Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Strength is Ours for the Taking
"In the day when I called, You answered me; and You strengthened me with strength (might and inflexibility to temptation) in my inner self." Psalm 138: 3
I drive to Walmart to walk around. I have a few minutes to spare before I meet a friend, and I am tired of being at home. I am fidgety and anxious, restless, bored. As I pull into the parking lot, I pray for strength to resist the urge to buy tons of food and binge on my way to my friend. I walk into the store and see all of the glorious food, the ones I typically crave, the ones that make me feel happy and calm when I gorge myself with them. I keep praying for strength, but then I think, "Well, I have enough time. I've been good. I could stand to gain a few pounds. It will make me feel better!" Then I give in to the temptation, buy the food, stuff it in, and enter a food-coma, wondering where God was in that moment.
God has recently shown me that I can pray for strength all I want, but it is my responsibility to tap into that strength, to rely on it to resist temptation! In "Unmerited Favor", Joseph Price talks about how we don't have to earn grace or favor from God. In fact, we can't because Christ already paid the price for us to have it! He bridged the gap between us and God, so there is nothing that we can do once we have accepted Christ as our Savior in order to lose favor or a right standing with God! However, this doesn't mean we lose our responsibility. We don't get a free pass to sin. This just means that no matter how many times we fall, He is always there to pick us up, and strengthen us to resist the next temptation.
We have to accept that strength! Like I would typically do, I would pray for strength, hoping that God would intervene on my free will and "make" me make the right choices. But while realizing that I cannot overcome my addictions and temptations in my own strength, I have to accept that like grace, God has already given us strength! We don't have to ask for it. It is already ours! We have inherited it! All we have to do is realize the source, accept it, and do whatever it takes to flee temptation! And when we do fall, we take responsibility and move on.