Tag Archives: strength

I Am Not Afraid

Words of Grace

I am not afraid.

But I am!  I am afraid of lots of things: the future, driving, tests, failure as a parent, getting mugged, health problems, death.  Sometimes my fear stops me from doing anything.  Sometimes it just occupies my thoughts and takes away my joy.  But, to be honest, it’s almost always there.  How can I not be afraid?

When someone tells us not to be afraid, as though it were a simple thing to do, they either miss the point of what’s happening in our hearts or they don’t care.  Emotions are difficult to turn on and off, particularly negative ones.  It isn’t as though we want to be afraid.

I think this is why the Scripture talks so much about living in the light.  The darkness holds our fears.  Not knowing, or knowing just part of the truth or believing lies—those are the things that give strength to our fears.  When the light shines on our situation, we often find that there really was nothing to fear.

We all know that turning the light on in the room chases away the things that seem to lurk in the shadows.  But what if we turn on the light and something really scary is standing there?  We understand that many of the fears that trouble us are not real.  They are fantasies or misunderstandings or lies.  But not everything that frightens us is false.  We do face financial difficulties, health problems, relationship stresses, and more.  These things are real and challenging.  The pain and trouble they bring to us are things we would certainly like to avoid.

But do we need to be afraid of them?  That’s the question.

And the answer is, “No!”

Most of us have a healthy fear of pain, but we understand it and accept it as part of our lives.  The same is true with most of our minor fears.  But the biggest fear we face is damage or change to our identity.  “Will I be the same after x happens?”  Losing a job or a loved one or a home—what we fear most in these things is the change in us.  Will weakness steal my security or joy or confidence?  Will I have to become a different person?

That’s why I like to teach about identity.  As long as my identity is based on what I do or my life situation, then my identity is always at risk.  When my identity is secure in Jesus, it will not change.  I will not change because He who is my life will not change.  Minor changes will happen, of course, but who I am in Christ will never change.

Everything in this world is outside my relationship with Jesus.  Inside that relationship there is security and peace forever.  He is my strength.  He is my hope.  He is my peace.

I will not be afraid of what people can do to me or of what the world around me can do.  I will not be afraid of the changes time will bring.  I will not be afraid of my weaknesses.  I will look to Him and remember my peace.

Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling.  Psalm 46:2-3 (NKJV)

 

I am not afraid.

I know that He is with me.

I will look to Him and find my peace.

Nothing can change who I am in Him.

I am not afraid.

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I am Strong

Words of Grace  

Life is filled with challenges.  Sometimes they are battles we have to fight.  Sometimes they are burdens we have to carry.  Sometimes they are fears we have to push through.  And sometimes we don’t know what they are yet.

To face these challenges, we are supposed to be strong.  But what if we are not strong?  What happens then?  What if I look around at all the confusing challenges I face and I feel very weak?  What if I have no idea how I could possibly do what I am expected to do?  Sometimes we don’t feel very strong.

Perhaps you find yourself alone and you feel weak.  Perhaps things are expected of you that you don’t know how to do.  Perhaps others have taken away what little strength you had.  And now you are afraid.  You don’t want to admit it to anyone, but you just don’t see how you can do what you are expected to do.

Once again, the word comes to us from outside.  We don’t have to gather up our strength when it isn’t there.  We don’t have to pretend to be strong.  We don’t have to lie to ourselves or others.  The Lord tells us that we are strong because He is our strength.

David understood this as much as anyone ever has.  He said, in 2 Samuel 22:33, “God is my strength and power.”  How strong are you if God is your strength?  The Psalms are full of affirmations regarding the strength of the believer.  God is our strength.

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2 (NKJV)

 

If the Lord is your strength—and He says He is—then you are strong enough to do all that you must do.  Then your strength is great and will overwhelm your enemies.

Paul understood.

 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

 

I am strong.

God is my strength.

I can do anything He calls me to do.

He is my Power

I am strong.

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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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