If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small. – Proverbs 24:10
In these sayings of the wise, we read that even if we were to trip and fall seven times, we will get up again and again. The author notes that when we fall under pressure, it is because our strength is too small. He acknowledges our human frailty and need for reliance upon God and His provision. Our weakness – humanity – will cause us to fall. We cannot stand on our own.
There was a man long ago who, through his wisdom and understanding, thought he did God a favor by going around and mistreating, imprisoning, and killing Christians. In his zeal for the Law of Moses, this man did what He knew to be right and desired to oppose all that declared the name of the Messiah and preached a message of grace and love through the name of Jesus. After having procured arrest warrants for anyone, who called on the name of Jesus, this man headed off for the city of Damascus to arrest and return these religious criminals to the Temple in Jerusalem for prosecution. On his way there, he encountered a tremendously bright Light that called out to him and asked him why he was persecuting Jesus? The Light was in fact Jesus speaking to Saul of Tarsus, a zealot for God’s Law.
Over the course of many years in service to Jesus after his conversion in Damascus, Saul, now called Paul, learned a hard lesson in life. In his frail human strength, he would fail under pressure. In fact he learned that in his own power he could do nothing. Jesus spoke again, one day, to Paul and told him that God’s grace is sufficient for humans. It is in our weakness that God’s strength is made perfect. Thus, God told Paul not to resist the goading (prodding) of His Spirit to lead him here and there. He ultimately had to learn the lesson in Zechariah’s message that it is not by our might or power but by the Spirit of God that we can do anything. Paul would later write that we can do all things through Messiah who strengthens us and that we live, move, and have our being in Jesus and no other!
So you see, in our vain attempts to do anything without God, we will fail. It is inevitable. Jesus reminded Peter that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. We are to avoid temptation by spending time in prayer with the Father. It is only through Him that we can do anything. Thus, He gives us His unmerited, undeserved favor and power through His Holy Spirit to accomplish anything in life that is lasting and for the advancement of His kingdom.
Do you strive in life? Are you experiencing trouble at every turn? Does it seem like you’re getting nowhere in life? Stop for a moment and examine your next move and the moves already made. You may find that you’ve not been truly relying upon God to provide and lead. You may have taken matters into your own power and hands and are trying to force God’s promise(s) to come true. Abram and Sarai did this when she gave Hagar to Abram to bear a son rather than wait upon God to deliver on His promise, Isaac. I have done it; you’ve done it. We’ve all done it. We’re human, but we must learn to trust God and rely upon His strength, not ours.
Father, whenever I feel like I’m up against a wall or cornered by life, I realize that I have painted myself into the corner because I’ve been trying to hard and doing things in my power instead of obeying You. Help me to see the errors of my ways to build upon the lesson of setting my eyes toward You and following Your ways. There is only one Way, and that is You, dear Jesus. Teach me to walk in Your path of righteousness and to be holy as You are holy. I’ve failed miserably in this life time and again, and I tire of the restlessness that comes from “kicking against the goads.” Teach me the full truth of Your grace being sufficient for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.