Friday, January 25, 2013

Daily Devotional January 22 - The 3rd stage of spiritual growth - Strengthened

"That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;  Ephesians 3:16

After God calls us and we are washed, God begins a work in us, by strengthening us. That work that begins, God finishes.  Philippians 1:6 says "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:" 

You and might start something and not finish it or start something and can't finish it, but God doesn't start anything that God does not complete.  Please keep that thought in your mind when it just doesn''t look true.  What God began in each you, God will complete in you, by strengthening you along the way, in a way that best suits what you need at the time. (If you are at all like me, you are probably saying, I really have a hard time with believing that all that befalls me, somehow helps me.  But God has proven Himself to me so many times that to doubt would just prove futile.)

God does not strengthen you in ways that are incongruent with His plan for you, but God graciously strengthens you in the areas that you need at the time.  God is always strengthening you, not just so that you can refrain, sustain and maintain:
Refrain from the unnecessary indulgences of the past
Sustain the blows of life's everyday difficulties
Maintain your growth without too much backsliding
God is also, always strengthening us, so that we can go to higher ground.

There is a season of battling the flesh, but God strengthens you to bring you out with power to overcome.  There is a season of playing war games with reason and logic, where doubt comes your way, but God strengthens you to take you out of that state of mind into the glorious mind of Christ.

There is a season of legalism, self-promotion, or high-mindedness, but God strengthens you to rise above your self and God gives you a glimpse of Himself to take you higher.
There may be a season in your life (maybe right now) that you need the strength that only God can provide to carry you through.  If so, don't spend another minute trying to go through it on your own strength, when the strength of God is available and plentiful.  That work that God begins, God ends and the ending that God brings about is better than any ending that you can bring about. 

But between the great beginning we have with God and the unexplainable ending, there's the in-between time where you live today - And it is in this in-between place where the strengthening of God should/must become what you seek after every day.  Keeping true to your understanding of your whole being:  Physical, emotional, mental, spiritual

We find it true that when our physical body is strengthened, the emotional, intellectual and spiritual components of our whole being are affected positively.  Just the same when we are strengthened emotionally, the physical, intellectual and spiritual components of our whole being are affected positively.  And when our mind is strengthened, the physical, emotional, and spiritual components of our whole being are affected positively.  And last, but not least, when our spirit is strengthened, the physical, emotional and intellectual components of our whole being are affected positively.

There are some things that we can do, to strengthen our body, our emotions, our mind and our spirit and there are some things that we cannot do, that only God can do.  You need a balanced understanding of what your part is, so that you can get on with life doing those things that make you and keep you strong in your whole self.  And you need a balanced understanding of what God's part is, so that you can use our strength in cooperation with the strength that comes from God.

You also need to understand that some of your strengthening is from God, and you receive that strength apart from anything that is of you except the yielding of your will to God's will - the yielding of your strength for God's strength.  Apart from God strengthening you with the strength that only comes from God, the strength that you have of our own is of little value, but in cooperation with the strength that comes from God, the strength that we have of our own is of great value.

Try to remember that you were created to do everything in cooperation with God.
You were created to be completed by God.
In and of our own strength apart from God's impartation to us of His strength:
You can lose the battle
You can fail to complete your tasks
Your marriage is in jeopardy
Your child rearing skills are insufficient
Your ego will take control
You are far less likely to take wise council
You become hardened to godly accountability
You begin to think that you are the strength
It is this completion of us by God that the non-believing world does not understand. 

There are three philosophies that try to explain our existence without a personal relationship with God.
  • There is the group that doesn't believe that God exist at all, therefore the thought of any completion by God or personal relationship with God, is not an option.
  • There is the group that believe that God is, but that we are completed, simply because we exist. The need for personal relationship or being completed by God is just as foreign to this group as those who don't believe in God at all.
  • There is also the group that believes that God is and that God does, but God does what He does dis-attached from us - That God operates entirely on His own and we operate entirely on our own.
In all three of these prevailing world philosophies, God is distanced from man and man is distanced from God. But the truth is:
God is not distanced, but very near
God is not obscure, but very clear
God is not apart like some say
No, God is with us and here to stay

God did not create us to be on our own
God made us to be His home
God did not design us to be apart
God made us to reign in our heart

I know there are those who explain away God's part
But it's only to hide their hardened heart
But even those who turn their backs
God doesn't let fall through the cracks

No, God created every soul, to see and understand
That there's more to life than what is in a man
Only someone who has never seen what God can do through man
Could ever want their life to be outside of His hand

The truth is that God is very near
And God speaks in such a way that we can hear
And what we do with what we hear is how we show
That God is close, so very close, for all to know

God will not be blamed when people cry to let them in.
God will not be found guilty of not providing payment for their sin.
God will not have to make excuses for those who choose another way.
Because God revealed Himself to everyone, every day.

We need the strength of God in this life. We all need God's visitation on our frail bodies, our erratic emotions - our frivolous intellect and our young spirits.  There is a place in our walk with the Lord, where the Lord is our strength.  That is a good place to live.  Tomorrow we look at the fourth stage of spiritual growth which is - prepared.

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