Finding Strength in God Alone

The Man Who Found Strength in His Weakness

I love to see horses galloping across a mountain ridge, muscles bulging, nostrils exhaling steam in the crisp air. What a picture of strength and power to anyone who views such a sight.

Mankind has depended upon the strength of the horse to defeat his enemy in battle, but it is a strength upon which we are commanded not to depend. The strength that we must depend upon can only come from the Source of All Strength who desires to bestow us with power that confounds the unbelieving onlooker and draws their attention to Almighty God.

The horse is a symbol of strength.
The horse is a symbol of strength. (Photo from Pixabay.)

We each have leaned upon our horses of money, family, friends, and societal status. Our experiences have taught us, however, that these horses will not sustain us.

The Bible tells us about a man named Paul who leaned upon his horse of religious pride. He was a Pharisee of Pharisees, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, and considered himself blameless concerning the law. Some might say he was a bully who used the law to hide his own weaknesses.

Paul’s intention was to destroy the followers of Jesus. Yet he was brought to his face in the dirt on a road to Damascus. The brilliance of God’s presence stripped him to the foundation of his religious beliefs. The walls of his resistance were broken down by a voice from heaven, “[I]t is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (Acts 9:5). Left blinded, Paul’s companions led him by the hand into Damascus where he was left on Straight Street. When the dust settled, three days had passed before he finally regained any sight.

It was there on Straight Street where the Master Architect in Heaven began to reveal His plans for Paul’s life. Through the disciple, Ananias, God began laying a new foundation that would enable Paul to truly know Christ and the power of His resurrection.

Following God’s instructions, Ananias lay his hands upon Paul speaking words that opened the windows of Paul’s understanding. His life’s calling was revealed to him. He would be God’s witness to all men, experiencing great things “for Christ’s sake” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Paul’s experiences “for Christ’s sake” soon revealed a path that would take him through mental, physical, and emotional suffering. Having a weak body and contemptible speech, his horse of self-sufficiency toppled. Seeking deliverance from his weaknesses, God’s words of wisdom came to him, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Humbled to submission, Paul realized that he could do nothing without the indwelling power of Christ. He became thankful for his weaknesses because those weaknesses revealed Christ’s strength at work through him.  In fact, his weaknesses became the tools that God used to make his ministry powerful.

“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).

(Photo from Pixabay.)
(Photo from Pixabay.)

What transformation must take place before we can truly become strong? With Paul, this transformation began with prayer, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6).

God gave Paul a simple instruction, “Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”  Paul obeyed and was led to the city of Damascus, and there the cracks in his foundation were replaced with the solid foundation that enabled him to truly stand for Christ.

As Paul yielded to God’s plan, his life was transformed. He found that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him. The horses that he had previously depended upon were laid aside.

                “And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:3–5).

Many are the stories that one could tell of those who “out of weakness were made strong” (Hebrews 11:34).  Weakness is the catapult that drives us to God’s presence. It is the horse that bucks us into the arms of God’s abounding grace that is given to us as we submit to its transforming power to conform us to the image of Christ. We learn to embrace this misunderstood friend as we lay ourselves prostrate before a holy God and wait for His empowerment from on high.

Circumstances of life may have left us in difficult places. Yet as we yield to God’s transforming power, we will discover that He can make our lives fruitful regardless of any handicaps or weaknesses that hinder us.  Emptied of our own strength, we must acknowledge that the horses of this world cannot empower us. We must then choose to embrace the Source of All Strength, our Almighty God, who enables us to do all things through Christ.

My prayer for you today is that you will focus not upon your weaknesses but upon the One who can accomplish great feats through you that will confound unbelievers and draw them into the arms of the true Source of All Strength. When you feel weak and defeated may the following verse be an encouragement to you. It has helped me tremendously when my weaknesses have tried to overwhelm me.

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward [me]; that [I], always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).

Prayer

Dear Father in Heaven, I realize I have no strength of my own. I confess that I have depended upon the horses of this world and they have failed me. I now lay them aside and embrace You as the Source of All Strength. I yield to Your transforming power. Enable me to fulfill Your purpose and follow Your plan for my life. Thank you for Your indwelling presence that will make my life fruitful and will empower me to do Your will through Christ my Saviour. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Questions

  1. In what ways do we allow our weaknesses/handicaps to hinder us from doing God’s will?
  2. How is God’s strength perfected in us?
  3. What horses have I personally leaned upon to strengthen me instead of leaning upon the strength that only God can give me?

All Scripture quotations above are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.

©2017 by Peggy Clark

The Creators’ Fence Gives Protection

The Safety within the Fence

I love to see horses galloping across the pasture, manes tossing in the breeze.

It gives me a sense of freedom, a feeling inside that makes me feel as if I am running with them.

The power that horses display as they race each other, back and forth, can be somewhat intimidating. The scene makes me appreciate the stature of such amazing creatures of God.

Horses show their curiosity.
Horses show their curiosity.

Although we have thoughts of freedom when we see horses displaying their playful antics, it is the fence surrounding the pasture that keeps them within the realm of safety.

The fence is as much a force to safely protect the horses inside its structure as it is a force meant to keep dangerous intruders without. It isn’t as if the horses aren’t able to jump the fence. They have the power to do so. But, they know and respect their boundaries.

The ranch owner inspects the fences he has installed on a regular basis. Any breakdown in the stockade must be repaired immediately.

A breach in the enclosure may cause an unsuspecting animal to run loose into the pathway of an oncoming vehicle or into a field with depressions that may cause a broken ankle or leg.

The rancher also inspects the pasture regularly to make sure that there is nothing to harm his animals. He looks for dangerous weeds and shrubs and destroys them in the proper manner.  Animal holes or dens are closed and the inhabitants removed to other locations. The growth and abundance of grass is checked and areas closed off if necessary. His tasks are never-ending.

Fences protect animals from harm.
Fences protect animals from harm.

Just as a rancher strives to protect his beautiful horses, God wishes to protect His most precious creation, mankind.

God has given the Ten Commandments or Decalogue as a fence of protection.  Its instructions are given to protect mankind from the heartaches and pains that are found outside His fence.

Some who do not understand the purpose of the rancher’s fence may see it as a restriction. In other words, they may see it as a detriment to the exercise of freedom. However, the horses are free to roam anywhere within the confines of the fence. Due to those confines, the horses experience security, freedom from fear, and freedom from painful experiences.

The world outside the fence is not constructed to protect the best interests of the horses.  The roadside does not extend mercy to the horse, nor does the landscape provide a way of safety.

Wild animals may see the horse as an appetizing meal. Fresh water is not readily supplied, and a healthy meal is not always granted. Thorns and thistles, as well as, stones and pebbles abound. These can do great harm to the horses’ feet.

In the same way, those who do not understand the purpose of God’s laws may see them as restrictive or as a detriment to the exercise of freedom. However, God has given mankind the choice of remaining within His fence or roaming outside its protective borders.

The world outside God’s fence does not operate in the best interests of mankind. The snares of Satan lie in wait to entrap unsuspecting visitors. His deathtraps shed no mercy on those who stumble upon them.

Because the refreshing water of God’s Word is neglected, thorns and thistles grow around one’s heart leaving guilt and painful scars. The bondage of sin grows deeper and its vines entwine the mind and heart of those who enter its pathway.

In contrast, God’s fence brings freedom from guilt, insecurity, and bondage. It gives liberty to live happily and joyfully within its confines. Its inhabitants enjoy the blessings of God and receive His promises of fruitfulness. His laws also give value and meaning to life.

Ten Commandments from the Holy Bible
Ten Commandments from the Holy Bible

When the horse stays within the confines of the fence, he is protected by his master. But when he leaves the confines of the fence, he is open to the forces of destruction.

When we live within the confines of God’s fence, we are protected by our Heavenly Master. But when we leave the confines of His fence, we open ourselves to the forces of destruction.

God has given us His laws “for our good” that we may lead peaceable and happy lives. It is always in our best interests to live inside God’s protective fence.

And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day. Deuteronomy 6:24


Share in the conversation:
What feeling do you experience when you see horses galloping across a field?
How do fences protect the horse?
How is God’s Word like a fence of protection for you?

 

Copyright©2017 by Peggy Clark