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"NOT BY MY OWN STRENGTH"



One of my favorite instances of prayer in the Bible is Hannah's prayer in 1 Samuel 2.

In it, as she praises God, she says, "It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the Lord will be broken."


We're faced often with instances in life in which we need strength. Physically, I promise you that there will come a time when you run out of strength.


The most physically fit people will tell you that the body has limitations. The body will literally "shut off" on you if it is put under more stress than it can endure.


Mentally, we're often even weaker.


But, spiritually, we don't have to be. We can be stronger spiritually than we are both mentally and physically.


The first and the last step in developing our spiritual strength and endurance is realizing that true LASTING strength does not come from us.


Any strength that we can build or muster ourselves is fragile because it is forged from a fragile source.



Reminders lay throughout scripture.


Psalm 28:6-8, "Praise be to the Lord, for He has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. The Lord is the strength of His people, a fortress of salvation for His anointed one."



Psalm 33:16-17,

"No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save."



Psalm 89:14-17,

"Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; love and faithfulness go before You. Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence, Lord. They rejoice in Your name all day long; they celebrate Your righteousness. For You are their glory and strength"



Isaiah 40:25-31,

"'To whom will you compare Me?

Or who is My equal?' says the Holy One.

Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:

Who created all these?

He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name.

Because of His great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.

Why do you complain, Jacob?

Why do you say, Israel,

'My way is hidden from the Lord;

my cause is disregarded by my God'?

Do you not know?

Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."




Jeremiah 17:5-10,

"This is what the Lord says:

'Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.

That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes.

They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.

They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.

It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

I, the Lord, search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve."



God wants us to acknowledge that victorious strength comes from Him. When Gideon was setting out against the Midianite forces and was gathering men to rise up next to him, the Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, 'My own strength has saved me.'"



I believe the Lord takes delight in moments like when David was singing a song of praise in 2 Samuel 22, after David was delivered from his enemies and Saul.



David readily acknowledged the Lord's strength when he sang, "It is GOD Who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He causes me to stand on the heights." (verses 33 and 34).

And then again in verse 40, when David continues singing and says, "YOU armed me with strength for battle".


It isn't an easy road. Endurance doesn't naturally flow through our veins. It is something we have to cultivate and infuse into ourselves.

And spiritual confidence isn't typically something we roll out of bed and step into like cozy slippers. More accurately, I find that putting on spiritual confidence is more like one slipper hidden under the bed and the other slipper chewed up by my dog.... It isn't a comfortable fit sometimes and I usually have to search for it and I often stub my toes in the process.



The good news is that all the strength we'll ever need- as well as everything else we'll ever need - is already provided for each of us.


How blessed we are that we don't have to rely on our own fragile strength.

I know that I'm grateful. I'm not strong. At least, I don't feel strong most days.

I'm so glad to know that I don't have to be.



❤️

Sarah Jane



1 Corinthians 1:25, "The foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength."

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