A strength not my own.

Don’t you just love how God can use situations with our kids to teach us a little something about Himself?

Earlier this week, we all shuffled outside to enjoy the insanely gorgeous weather (and because my boys morph into rabid monkeys the longer they are cooped up indoors). The boys were playing with their Big Wheels trikes when they decided to roll one of them down the big hill in our backyard. It got stuck under a small tree, and their little shoulders drooped when they realized this was going to be tough to get out of.

Actually, that’s an understatement. Liam started to pitch a little mini-fit. “Mommy, I need your help! Can you get it? I want you to get it!” He asked in a whiny, defeated voice. Since I don't really do the whole crouching under small trees in the woods where there are spiderwebs and little things that creep and crawl, I decided this was a teaching moment. (Read, you can get it yourself kid because over my dead body am I getting all up under there.)

We have been learning the letter "I" this week, and with every letter of the alphabet we learn I pick a Bible memory verse that starts with that letter. This week?

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

I reminded Liam of our Bible verse and had him repeat it to me. Then, I instructed him to get the trike. “You can’t do it in your own strength, but you can do it with God’s help.” (Meaning, let God help you so Mommy doesn’t have to crawl under that tree.) So I prompted him to ask for God to help him.

Boom. Just like that, the Lord drew a parallel in my heart about how this truth is at work in my own life.

How many times do I pray small, manageable prayers because I feel the burden of accomplishing those things on my own? I pray that God will answer, but I tend to leave him out of the equation when I find myself trying to figure out my own answers. How many times do I doubt the power that is really available to me?

In the book “The Circle Maker,” Mark Batterson says, “Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers.” But so many times I find myself only praying for things I feel like I could probably take care of myself, in my own limited strength. There’s less risk in that, and I’m only a fair-weather risk taker.

Liam backed the trike out of the tree, and together he and Riley heaved and hoed and huffed and puffed and pulled that monster up the big hill, little by little. And I was behind them the whole time, supporting the weight, keeping their path straight, navigating through all those ridiculous holes that those heinous chipmunks keep burrowing in our yard. (Seriously, someone needs to take a BB gun to those little rodents.) I prompted them to continue repeating the truth, that they can indeed do all things because the Lord was helping them.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 1:18-20

The exact same strength that was exerted to raise Christ from the dead is available to us! So when we say that we can do all things through Christ, who strengthens us, we aren’t just repeating some nice little Sunday School chant. We are tapping into the power that has NO equal, that was strong enough to raise Christ from the dead and exalt him to his rightful place. That is the power that God wants to demonstrate on our own lives. We can because He can.

And don’t we all need more of God’s power at work in our lives? Power to do more kingdom-focused things in our day. Power to say no to ungodliness and the things of this world that weigh us down. Power to minister to others and see our communities set free. Power to overcome.

So how do we tap into God’s strength?

Last night at our church’s community night for the worship team, one of our campus pastors gave us three things we can do to invite the power of God into our lives:

  1. Pursue Him. Pray daily. Worship daily. Seek to know the Source of strength every day.
  2. Humble ourselves. We have to first acknowledge that we need Him—that we cannot do what needs to be done in our own strength.
  3. Serve others. There is something very powerful about laying down our own problems to meet the needs of others. The Bible says we overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb (God’s power) and our testimony (our words, ministering to others by sharing what God has done for us). Laying down our wants to serve someone else brings us closer to God and positions us for His power to be displayed in us.

Watching my boys pulling that trike up the hill when they didn’t think they could made me wonder how many things in my life I think I cannot do because I forget about God’s power that is available to me? Just this week alone I’ve set a goal to get up in the mornings at 5:30, have my quiet time, and then exercise before the kids wake up. I’ve realized that this is the only and best time of the day to get a workout in; otherwise it hangs over my head or I try to force it when I am just too tired and should probably rest. This is a really difficult goal for me, but how can I encourage my boys to walk in God’s strength if I am unaware that I can do the same? I decided to learn from my kids and rely on the Lord’s strength and power to be self-controlled, disciplined, and victorious.

Is there a task you're carrying that you don't believe you're strong enough for? Because He is, you are. Is there a mountain in front of you that you don't believe you can climb?  Because HE can, you can!