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Strength

Grace 101

 

Sometimes the Christian message seems to be little more than the motivational “speak” of the secular world.  Rah rah, get out there and do great things for God.  Nothing can hold you back.  You can do anything.  There is no “can’t” in Christian vocabulary.

But there is.  A “can’t,” I mean.  The truth, whether I like it or not, is that I can’t make it in this world.  I certainly can’t guarantee my destination after this world.  I can’t be a good enough husband or father.  I can’t preach a convincing enough sermon.  I can’t lead someone to the Lord.  I can’t solve my own problems, let alone someone else’s.

You see, you and I were born failures and we have been failing ever since.  Failure is what is normal for the people of this world.  We can’t measure up to the expectations of others, or even to our own.  That’s why we needed a Savior.

Is it so hard to admit our weakness and need?  Wouldn’t it be a lot easier if we didn’t fight against the truth?  I know that no one wants to embrace failure.  This is a competitive world with high expectations.  We won’t succeed if we admit the truth.  So, we lie to ourselves and to others.  Oh, sure, I can do it.  I can be good enough at whatever you need.  I can be strong enough or wise enough.  I can do it.

But saying it doesn’t make it true.  The truth is that we need something more than we have.  We need Someone more.  Those who have read my work know that one of my pet peeves is the idea that Jesus is just like me.  If Jesus is just like me, then how can He help me?  Why would I need someone just like me?  No, I need someone who is more than me.

Now, this is an important part of the grace message.  If you look in the box of gifts that came with your salvation, you will find the strength to accomplish anything.  But there is a catch.  This strength is His strength.  He will do what you need.  The message of grace is that you now have a relationship with One who loves you and is strong enough to accomplish all that you need and all He expects of you.

Do you need to be a good parent?  Then look to Jesus for what you need.  Are you in difficult circumstances?  He is strong enough for you.  He is strong enough to overcome that bad habit, strong enough to change what needs to be changed, strong enough to get you through.  Jesus is the One who is strong.

There is a Bible verse that says that “I can do all things.”  But it contains a qualifier.  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  It is His strength and it comes to me through my relationship with Him.

As I write on narcissism, I hear from people in all kinds of very difficult circumstances.  Some of them are heart-breaking.  There is no wisdom, no strength that I can give them.  But Jesus is their strength.  Sometimes decisions have to be made and followed through.  So hard.  Too hard.  But Jesus takes us by the hand and leads us through.  He is strong enough.

Grace is about relationship with the Lord who loves us.  He gives us everything we need.  He gives us strength to accomplish everything He asks of us.  Trust Him.  If Jesus is leading you, follow Him without worrying about whether or not you can do it.  You can’t—He can!

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