Recently I was preparing an article for publishing on WeUsed2bu and I was proof reading one of the posts. The girl writing in to the counselor wrote in her comment, ‘I want to be a really strong Christian, but I struggle.’ When I read this I thought about how many of us have been there with that same thought. I know that I have, especially when I was younger in my faith but also when I feel completely overwhelmed by temptation and testing, when I fall short and miss the mark, when I feel offended or hurt and become angry. Her honest confession inspired me to write this post to encourage anyone who has ever had this same thought.
As I grow in my faith and as I renew my mind with God’s Word I see more and more that our strength as Christians has to come from leaning on and relying on Him daily; trusting Him moment by moment and struggle to struggle. We have to learn to allow ourselves to overcome in this world not by our own power or might, but by the power of the Holy Spirit and by his grace and mercy. (Zechariah 4:6) Look at what the Apostle Paul says here to the Corinthians:
“But by the grace (the unmerited favor and blessing) of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not [found to be] for nothing (fruitless and without effect). In fact, I worked harder than all of them [the apostles], though it was not really I, but the grace (the unmerited favor and blessing) of God which was with me.” - 1 Corinthians 15:10 – Amplified Bible (Emphasis mine)
Paul knew it was God’s grace working through him that gave him everything he needed to fulfill his calling, to do all the good things God planned for him. It was God’s grace that sustained him in the face of trouble, calamity, persecution, hunger, destitution, danger, and even when threatened with death. God’s favor and blessing, His mercy and grace are with us also. In fact He loves us so much and He is so faithful that His mercies never cease. In fact they are new every morning. We don’t have to live off of yesterday’s mercy and grace because today his mercies are fresh. I love how Lamentations chapter 3 says it;
“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” (Emphasis mine)
Of course we are going to have struggles and troubles in this world. We are going to fight temptation and battle moments of weakness in our flesh, but thank God we have grace covering us. When, by faith, we received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we received God’s grace FOREVER, not as an excuse to sin but as the power by which we can live victorious Christian lives here in this world. (Romans 5:1-2) I love how Kay Arthur said it in her book, ‘Lord, I Need Grace to Make It Today’;
“His grace covers our past and equips us for the future.”
So we have God’s grace and mercy covering us and we have the Holy Spirit empowering us, giving us the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you and me. It is the Spirit of God living within us that will enable us to be more than conquerors. (Philippians 2:13, Romans 8:11)
In closing the words that Paul wrote thru the Spirit in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 comes to my heart reminding me that we don’t have to try to be perfect cookie cutter Christians who act like they have it all together. We can be exactly what we are; people saved by the grace of God, walking in the Spirit by the grace of God, overcoming by the power of the Spirit of God in us, accepting and depending on God’s grace and mercy to fulfill our callings daily. His grace is enough for us.
May the Spirit of God allow these final verses that I’m sharing here to penetrate our hearts, soul, and spirit. May He bring to our remembrance the truth that His grace is all we need to be really strong Christians.
“But He said to me, ‘My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness.’ Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!
So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength).” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – Amplified Bible (Emphasis mine)