We are all weak and powerless, and filled with fear.
We are all weak without God.
This describes so many of us in all walks of life, no matter our circumstances or situation. When fear strikes us in whatever personal form that takes - for me it's dogs - we hide, we are paralysed, we back away, sometimes we run.
In some situations people face in their lives even our church doesn't know how to help...each other or other people. Just like each individual, the church needs the power of God in order to help and guide itself and others. The church needs God's power.
We - the church - cannot do anything without the power of God.
How often do we try, though? I know I go about my life, my day, so often under my own strength and the result is always a colossal mess. That's coupled with feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, the overwhelming desire to hide or run away...yeah, at my age!!! However, recently I have found - perhaps because I am more aware of this shortfall in me than I used to be, and most definitely because God refuses to give up on me - that following close on the heels of this mess-making caper I keep embarking on, is the sense of relief when I realise (finally) that God is right there, waiting to take over and fix my mess, and take charge of the rest!
Sadly society is having more of an impact on the church than the church is impacting on society. How frightening is that? Media attention is freely given to those who speak out about their disbelief, but whenever any attention is given to the church through the media it is usually from a negative viewpoint. In the celebrity circles there are numerous Christians, or people of faith, but it seems very few of them are even willing to speak out about their belief, for whatever reason. Perhaps they are afraid of its effect on their celebrity status or careers. Perhaps they are fearful of the reactions from their peers. After all, the world is just a big 'ole High School, right? And as one secular song suggests High School Never Ends! Whatever the reason, it's a sad state of affairs when they have at their disposal a fantastic platform for the spreading of God, His Word, and His Kingdom, and they are not using it, or certainly not as they should be.
Even as ordinary, everyday, un-famous people we should still take every oppotunity presented to us BY GOD to speak out about our own beliefs. Do we? Are we afraid too? Okay, confession...I know at times I am!!! I admire the candour of the minister at my own church who reveals to us even his own fears of this. It happens to all of us at some point or another, but the difference in his case is that, more often than I do, Vince (my minister) pushes forward anyway, despite the fear!
I remember years ago I had a friend who lived in another state, and we spoke often on the phone. She was a Christian I found out months after getting to know her, but she revealed to me that she didn't want anyone to know. She had her reasons...we all do for whatever form our short- or long-term hesitation takes, whether they are valid or not. Fear, I believe, will remain the greatest of these. Fear of rejection because of our faith, of mocking and humiliation, fear of persecution, fear of finding ourselves standing all on our own outside the popular group or the charmed circle...I could go on, this is a long list!
We need to remember again to draw on the power of God within us...the same power that rose Christ from death.
We need to know God's power to experience the Lord's power in our lives. We mustn't try to live relying on our own power and strength. Satan wants to get control of our children, our family and friends, and us. We need to encourage our children and the people around us to turn to Christ, get to know Christ, to accept Christ...we need to get to others through Christ before Satan gets to them. And whether those very people want to know it or not, the truth remains that a life apart from Christ is a life in allegience of Satan! Anyone who does not accept and follow Christ, sins against God and rejects Him, whether they are a good person or not, whether their lives are an action by action itinerary of good works or not!!! The misconception of evil is that it is only the ugly, the heinous, the abhorrent, but anything that keeps us apart from a relationship with God is all those things to Him...it is rejection of Him. Anything less than the acceptance of Jesus Christ is sin against God.
"Bible Answers for Almost All Your Questions" by Elmer L. Towns gives this answer to the question 'What is sin?'; Sin is an act, attitude, or response against the Person or law of God. No acceptions!
T.V., music, newspapers, magazines...any media outlet is bombarding our young people with immorality and evil. And so much is being passed off as acceptable. The censorship scale is being widened allowing in more depravity, not only on a world-wide arena but in our own homes as well. Children and young adults need the power of God to break free of this, and to live successfully in this life. Really, I think this applies to anyone of any age. There are men and women, church leaders, people (including Christians) in every area of life and in any age group, who are influenced by the effects of the media, and most especially today by the internet.
We will continue to repeat our mistakes if we don't have God to guide us right, and if we don't pay attention to that guidance - we stay with what we know if that is all we know! Those in prisons are a great case in point. I've encountered inmates, through Crossroad Bible Institute, who before coming to Christ admitted that they would go back to their old ways if they were freed because it was all they knew. It is our responsibility to show them that there is something new for them to strive toward. As Christians we need to speak out to these people, to anyone who lives apart from Christ and through the power of God within us show them a new way...the ONLY way.
We need to confess our needs to God in prayer, and show people that they can do the same. We all have needs, and whilst it is good to pray for others we need also to pray for ourselves and bring our needs, troubles, confusions and our desire to grow ever closer to Him, before God. Our joys and happiness too, of course. God wants it all.
Before you can solve a problem you must first recognise the cause. Some of the reasons why we may struggle in our day to day life, and through the trials life throws our way, are:-
*Too much faith in past victories!
That last one forces accountability, doesn't it? I've experienced that! :-( I've had successes in the past and then the next time tried to march forward on the wake of that rather than on the power of, and the ability presented by God.
Instead we need to have faith through God, confindence through God. I heard a saying; "Pray and doubt and you do without. Pray and believe and you will receive."
Spend time in prayer before doing anything. Seek God. Prayerlessness is a cause for lack of faith. Where there is little prayer there is little faith. All too often we lack faith. Our failures are God's reminder to rely fully on His power. Jesus has complete dominion over Satan and his followers. Satan just doesn't know when you're dead lie down!!! As Christians we should want and desire to see more people saved....to see ALL people saved.
Have faith in Jesus. Bring it all to Jesus. Rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome everything - problems, temptations, etc. Consider these things that can bring us into a deeper faith.
*Remember what Christ has done.
*Read God's Word.
*Share our own experiences of God.
*Ask God for stronger faith.
*Ask God to cast out our doubt.
*Claim God's promises.
God cannot lie! Return to the promises of God all throughout His Word.
Have faith, of course, but also be persistent in prayer. Have regular prayer time. Prayer is an acknowledgement of not only God, but God's power. Pray and believe, and the faith, insight and wisdom will come.
Hugs - Jeanne.