“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”- Philippians 4:13
This past Sunday I had an amazing moment as our church family was together celebrating our Awesome God. As we were rejoicing in worship, responding to God’s goodness, and receiving the teaching of His Word, I was reminded of a time when I tried to make a door of opportunity open in my own strength. As we were taking communion together, the Lord vividly brought to my recollection an episode from over 15 years ago, as I was being considered for a position. In my enthusiasm for the opportunity, I did everything in my power to make myself look good. I put extra time into my teaching notes, what to wear and how I did my hair, looking into the camera, and saying things with an extra hint of charisma. Not only did I end up getting passed over for the role, but sadly I had made that night more about myself than the people who were there to receive.
Thankfully, when this memory came back it was delivered by the Holy Spirit as a lesson to shape me, and not from the enemy as something to shame me. As I took of the bread and cup on Sunday, I allowed that past failure to be a present-day confession of my need for God’s strength. The more that we try to take matters into our own hands, attempt to look good, carry the load, or blaze our own trail, the more we fall short, miss out, and get stuck along the way. We need the strength that the Holy Spirit gives to stand and succeed in this life. 1 Peter 4:11, has become a staple of how I view my assignment as a pastor, “If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
Let us draw from the Lord’s strength. His strength builds up our faith while our strength sputters and utterly runs out. In the same way, we can chat with customer service and tech support to troubleshoot a problem, we can go to the one who always answers with the best help for our lives. Psalm 46:1 reminds us, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” May God give you the strength to do what is right; to speak up when needed; to endure through hardships; to love the people that are difficult; to complete an assignment for work or school; to keep on believing when the evidence is stacked against you and everyone else is giving up.