“…when I am weak, then I am strong,” (2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV).
My hands were clammy. Beads of sweat formed on my brow. A familiar knot in the pit of my stomach threatened to push me toward the restroom, and my dry tongue began cleave to the roof of my mouth. It was 10:25 a.m. In just five more minutes the dreaded event would begin.
When I was in the first grade, the one academic exercise I feared more than any other was the spelling train. It was sheer torture—at least for me.
“Okay, students,” Mrs. March would say. “Everyone pick up your chairs and move them over to the chalk board. It’s time for the spelling train.”
Twenty first graders slipped their munchkin-sized chairs from their desks to form a semi-circle around our chief engineer. I always put mine at the end.
“Now remember the rules,” she explained. “I am going to hold up a flash card. If you read the word correctly, you get to go to the front of the train. If you miss it, you have to go to the caboose.”
She held up the cards one by one, and the class chugged along at a quick pace. Dog. Sally. Bob. Spot. Red. Blue. Mother. Stop. Run. Then it was my turn.
“Sharon, what is this word?”
Well, more often than not I had no idea. And when that happened, I would either guess wrong or sit in silence. I spent most of my time in the first grade spelling train in the caboose.
As the year progressed, I did move up into the passenger cars a few times, but usually I didn’t stay there long enough to keep the seat warm. There was one particular word that kept me from ever visiting the engine: T-h-e. So Mrs. March decided she was going to help me. For two weeks, she made me wear a name tag that read “THE” plastered on my chest like the scarlet letter. I can still remember kids coming up to me on the playground, pointing at THE on my chest, and saying, “Hey, what’s that? Why are you wearing that? Is your name The? Are you stupid?”
Eventually I did learn how to spell the word t-h-e, but that’s not all I learned. I learned that I was stupid; not as smart as everybody else; and just not good enough. But you know what? That wasn’t true.
Those were lies from the enemy. And it took many years for God to hold me by the hand and help me see myself as He sees me: a uniquely created, dearly loved, completely forgiven, and totally accepted child of God who is capable of doing everything He has called me to do by the power of the Holy Spirit.
That was more than forty years ago, and now I have found joy in stringing written words together. I’ve noticed that life has many unusual twists and turns when God is at the helm. He takes our greatest weaknesses and turns them into our grandest strengths. That’s what happens when we turn our lives over to God—we get out of the caboose and get to ride up with the chief engineer to places we never imagined possible. When we are weak, then He is strong.
Where are you in the train of life right now? If you’re hiding in the back, listen closely and you just might hear God calling you up front where you belong.
Dear Heavenly Father, it’s amazing to think of all You have done in my life. You have taken my greatest weaknesses and turned them into my greatest strengths. When I am weak, through the power of the Holy Spirit I am strong. Thank You for working in me and through me. And help me never to believe the lies of the enemy that say I’m not enough again. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
What Do You Think?
Do you ever feel like you are in life’s caboose? Always at the back? f so, click over to my free living life resources and read the list of Your New Identity in Christ.
Now, leave a comment and tell me which three mean the most to you.
For extra encouragement on seeing yourself as God sees you, read 2 Corinthians 11:1–12:10
Do you love a good story? I do! Stories tug at the heart and open the eyes to the truths of Scripture in a way only God can do. I have complied 100 of my favorite stories and devotions into one book titled, Listening to God Day-by-Day. It is the perfect book for a quick pick-me-up before you start your busy day or a sweet dreams closure before you turn off the bedside lamp at night.
And here’s some good news, this book is specially priced for the month of June. Get one for yourself, and we’ll include another free for you to share. It won’t show up on your receipt, but we’ll make sure it is included in your package.
And if you’re struggling with feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy, check out my book Becoming Spiritually Beautiful to learn how I overcame those inhibiting emotions in my own life.
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All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work,” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV).
When I worked in a medical office several years ago, we had what we called tray setups. On the trays were all the instruments we needed for various procedures. We prepared them ahead of time and stored them in a cabinet for later use. When a patient came in for a certain procedure, we didn’t have to scramble around to find what we needed. We simply walked to the cabinet and pulled out the prepared tray. Voila! We were ready to go!
That’s how it is with Scripture memorization. When you have Scripture hidden in your heart, you can “pull out” the exact verse you need when you need it. Here are examples of some verses you might need in your “storage cabinet.”
When you are afraid:
For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
When you are angry:
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1 NIV
When you are confused:
I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Psalm 32:8 NASB
When you are frustrated:
Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3 NASB
When someone hurts you:
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32 NASB
When you are lonely: Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. Hebrews 13:5 NIV
When times are hard:
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. 2 Corinthians 4:17 NASB
When you want to give up: I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 NASB
When you are worried:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6 NASB
When you mess up big time:
One thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 NASB
When you have a need:
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 NASB
These are just a smattering of verses that will equip you to handle what life brings your way. Some are from the New American Standard Version and some are from the New International Version.
I encourage you to print out this list, add to this list, and memorize the list. Then when the time comes, you won’t have to scramble for what you need. It’ll be right on the tip of your tongue and in the storage cabinet of your heart.
Dear God, thank You that you have given us every thing we need to live a life of godliness and the truth. Help me to commit Your Word to memory. And remind me of those truths when I need them most.
In Jesus’ Name,
How do you defeat the enemy when he is pestering you with lies – lies that cause you to fear, doubt, and worry? You defeat him with the truth! When it comes to Satan, you don’t have to out muscle him, out shoot him, or out smart him. You just have to out truth him. If you would like to learn more about how to win the war over your thought life and stand solidly in the truth, then check out my book, I’m Not Good Enough and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. You’ll learn how to realize the enemy’s true identity, recognize the lies, reject the lies, and replace the lies with truth.
Paul said that he “put no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3). In other words, he didn’t think that he was good enough because of any particular talent or ability that he had on his own. But his confidence came from his understanding of who he was as a child of God. Someone once said, “A man wrapped up in himself makes a pretty small package.” But a man, or woman, wrapped up in God is an amazing sight to behold.
I believe we can change our inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy into unshakable confidence by understanding who we are, what we have, and where we are as a child of God. I am not advocating confidence in self, but confidence in God – confidence in who you are because of what Jesus has done for you and what the Holy Spirit can do through you. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5,6 TNIV). Connected to the vine you can do everything God calls you to do (Philippians 4:13).
Paul knew what he could accomplish on his own…nothing. Oh, he could be busy. We all can do that. But bearing “fruit that will remain” is another story. This paraphrase shows how he viewed his own personal weaknesses:
I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
‘My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.’
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now that I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size-abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10 The Message)
Paul had great confidence. The prefix, “con” means “with” and the root “fid” means faith.” So a confident person is one who walks in faith. We walk in faith that we are holy, chosen, redeemed, dearly loved children of God who are empowered by the Holy Spirit, equipped by our Maker, and enveloped by Jesus Christ. Now that’s real God-confidence.
Dear God, I know that I can do nothing of any true lasting value apart from You. However, when I abide in Christ and He works through me, I can accomplish anything You have called me to do. Help me to understand the power that is within me and to have unshakable confidence in Christ today.
In Jesus’ Name,
What do You Think?
Take a look at what you have been trying to accomplish in your own life. Are you working in your own strength, or are you depending on Jesus working through you?
What do you think Jesus meant when He said, “Apart from me you can do nothing?”
I’d love to hear your thoughts about that! Leave a comment and tell me what you think Jesus meant by “nothing.”
Today’s blog was taken from my book, I’m Not Good Enough and Other Lies Women Tell Themselves. If you need a confidence booster, then this book is for you! Begin seeing yourself as God sees you and discover the amazing potential you have to live the victorious Christian life!
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