As young Christians, we were always taught verses of empowerment. We were always told to remember that,

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

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17

So for all who would believe in Him, Jesus says,

“I come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:31-34

That is why all you need to do when you have a need is,

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:7-11

And when you are faced with problems and persecution, remember,

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16

So “Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;” Psalm 91:9-10
“You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.” Psalm 91:5-8

Indeed, these are the verses that not only the young in faith but even the spiritually ‘mature’ should commit to memory; for they hold timeless truths that can be very timely. And truly, when we look at Jesus and His promises for us, promises which He all made good in the lives of the ones He touched when He was here on earth, we can certainly have the confidence that we have become mighty.

But as we grow older, as we ‘mature’ in the faith, this whole idea of ‘God doing for me because He loves me’ starts changing to ‘who do you think you are’ and we start to hear things like this.

“As your spiritual teacher I give this piece of advice to each one of you. Don’t cherish exaggerated ideas of yourself or your importance, but try to have a sane estimate of your capabilities by the light of the faith that God has given to you all.” Romans 12:3 [Phillips]

Now, hang on. What changed? How did we go from a loving God who takes care of all things for us because He loves us, to a doctrine that tells us to stop having ridiculously grandiose ideas of what we are capable of? Isn’t the love of our Father supposed to be all enabling and perfectly empowering?

Well beloved, yes. You are absolutely right, on all counts. Our Father’s love is meant to empower us and enable us to achieve more than what we can ever imagine. In that respect, nothing has changed. But what needs to be changed is the perception of the tone that Paul was using when he penned Romans 12:3.

We often get taught this verse in an accusing tone. It is as if Paul is telling us to ‘wake up and smell the flowers’ and to get off our proverbial ‘white horse’. But you know what? I don’t think that is Paul’s point at all. In fact, just before this, he says,

“With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to him and acceptable by him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.” Romans 12:1-2 [Phillips]

Paul was not trying to put us down and he was certainly not trying to belittle our abilities. Instead, he was trying to remind us that we should not let the world squeeze us into its mold of ‘us needing to look out for number I’. We should not let the world make us think that there is no one who will fend for us. We should not let the world make us forget all those verses that we were taught when we first began our walk with Jesus. And we should never let the world make us forget that our Father loves us and we can depend on Him.

The next time you have a long sweaty day, stand in front of the mirror for an extra 5 minutes before you step into the shower. Take a long good look at the muck that is on your face and body; then compare it to the garden compost which you just put on your plants and you will remember what our Father always remembers when He looks at us.

“For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:14

So just like Samson without His hair, was weak; just like Thor without his hammer, is defenseless; just like DC and Marvel heroes without their tights, become ordinary; we without our Father are just like what you picked off your skin after a long sweaty day, dust.

Yet, this should not make us feel lousy about ourselves, instead this should encourage us and give us hope. Because now we realize that even though we are dust, even though we are prone to failure, even though we are like Alternating Current (AC), alternating between positive and negative, fluctuating between good and bad, vacillating between obedience and disobedience; when we put our lives into our Father’s hands, our AC becomes DC (Direct Current). Constant, steady, dependable and unchanging; just like our Father’s love for us. And why is it that we can have this confidence that our Father will keep us on the straight and narrow by His energies?

“for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13

So that is why we can be “…convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.” Philippians 1:6 [AMPC]

Now why then doesn’t God just zap us into perfection? Why is there a need for the process? Well beloved, if you could be with the one you loved for their entire life; if money was also no object and your strength had no limit; would you wish for them to be independent of you? Would you need them to be independent of you? Would you want them to be independent of you? Would you not gladly have them depend on you just so you could spoil them by lavishing all your love, attention and energies on them? So too is it for our Father. For through our dependence on Him, He demonstrates His love for us.

Beloved, when we remember that we are dust, we should not bear this thought as a burden, for it was meant to liberate us from our fatigue, from our self-effort, and especially from our fear that we will one day run out of energy. We are not consistent, but we don’t have to be, because our Father is consistent. We don’t always have it all together, but we don’t have to, because our Father holds everything together for us in His hands, always.

So indeed you are mighty. And you never need fear that you will one day stop being mighty. Because it is not you who needs to sustain the might, but our Father sustains all things for you.

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