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When You’re Not Strong

God’s strength is sufficient and always ours to receive.

Renee Oglesby April 20, 2022

When your relationship with almighty God Himself becomes the priority of your thinking, I can tell you with all of my heart: Your feeling of neediness—so many of your desires, your anxieties, your fretting, and your caring—will absolutely disappear, and you will wonder how and why and where they went. That’s the awesome mystery of this relationship. You have to be willing to try it. And you won’t try it as long as you’re satisfied with where you are, with what you have.

—Charles F. Stanley, “Hungering and Thirsting for God"

Illustration by Adam Cruft

It probably says a lot that I find it hard to type the word “sufficient” without the word “self” in front of it. If you have lived alone for any amount of time, being adequate for any task that arises seems a survival skill. Not that clearing the clogged kitchen drain or painting a rusty railing are life-or-death matters, regardless of how long they’ve languished on the to-do list! Still, crossing them off as complete is really satisfying—even a point of pride (not necessarily the bad kind).

In the sermon quoted above, Dr. Stanley puts an entirely different spin on self-sufficiency, describing it less as a virtue and more a potential symptom of neediness, unnecessary worry, improper longings, and misplaced priorities. The problem with not leaning on the sufficiency of Christ is that we are relying on our self-sufficiency instead. And while that may work for a time, life inevitably brings far more trying circumstances than a clogged drain or rusty rail. There are losses and disappointments and challenges of all kinds—things far beyond our human ability to handle with any sort of adequacy, much less grace. We do have some reserves of strength within us. But “God is our refuge and strength, a very ready help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1, emphasis added).

The problem with not leaning on the sufficiency of Christ is that we are relying on our self-sufficiency instead.

Relying on God, maintaining close communion with Him, and keeping Him—not ourselves—in the center of our life is the solution to the struggles we face. We don’t have to draw from meager reserves, because His strength is abundant and perfect. All we need is His sufficiency (2 Cor. 12:9). Why settle for fleeting self-reliance, when God offers us so much more?

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