Thursday, April 29, 2010

Being Strong in Him

Growing up, I have learned many lessons, had hard times, been through struggles, and fallen into sin. There have been many times when I have fallen into temptations and sin, and I find myself stuck. So I would get myself out of trouble, only to fall and do it all over again. I can’t even count how many times I went through this cycle in my life. I always wondered what was wrong with me, why can’t I just stop whatever I was doing. I always tried so hard, I was a strong Christian girl and yet I kept doing the same thing over and over again.

The problem was that I would try and get out on my own. I was being very independent and self-assured. I thought I could be the strong one and stop. I would do it on my own. I would try and stop the cycle because I was strong enough. But I would go about it all wrong.

One time, awhile ago, when I had really screwed up, and I was lying in my bed, trying to figure out how I could make it right, it hit me! I was trying to fix things by myself, instead of going to Christ. I had never cried out to God, asking for His strength to help me, I had always relied on my own power.

This is all too often a belief in our culture as well, and it has deeply taken root in the Church. We have so many self-help programs, books, and motivational speakers. So many leaders in our culture continually push us to believe in the strength of ourselves. They teach stuff about becoming a better you. They try to build our self-esteem, so that we can find our own power to help us. Instead of going to the Higher power, we look within our fallen, depraved self’s. On occasion one does quit their ugly cycle of alcoholism, drugs, or whatever it is they are enslaved to. But they still have the tendency to fall right back into it, because they are only relying on their own strength to help them. Then they may get back out of it because someone, some preacher, or TV talk show host, told them they can do it if they only find the power within themselves. Instead of everything being Christ-centered, it has become a man-centered gospel of help and forgiveness.

Instead of seeking our own strength to help us, we need to cry out to the Lord, ask Him for His strength and guidance to get us through the tough times. Acting like we can do it ourselves only digs us deeper into sin. “The Lord is the strength of His people...” (Ps. 28:8) “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart.” (Ps. 73:26) “I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (IS. 41:10)

When we come to God, with a humble and contrite heart, He promises to be our strength, to send His Helper and fill us. “A broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Ps. 51:17) “This is the one to whom I (God) will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit.” (Is. 66:2) Recognizing our sin and incapability to turn from it on our own is the first step to turning around. Depending on God’s strength and the presence of the Holy Spirit is what will turn us around fully and put us on the path of sanctification.

Even after I realized all this, I still had a hard time turning around. As fallen man, we will still continually fall, all the way up to judgment day. We all still make mistakes, and wrong choices. But we know that when we do fall, there is One who forgives and picks us back up again. Our own strength isn’t enough, knowing this is important. He gives us the strength and help that we need, knowing this is even more important!