Christ, My Strength
by Jenny Black, Set Me Free Ministries Marketing Director
Philippians 3:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
I start out this blog using the above scripture as a reminder to myself that I can do what is required of me as a loving woman who knows Christ to be her strength.
Now let me tell you why I need this reminder.
I will be receiving a visit from someone who has the capability to make my thought life take a nosedive. Even though I am truly glad she is coming, I recognize that I need to stay in prayer at all times when she’s with me.
This woman, although tiny, comes with a big spirit of complaining. Complaints about what I consider to be non-essential things. She, however, thinks these complaints are important enough to let her voice be heard–constantly and negatively. When I am around her, I find myself moving from a place of growth, peace, and graciousness back into my old ways of being graceless, merciless, and a bit hard-hearted.
How is it possible that the majority of the time I can walk in my new freedom in Christ (not perfect, but trying to attain), but one very little person with a very negative attitude can bring out the absolute worst in me? Something so ugly that it stays with me for at least a week and causes me to experience those horrible thoughts I used to have?
I suppose it is through these experiences that God teaches us that it is only through His strength that any true change takes place. It is through time spent in His Word, on a daily basis, that I receive strength to get through this difficult time. You see, I have learned that it is easy to talk the talk, especially when there are no conflicts in the way. But in the heat of the moment, I need to stand on the Word of God. I need to stand on the strength of Christ and not allow negative thoughts to take over and cause me to become bitter against the person that is causing my discomfort. I need to recognize that the very person causing my discomfort really needs my prayers, not my condemnation.
When I want to lash out, I need to think about what Proverbs 16:24 says: “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” Instead of giving off a “not so pleasant aroma” when I speak, I want this woman to see me and see the God I represent. I don’t want her to see every other person she knows. My desire is to be totally different than the rest of the world in my thinking, my actions, my graciousness, and my ability to show mercy. I want to stand strong no matter what circumstances are occurring around me. I want to stand strong even when the storm is trying to toss me to and fro.
Yes, I know–it is only for a week, so what am I complaining about? Mostly, I am complaining about my inability to simply love her where she is. I’m complaining because I recognize a character flaw, in myself, that I hate. And now that I recognize it, maybe I can nip this attitude in the bud before it takes over.
So, if after reading this blog, you want to send a little SOS prayer up for me to finish out my week strong, I wouldn’t be disappointed. I hope I can hear God say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." After all, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."