Read: “But he said to me, ‘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 Corinthians 12:9
Reflect: By far my greatest struggle is the war between trying to do the right thing by the strength of my own will versus surrendering control to Christ and using his power. When I encounter an area of my life that needs to change, my first, second, and third instinct is to devise a plan of attack. I generate lists, gimmicks, and reminders — all born out of my will. I truly believe I can change through my own power and planning, which is all fine and good…for a short period of time. I find that I quickly run out of this fuel, and the change I’d hoped for has eluded me. I’ve seen this in my parenting: (“I won’t overreact when my kids push my buttons”), in my marriage, (“I will selflessly serve”), and in my spiritual walk (“I will read my Bible, pray, and consult God’s wisdom every day”). Yet no matter how fervently I resolve to live this out, my own determination fails me and, in turn, makes me feel like a failure. I’m back to the same old poor choices, because I wasn’t strong enough to change.
The only thing that truly enacts lasting change in my life is surrendering my shortcomings to God and asking for his strength and guidance. It requires less list-making and pulling up of my boot-straps and more stillness and listening. And most often I hear God speaking words of encouragement, hope and strength instead of condemnation and finger-wagging. This God-sourced direction produces actual noticeable changes in both my spirit and my actions.
React: Are you more likely to try and change a habit or pattern out of your own strength or through God’s help? Have you experienced his power in making a change in your life?
Pray: Lord, thank you that you have provided your Holy Spirit in us to lean into. Help us remember to seek your strength and wisdom instead of our own.