God’s Strength

Be strong in the Lord, and the strength of his power. -Ephesians 6:10

About a month ago, my car had a flat tire. I had driven over something that punctured the tire, and it went flat in my garage. It seemed like the logical solution was to change the tire and take the flat into a mechanic to see if it could be repaired or replaced. You might be thinking to yourself, “Surely she did not attempt to change the tire by herself, despite never having changed a tire before in her life.” If you are thinking that, you would be wrong.

I most certainly did set out to change the tire by myself. I dug out the spare and the jack and the tire wrench from the trunk. I figured out the jack and got the car up a few inches. And then I began to remove the lug nuts. I say “began” because despite all the effort I could muster, I only managed to remove three of the five. Three out of five is a fine record for a baseball series. It is not much help with changing a tire.

As I stood in my garage, willing the last two lug nuts to come loose, I realized that my I, determined though I was, had no more chance of getting that tire off than making myself fly. My own strength couldn’t get the tire changed. I needed help.

Life is full of moments like that, isn’t it? We think our own strength will be enough to get us through our problems, even though any spectator would correctly guarantee that it isn’t. We try to power through when we should ask for help. We ignore the signs that we’re failing under the load. We believe that we can do it on our own, despite all evidence to the contrary. Whether the problem is physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, asking for help is usually our very last resort.

I suppose that’s the reason the Ephesian Christians needed to be reminded to be strong “in the Lord,” not in their own power, but rather in God’s. No matter how strong they were, no matter how determined or gifted, they needed the reminder that it was God’s strength, not theirs, that would make the difference.

Where do you look for strength when you realize you need more than you have? Look to God. God’s strength is perfect and powerful when ours is insufficient. This is especially true when facing up against guilt, worry, temptation, perfectionism, or fear: God’s strength is the strength we need.

God, strengthen us with your power. Teach us to rely on you, not our own strength. Amen.