In Phil 4:13 it says “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”.
Today, I see many people that take this verse to heart and believe they can bull their way through any obstacle. They grit their teeth and switch into warrior mode and start hacking away at the world around them. Like me, they were brought up to believe that if something is going to get done, then I have to get out there and do it, and now that I am “in Christ”, I have more power to “git‘er done”.
On the surface it sounds pretty accurate, after all 1 Samuel 18:7 says “Saul killed his thousands and David his ten thousands”. Clearly God is able to sustain and empower His warriors in battle.
Today though we are in a spiritual battle, Ephesians 6:12 says “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” So, I don’t think the local police are going to appreciate you running around with a broad sword hacking and hewing.
Most of us have read the Bible all the way to the end and we know that for us, as the saying goes, “it ends well”. We know where we are going, and we know that if we can just get through this life, there will be wonderful rewards at the end. For the rest of the world out there though, it doesn’t end well, and as the Bible tells us, things are going to get worse before they get better.
So, the question remains, how are we supposed to get through this life, and make it to the end, if it isn’t by gritting my teeth and pushing forward like a warrior with a sword?
Well, part of the answer is in 2 Cor 12:9,10 where it says: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I have certainly experienced this before, Christ knows about my strengths, my “git’er done” attitudes, but somehow he always seems to use me where I am most uncomfortable, in ways and places where I would rather not go. Sometimes I think God must have an amazing sense of humor to have laid out His plan for us the way He has.
So how can God use me in my weakness? Well, I believe the answer lays in that original verse where it says, “I can do all things through Christ who give me strength”. One of the key words there is “through”. We do Gods work through Jesus and Jesus does His work through us.
In John 14:19,20 Jesus says “Because I live, you also will live.On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”.
And, then in John 15:4,5 Jesus says “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
The branch (you and me) does not decide what good fruit to produce, and then ask the vine (Jesus) to give it strength. Fruit is the natural product that God produces, and the branch simply bears the fruit without effort.
So, the answer is finally clear, We abide in Christ, and keep our focus on Christ alone, and Jesus will accomplish all that He desires, in us and through us, Himself. He plans the work, He does the work, we rest in Him.
Ok, so If I am not gritting my teeth, and rushing around doing all this stuff, then what am I actually doing? It almost sounds boring!
Well, I have two more verse for you and then we are done.
In Galatians 5:22,23 it says “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
You see, when we abide in Christ, and we keep him as our focus, we will exhibit the fruit of the spirit to the world around us, and the world will see that we are indeed different. That we have something truly special, and they will want to have it too and we will have the opportunity to speak out and share the Love of Christ.
Oh, my, I can hear some of you say, that’s scary, I can’t do that. Your right You Can’t, but He Can He Will, through you if you will let Him!
Remember Paul’s words; “when I am weak, then He is strong”. Alright, one final verse;
Matt 10:19,20 says “But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say. “For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”
You see, you don’t even have to do the speaking, God will do it for you.
Finally, the title of this message; “Test me and see if I am true”, is my paraphrase of 1 Thes 5:21 which says; “examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;”.
I am holding fast to these good truths in my own life, and my recommendation to you is that you verify them for yourselves.
Test me to see if I am true.