Being Strong in the Power of His Might

footstool 2

Isaiah 66:1
Thus saith the Lord, “The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool…”

I was asked by a brother recently for help understanding the Apostle Paul’s thorn in the flesh, spoken of in 2 Corinthian’s 12:7-10. When looking at this block of scripture, I have found that conversation often looms around what the thorn was, however it is not as important as why the thorn was there. The “Why” is always more important than the “What”. We look at certain frailties as deficiencies but it is often those frailties that keep us safe. People often talk about the strength of trees like the oak but never mention the palm tree, however the palm tree can survive much stronger storms than the oak, because it bends and bows with the wind. Our frailties often cause us to bend and bow to GOD, who is the true source of our strength. Many people trusting in their own prowess have fallen because they wouldn’t bow to the principles of GOD.

GOD revealed to the Apostle Paul that His strength was perfected in weakness. Based on that revelation, we should reconsider how we view our weaknesses and what we consider perfect to be. Your Creator new what he was doing when he fashioned you, with your particular strengths and weaknesses. You are made perfectly for what you are called to do. In humility, we have to surrender both our strengths and weaknesses to GOD. GOD is greatest in our lives when we live surrendered to His ability through us, instead of leaning on our own limited abilities. We are in a better position to succeed when we stay in close proximity to Him, in acknowledgement of our weakness, than when we venture away from Him in self-confidence on account of our strengths.

If people had their way, they would all be like the fictional superman, but there is a reason GOD allows man’s thorns. The first reason is that learning to love one another and building godly character is more important than anything else, because NOTHING is sustainable without the principles of Love. We learn love best through understanding relationships. Virtuous interrelationship is the dynamic of life. Learning how to virtuously interact with one another through relationship teaches us the principles of Love. If it were not for frailties, pride in selfish ignorance would keep us divided and unfulfilled. This is why Yeshua taught that the rich seldom enter the Kingdom of Heaven, because they often believe their relationship to money is more important than any other.

The second reason is because GOD has to get all the glory, because He alone is the source of life. Our allegiance, devotion, focus has to remain with GOD, first and foremost. If we are to be of any real benefit to our loved ones or the world in general, it will come from our virtuous interrelation with GOD. If we put our trust in a person because we thought our lives hinged on them, the focus on them would hinder us from reflecting the light of GOD meant to lead others to Him. GOD commands us against idolatry for our own good, and everything exalted against GOD will be brought down.

When YAHWEH is your hero you don’t need your own super powers. Anytime you experience weakness in your life, embrace it as an opportunity to encounter the strength of your Creator in a new way. He wants to show you the strength derived from interrelation with Him, to establish greater intimacy with Him and greater fulfillment through Him. I believe this dynamic is what was behind the intrepid exploits of the Apostle Paul, and also the inspiration behind what he wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” So, do not shy away or be deterred when you find yourself faced with a situation which seems greater than you, see it as an opportunity to grow in your relationship with GOD, which will inevitably strengthen you and bring him glory.

 

Hate: The Power Given to the Enemy.

When you hate someone it is an acknowledgement that they have influence or power into your life. This power or influence is owned by you because it is generated from your own thoughts and beliefs. In this present day there is always stimuli from outside sources aimed at generating hate as well as fear in us. The wicked one desires  to use hate and fear to gain sway in your life and to sabotage your inner peace and joy, so that you might become yet another hateful person alienated from the Creator, who is Love.

It is natural to resent and have animosity toward something that poses a threat. Hate can grow from belief in a threat to one’s well being. In this regard hate can be good, like hating stress, hating carcinogens, hating recklessness and other genuinely unhealthy things. On the other hand, if you believe someone is negatively affecting your well being, then the potential to hate that person is possible and that is not good. Whether the threat they pose is imagined or real, the hate that can potentially grow in your immortal soul toward them will have negative consequences. The scripture tells us that we wrestle not against flesh and blood therefore people are not the problem. It is the principles and beliefs that people have behind the scene causing the issues. This is why we have to learn to hate the evil and love the person.

It is inevitable that unwanted physical circumstances will breach our spiritual life, but we have to own and minimize the impact. We have to minimize the effects of any negative stimuli to the degree it does not reciprocate in us. Another way to say this is we can not internalize negative things to the degree they are able to germinate and produce fruit after their own kind. We internalize things through accepting them as truth or thinking on them to long. We truly have to guard our hearts. To arm ourselves against the influences of hate and fear, we have to entrust our lives in the hands of YESHUA, the Messiah.

The greatest defense against hate and fear producing contaminants is by never yielding any ground in your heart to any thoughts that challenge the reality that YESHUA is able to keep and preserve your immortal soul in well being. If YESHUA permits anyone to harm my body, I still have His guarantee that my soul and eternal well being are secured. My eternal well being has to be the center of my joy and peace or else my life will be miserable. Not everyone is willing to make that shift to being eternally focused rather than focused on the temporal.

This is why the scripture says, “the just will live by faith.” It takes faith in the hereafter to keep one from being turned into what this world is today; a breeding ground for hate and fear. It is only by faith in the eternal works of YESHUA that we are able to love our enemies. That does not mean we are fond of our enemies. It means that we do not transgress YESHUA’s commands in our interactions with our enemy.

In the book of Isaiah Chapter 8:12-13 it says, “Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid. Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” Never put anyone or anything on the level of GOD as having control over your life or well-being. That is actually idolatry. YAHWEH is saying He alone has the power of life and death, and our lives are in His hands alone. Keep your focus on the Almighty, and channel your energy toward holding on to the truth of His Word in obedience, and you will find your strength, joy, and peace renewed day by day.