My friend Carey is an AWESOME teacher, and Wednesday night at Bible study she shared something that was totally an “A-ha” moment for me. Of course I wanted to pass it along to all of you because it was too good to keep to myself. I know if you grab a hold of this truth, it can be as freeing for you as it was for me.
We were talking about strongholds. Every Christian (well, every person really) has some struggle. Pride. Jealousy. Gluttony. Selfishness. Lack of self-control. Insecurity. Addiction. Lack of discipline when spending time with the Lord. Perfectionism. People pleasing. Materialism. Vanity. Lust. Lying. The list could go on.
Here’s the deal about STRONGHOLDS. We can spend YEARS praying, and God may or may not deliver us from that. He absolutely CAN do anything, but He has a grander plan that is all about HIS glory. For some, he might remove it quickly. For some, he might remove it after many years. For some, it may always be a struggle. That is not a reason to give up on praying, but it is a reminder to be patient and trust that the Lord has a greater plan than we could ever comprehend.
So HERE is the good news. We are not perfect, and God does not expect us to be. When the Fall of man occurred back in the garden, sin entered into our lives. With sin comes struggles, trials, weaknesses, and strongholds. I LOVE what 2 Corinthians 12:9 says about our weaknesses. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
God’s power is made perfect in my weakness.
Whew….Take a minute to soak that in, friends!
Personally, I beat myself up when I feel like I fail God. I try SO HARD to get past my own issues on my own, and I fail miserably every time. I KNOW that it’s not something I can do on my own…it has to be something the Lord does IN me. So I pray, pray, & pray some more asking God for help with my struggle, but I still mess up. I get so discouraged when that happens!! Anybody else?? I get so frustrated with myself, and even question God. “God, I asked for help. Why didn’t you take that from me? Why didn’t you help me with that?” (For those of you that don’t know, my struggle is pride. I’ve written several posts about it in the past and the Lord has taught me so much about pride.)
We tend to think of “success” in our Christian walk as not having any strongholds in our life. As never messing up. (That is something we made up in our own minds.) “Success” in our Christian walk isn’t about being perfect beings that don’t have struggles. Becoming a Christian and true “success” is about striving to become more Christ-like. About becoming more obedient. About asking for forgiveness quickly and having a truly repentant heart. About confessing our need for our Savior. About taking our every thought CAPTIVE to Him.
If we were able to do it on our own, we wouldn’t need a Savior. We can’t do it on our own, and thankfully, God doesn’t expect perfection anyway. He wants our hearts. He wants us to run after him with wild abandonment…NOW. Not once we have all our junk together. (Really, does that EVER happen anyway?) He wants us to bring our junk to Him so he can help us and draw us into an intimate relationship with Him. That dependence and close personal relationship…that’s what He’s after. God wants us to learn to take every thought captive, and improve in doing that in every area of our lives. He wants us to confess our need for him in our weakest areas and watch him do a work in our hearts. And then we shall give HIM the glory. THAT, my friends, is “success.” That is not a license to sin. But it is a license to stop feeling like a failure. Run hard after God, and give him your weaknesses. Stop holding on to them so tightly and trying on your own to ‘get it right.’ There is such FREEDOM in that, and goodness gracious, can I tell you how good it feels to REST in that truth?
**Thank you so much for sharing, Carey. I pray this was as impactful for you as it was for me. (She did a much more eloquent job sharing this than I did, but I hope you caught the idea.)