YOUR STRENGTH COMES FROM JESUS

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YOUR STRENGTH COMES FROM JESUS

When I was in High School, our literature teacher came in one day and just before she dropped the mid-term quiz on our laps, she wrote these words of wisdom on the board.

“Thou shall look up for inspiration,
Look down in desperation,
But not look around for information.”

Though we had a good laugh at the time, now, 20 years later, I’m beginning to realize just how pertinent those words are for our lives. Though I’m sure it’s truer than she meant it to be, think about it, when we are in our darkest moments and deepest ruts, where should we look? Around us? But what do you see when you are in a pit? Nothing but walls that seem to close in around you; nothing is rosy anymore, nothing gives hope. There is probably no other living soul that is as deep in your pit than you are. And if there is anyone else there with you, say your spouse or your children, they are no comfort, for it was you who dragged them into that pit in the first place. So looking around certainly brings no comfort. So what then? Look up.

But that is so blasé, isn’t it? Fine and well to look up, but all you see is a small hole of light, midst a dark patch of ground, and it feels something like this.

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?” Psalm 121:1

Where does my help come from? Is my solution going to drop on my lap? Is my name Newton? Am I going to rediscover the laws of gravity?

But beloved, the significance of looking up goes beyond the action. It points to a state of mind. For when we look up, we allow ourselves to realize that

“My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:2

Our help comes from the Lord. And not just any lord, the creator of heaven and earth. Our help is almighty. Our help is comprehensive. Our help is more than sufficient to meet any and all our needs. Indeed, as Jesus revealed to Paul,

“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”…” 2 Corinthians 12:9

You see, there was a time when Paul was placed under much persecution. Well, it was more than once, but during one of those times, Paul received what he specifically called a pain in the ass.

“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.” 2 Corinthians 12:7

Well, alright, thorn in the flesh. But you catch my drift. Paul was on a high. He was receiving revelation from God. And he was using these revelations to great effect for the furtherance of our Father’s kingdom here on earth, as evidenced by the growth mentioned in his letters. But Satan, like he was with Peter (Luke 22:31), was also asking for Paul, so that he could sift Paul like wheat. And so, despite the good work that Paul was doing, there was still a thorn in his side, opposing him.

And isn’t this our story as well? For in much the same way, though we try our level best to do our best for our Father; though we try to live by His will and travel along His path, the devil puts thorns in our side so that the journey becomes painful, so that the journey looks perilous. And ultimately, so that we will give up, or so he hopes.

Such was the case as well with Paul, but look at how Jesus responded to Paul.

“Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”…” 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

Three times Paul asked to be relieved of the pain. Yes, even the great Paul asked to be relieved of the pain. So what about us? When we find ourselves in our pit, when we suffer the pain from the thorn in our side, we feel like giving up, don’t we? It’s pointless to look around us because all we see are the walls of our pit and the thorn in our side. But when we follow Paul’s example and look up, Jesus says the exact same thing to us,

“...My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 [AMP]

His love and His mercy are always available to us, regardless of the situation. And when we are at our weakest, that is when His power is most effectively shown.

Beloved, when you are in a pit and there is a thorn in your side, what can you do? Can you climb out? The pain in your side literally makes you fold over so you cannot even straighten your body, much less climb out. But can you look up? Can you lift your eyes to heaven? You most certainly can. And that is what you must do. For when you do, you will realize that,

“My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:2

So when

“I look up to the mountains;
does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.” Psalm 121:1-2 [MSG]

Your help does not come from your smarts. Your strength does not come from your physique. Your deliverance does not come from the strongholds that man has put his trust in. But your strength to overcome your financial situation, your strength to fight the disease, your strength to bring up your rebellious teenager with love, your strength to put up with your boss, all that strength comes from God, our Father.

And when you realize that, like Paul, you can also say,

“…Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 [AMP]

Because when the power of Christ completely enfolds you and dwells in you, you can be

“…well pleased with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, and with difficulties, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak [in human strength], then I am strong [truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength].” 2 Corinthians 12:10 [AMP]

Beloved, make no mistake, our Father has promised,

“He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121:3-4

Nothing is going to escape Him. Nothing can ever make you fall.

“The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.” Psalm 121:5-6

Not even the sun can harm you, much less the moon. And whatever you think you have neglected to protect, He is watching over.

“The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.” Psalm 121:7-8

No matter where you are, no matter what you are doing, from this time forth, not only shall He preserve you from all evil, you are preserved because you who have put your trust in Him, already have your soul preserved in Him.

Beloved, when you are in your rut, don’t look around for information, for all you will see is your pain, and all you will feel are the walls closing in. Also, don’t look down in desperation, for because you have put your faith in Jesus, you have no reason to despair. He will preserve you, protect you and provide for you, and He is making sure that everything is working out for your good even as we speak.

But do remember that Satan is doing his level best to distract you and get in the way of your provision and protection. So all the more we need to look up and remember that our strength to face all circumstances, comes from our Father, and indeed, the love and mercy of Jesus are always available to us and are always more than enough to overcome the situation.

So beloved,

“Thou shall only look up for inspiration,
Never look down in desperation,
Nor look around for information.”
For your strength comes from the Lord.

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