In Our Own Strength

I say a lot of things that make people pause. It is a gift really, or a lack of an internal filter. But recently I said something that left a friend visibly taken aback. He asked how things were going in ministry and if I felt like I was equipped to handle it all. I responded, ‘absolutely not.’ Maybe it sounded more desperate than I felt, after all I do trust that the Lord has equipped me with gifts to be used in my ministry, but I was trying to convey the posture I want to live out – reliance on Christ.

It is in all the books. It is all over the Bible. We work, we do ministry in Christ’s power and not our own. His power is actually revealed in our weakness. We hear it from the pulpit on Sunday and from good seminary classes. But when it comes to brass tacks, we don’t really want to live it out. We like the idea that we are weak and need God’s empowerment… but only on paper, not face to face. We rather do life in our own strength. 

But should it surprise us when the pastor says he needs more than what he has in himself? It shouldn’t and I hope we would rather learn to rejoice and lean into the power of Christ with him.

The elders at our church have rallied around this truth, that we are powerless on our own and need the Spirit to work in us. And I think it is the biblical posture of not only leaders but every Christian. The Apostle Peter tells us that we have all we need for life and godliness in Christ’s divine power (2 Peter 1). And it’s true, no matter if we live like it or not. Peter even says that when we are not experiencing the fruit of this truth it is because we have forgotten it (2 Peter 1:9). But the grace of Christ is our source, our hope and our empowerment for life, ministry and all that he might call us to.

Run to that grace. Be empowered. And tell a few people how weak you are and how powerful Jesus is.

To this truth, the voice of the puritans rings as a great reminder.

“Lord Jesus, great high priest, thou hast opened a new and living way by which a fallen creature can approach thee with acceptance… And here the saints encourage my hope; they were once poor and are now rich, bound and are now free, tried and now are victorious.”

“Every new duty call for more grace than I now possess, but not more than is found in thee, the divine Treasury in whom all fullness dwells. To thee I repair for grace upon grace, until every void made by sin be replenished and I am filled with all thy fullness. May my desires be enlarged and my hopes emboldened, that I may honour thee by my entire dependency and the greatness of my expectation.”

“Do thou be with me, and prepare me for all the smiles of prosperity, the frowns of adversity, the losses of substance, the death of friends, the days of darkness, the changes of life, and the last great change of all. May I find thy grace sufficient for all my needs.” -Valley of Vision, “Grace Active.”

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