken. The question is do I trust God’s arms? If he asks us to do something in his name, he’ll be the power behind it when we obey.

God, I pray for your people today. You will ask us to do things. You will prompt us to speak to someone about you, to help a person in need, to give sacrificially of our time and money. I pray that when you do, you will find us trusting you to provide the power we need to get the job done. May you find us faithful and willing to serve. Thank you for promising to be with us as we do.

December 3

2 Corinthians 11:16-13:14; Romans 1:1-32

I was watching a competition show the other day and a young contestant was thanking her mentor for helping her learn to believe in herself. That’s a popular attitude these days. Believe in yourself. Be confident in yourself, Be strong, powerful, fearless. 

That all sounds well and good. Until life happens and you face a situation that breaks you. Who do you depend on then?

Paul talked to the Corinthians about his weaknesses. He, who had worldly reason to boast and to stand on his own accomplishments, had a “thorn in (his) flesh”. I don’t know what that was, exactly, but it was a constant reminder of his dependance on God. He shared that God said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”.

Paul goes on to say he delights in his own weakness, in hardship and difficulty because when he is weak, God is strong. As Christians who recognize how weak we are in ourselves, we know we have the strength of the Creator God within us.

If you are depending on your own strength, good luck. You are headed for a mighty fall. If you remember, that was what happened to the angel we know as Satan. And if you are believing Satan’s lie that we need to be building ourselves up, standing on our own, finding our own self-worth, then you are headed down the same path he walked. And he wins.

Instead, I would encourage you to give up trying to manufacture those feelings. You are weak. You are flawed. You are powerless. So let God be your strength. Trust me when I say, he’ll take care of you so much better than you can take care of yourself.

There’s a great old hymn I love to sing:

My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness… On Christ the solid Rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand. ALL other ground is sinking sand.

Father, I pray that we will stand on that solid Rock instead of the sinking sand of self. May we, like Paul recognize that you are strong when we are weak. And we are weak! Forgive us when we try to do anything on our own power. Help us to confess pride as sin and to allow you to be exactly what we need in every situation. Defeat Satan in our lives today, Lord, and may we depend upon you.