Go in the Strength that You Have

If you have ever thought, The problems of the world are enormous, and I’m just one rather weak-kneed person, keep reading.

If you do not have the physical strength of NFL linebackers, the political muscle of legislators, the influence of celebrities, or the wealth of Wall Street, keep reading.

Some of my favorite books and movies tell stories of people who accomplished great good by the force of their convictions, personal sacrifice and leadership.  The Power of One and Lorenzo’s Oil are two such inspiring movies that, even though I saw them years ago, impressed on me the potential power of human perseverance in the face of challenges.

Stories like these suggest that if we were all less selfish, more unified and a smidgen smarter we could fix all the problems of the world.  Right?

Perhaps we flatter ourselves.

The Bible tells a slightly different story.

In fact, it is God who changes the world.  We pretty much go along for the ride.

Back in the days of ancient Israel God repeatedly demonstrated that He was the agent of change.  To make sure that was unmistakably clear, God frequently chose to work through the most unlikely people.

One of Israel’s most reluctant heroes was Gideon, a weakish man who lived during the time of the Judges (Israel’s adolescent period) when a rival nation, the Midianites, was terrorizing Israel by trashing their fields and stealing their harvests.

We meet our hero, Gideon, hiding in a wine-press when an angel visited him and greeted him with the absurd title of “mighty warrior.” Right.

Gideon was reluctant to enter battle with the Midianites like a “mighty warrior,” but God patiently confirmed his command to Gideon with fleeces that stayed dry when they should have been wet and vice-versa.  Then God said, “You have too many men,” and he trimmed Gideon’s fighting force from twenty-two thousand down to just three hundred.

Gideon’s story in Judges 6-7 is convincing evidence that God does not need our strength or skill as much as he needs our readiness and obedience.

In some mysterious way, God accomplishes his work by his power, and yet he desires and demands our participation.  God said to Gideon, and I believe he says to us, “Go in the strength that you have.”  I guess human weakness is no hindrance to God’s work; nor is it an excuse for my inaction.

No less than the Apostle Paul boasted of weakness after Jesus reminded him that, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  (2 Cor. 12:9)

As one who is not particularly powerful in any way, I desire to act in the strength that I have to the glory of the One who empowers me.

Have you experienced the power of God made perfect in your weakness?  I’d love to your inspiring stories!

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About Judy

At heart I am a student of truth, an observer of culture, and a communicator. Jesus is my teacher and my Lord. In pursuit of these passions, I read as much as I can, serve as Teaching Director for a Community Bible Study group, and write a blog in an attempt to synthesize it all. I take great delight in my relationships with family and friends, and I also enjoy long walks, bike rides and cooking. And did I mention that I like to read?
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10 Responses to Go in the Strength that You Have

  1. las artes says:

    Why do we always think that God is after our talents and abilities … our strength? Does He really need us to get His work done? No! God is about my weaknesses, my inadequacies, and my insecurities because when His power flows through us it becomes about His glory.

  2. marneymcnall says:

    So funny you bring up Gideon. I use his story to get myself going quite often. God working thru us when we let Him. Great post (as usual), Judy.

  3. Amy Peterson says:

    Speaking of stories, have you ever read Stephen King’s, “The Stand”? Aligns perfectly with the bible’s messages of God overcoming evil through a group of unlikely, weak and defenseless people.

    • Judy says:

      I read The Stand quite a while ago, so the details escape me. I remember that I really liked it though! As I think about your comment, Amy, more titles come to mind. The Harry Potter books and the Lord of the Rings trilogy both feature small, weak, even child like, heroes who find themselves fighting much stronger powers. It’s the human story, really. Thanks Amy”

      • Amy Peterson says:

        Yes, it’s been awhile since The Stand was written and, although it’s fiction, the biblical God (rather than some greater power) was was used in this book by weak, defenseless people to overcome evil. I’m still surprised this was written by a secular author!

  4. Judy says:

    Hi Caddo. I love that God called Gideon a mightily warrior before he was anything close to that. Of course, we see it that way in our time-bound thinking. In God’s eyes, we already are the people we will become in Him. What would he call us, Caddo? May he bless you mightily sis!

  5. Caddo Veil says:

    I LOVE Gideon’s story, and this is a GREAT message, Judy! What a wonderful, encouraging reminder that it’s not about how I see myself–all God asks is that I Show Up Everyday! He’ll take it from there. God bless you this week–abundantly!! love, sis Caddo

  6. Larry Who says:

    “…If you have ever thought, The problems of the world are enormous, and I’m just one rather weak-kneed person, keep reading…”

    This is exactly what I was thinking the other day when I spent time in prayer. Then, almost immediately the Holy Spirit reminded me how big our God is. He is the God who parted the Red Sea, made the sun stand still, and robbed death and Hell when Jesus arose from the grave.

    I felt the Holy Spirit remind me that God was always looking for people who believed He could do all those powerful things and more…and then would pray bold prayers asking Him to move in the earth. Because as John Wesley said, “God does nothing but in answer to prayer.”

    • Judy says:

      Amen, Larry. I often think about how we have no idea what God could do in and through us if only we took him up on his promises and power. Here’s to bold prayers and energizing faith!

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