Philippians 4:13: One of the Most Memorized Verses in the Bible.
This graphic is the view I get at the end of bright day, driving down the drive to our home in the woods. The sunset over the silhouettes of God’s art blesses my soul in all seasons. Perhaps I’ve had a day where I’ve battled and clicked off my task list like a champ or maybe the day just sucked. For many of us, we have second shift lives that we are called to. Responsibilities, tasks, promises, and blessings to tend to. The circumstances of the first part of our day, don’t often matter…This view makes me stop and breathe. (And sometimes I need His strength to do just that!)
When I’m Overwhelmed I Need His Strength.
Many days, my days, like many of you, end with several more tasks piled up and waiting for me at home. Also waiting are my blessings. Sometimes I can’t see the ‘sunset for the trees’. The beauty before the “What’s for supper?”, loads of laundry, dog hair covered floors, homework or school projects to help with. Sometimes I need to remember that I need extraordinary strength just to finish my day, let alone start it. This scripture has a very practical, daily application in my life. It reminds me not only of how I can get from ‘point A to point B’, but also, how I’ve gotten from ‘point A to point B’…HIS strength alone.
Many of have had to juggle all of this while having an added burden of an illness, an ill loved one, a tragedy, a death of a loved one, being a victim, an embarrassing and humiliating event, and the list goes on and on. The task list remains, and so do the blessings to tend to. Life events can put them all into perspective for us. God’s perspective.
I’m often told, by those that know me the best, how “strong” I am. I am not. I look back at what all my day, week, year and life has entailed and I think, “How did I do all of that? Get through all of that?”. “I” didn’t.
Here’s My Secret:
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
Some interpret this verse as a battle cry to rally their inner troops to attack the task at hand with gusto and excellent performance. Some, use it as an acknowledgment of a weakness that keeps them from attaining success. They know only the strength of Christ can fill the void that weakness causes. Some, meditate on this inspired word of God in order to visualize the ever present help that Christ promises to provide in order to guide us to a righteous life, free of sin’s grip. Paul, the author, speaks of Christ’s strength making the difference for him by being ‘content’ in a very difficult and uncomfortable situation and also in times of plenty. He calls this strength a “secret”! This secret has helped me to put one-foot-forward at a time, during some pretty difficult circumstances. Thank You Jesus!
In Times of Plenty You Need His Strength.
Children of God who are able to show grace, humility, mercy, generosity and love during times of plenty, do so with the STRENGTH of Christ. Our sinful nature directs us to do just the opposite- to become selfish, worldly, arrogant, boastful, spiteful, envious and power seeking or to become simply distracted from our blessings. Christians who claim to LOVE above all else and serve the Father of mercy and grace, rely on the strength of Jesus to prune off the dead branches of sin and to spring forth the fruits of the Spirit. The result of living in a time of plenty and not relying on the strength of Christ to bear good fruits, leads to destructive character and circumstances. The world’s lie is “You only need God in times of crisis.” That’s a lie that can get you into deep peril. Promise.
Galatians 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, you, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” … :26 “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
Most of us simply cannot do away with sinful habits on our own. I know I can’t. My desire to bear the fruit of the Spirit comes out of my passion for my Savior. It comes out of my knowing him as “Friend”. It comes from Him answering the guttural cry I wailed up to the heavens when I was told my child was dying or when I learned of a parent passing. It comes from him giving me another breath when I was so afraid I might be taking my last. It comes from him delivering me from myself during a time where I felt unworthy to bear anything, let alone righteous fruit. It comes from seeing tangible answers to prayers written in my journal decades ago or just yesterday. It comes from learning to seek Him and seeing Him in each and every day, regardless of the joy or mourning it brings.
I want to encourage you! Even though God has given me a passion to serve him and a desire to live fully for him, sometimes it’s not easy. I have weaknesses. However, I know this to be as true as the sun will rise and set, “I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH.” It’s a promise I put into action daily. In times of plenty and in times of struggle. It’s my secret weapon. It’s why you might call me “strong”.
So whether you are running a race for gold, battling your own sinful nature, or begging for the life of a loved one, whatever your station on this journey is, I want God’s word to empower you to have hope and draw strength from His promise to be ever-present and ever-true.
“If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fail, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. -Psalm 37:23-24
May His Perfect Strength Carry You Today,
Jana Kaye Kuhnert, Author & Speaker at RisebyLifting.com
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