God’s Power or Your Power?

JESUS SPEAKING

Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of me this night, for it is written:  ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’  But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.”

Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of you, I will never be made to stumble.”

Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”

Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with you, I will not deny you” (Mathew 26: 31-35.)


INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Jesus was about to be seized by the temple guards and crucified.  He told his disciples that they would abandon him upon his arrest.  Peter exalted himself above the other disciples, saying, “Even if all are made to stumble because of you, I will never be made to stumble.”  Jesus told Peter his attempt to remain strong would end in failure; and indeed Peter went on to deny that he ‘knew Jesus’ three times before the morning had arrived.  Peter overestimated his own abilities to endure persecution and suffering without Jesus.  (Jesus had provided for their needs; he had protected them; their strength came from him; when Jesus was taken from them, they became as weak as any other men.) After Christ rose from the dead and ascended in to heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit (God) in to their hearts.  The same Peter who had denied Christ three times in fear, marched directly in to the temple filled with people who had crucified Jesus, and he preached the gospel with boldness.  He went on to endure beatings, and a life filled with persecutions, until finally being crucified in the city of Rome (upside down.)  What was the difference between the Peter who ran away, and the Peter who willingly endured a lifetime of suffering for his faith?  The first Peter relied on his own strength, but the second Peter relied on God’s strength.

Another example of reliance upon God comes from the Old Testament.  When the Israelites were in bondage in Egypt, a young Israelite named Moses believed he was destined to free his people.  One day, as he saw an Egyptian beating one of his countrymen, he killed the Egyptian, and buried him in the sand.  A few days later it became known to him that his attempted burial had not worked, and that the Pharaoh was likely seeking his life.  Moses fled to the desert defeated, and spent decades shepherding sheep.  God appeared to him when he was nearly 80 years old and told him to go back in to Egypt to lead his people out of slavery.  He responded by telling God he wasn’t ‘the right man for the job.’  He didn’t believe he was able to accomplish the work.  A once prideful self-reliant young man, had become an old man who recognized his weakness apart from God, and for that reason, he was finally, ‘the perfect man for the job.’  The first Moses, under his own power, was unable to bury even one Egyptian.  The second Moses, under God’s power, lead a nation to freedom, and in the process, was able to bury the entire Egyptian army beneath the waves of the Red Sea.

Western culture promotes pride and self-reliance; but in the divine culture, reliance upon God is paramount.  Is there anything in your life that you are trying to accomplish on your own (outside of God’s power?)  Are you trying to get through a trying time without utilizing God?  Are you struggling alone with an addiction or a bad habit?  Are you seeking to fulfill a need in your life without asking for God’s provision in prayer?  Are you trying to repair some pain in your heart with positive thinking, or will you give in and ask for God to heal you?  Humble yourself, and know that apart from God, failure awaits; but take heart, for with God, nothing is impossible.

“Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You and we lift You up in honor.  You are truly amazing.  We recognize Lord that apart from You we are weak and incapable of accomplishing great things.  We ask You to be our strength; help us to rely upon You and not ourselves.  Give us victory Lord over the things that have caused us to stumble, and may we stand firm, knowing that You are holding us up.  Give us humble hearts that desire to be close to You.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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