“Remember not to do it in your strength. Do it in God’s strength.” What does that mean? How does one categorize what kind of strength I’m exerting in any given circumstance?
Is it a matter of focus? A matter of attitude? Priorities? Do I get more strength from God if I think about Him and pray more often? Is there some sort of extra Grace or Strength imparted to me if I DO the correct actions.
Well, yes…and no. (I hate answers like that.)
I tend to be very much a Martha. I’m task oriented, and if I’m not careful I can run right over people and lose sight of what’s really important. God has blessed me with a wonderful husband and four beautiful children, not to mention my church family and ministry. And they ARE a blessing! However, my personal time is limited and my tasks are rarely all done at any given time.
So I work harder. Maybe if I get my tasks done sooner, I can have some personal time. No. When this task is done, the next task awaits.
I really struggle with the Mary and Martha story (Luke 10:38-42). Martha was “cumbered about with much serving” and Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” I can see the Lord rebuking me!
But what did Martha do after that?! How did she change to apply the Master’s admonition to her? Somebody had to go fix that one needed thing! How should I go about my tasks, my “many things”, in God’s strength rather than my own?
One Thing is Needful
The key is in what Jesus said, “One thing is needful.” What really needs to be done in my day today? Very few things really. General tidiness and joy is my household goal these days. My children need my time for talk, play, and education, and my husband needs my time for talk, support, and rest. I need my time with the Lord to pray and read His Word, to make sure I feed my own soul as I give of myself to others. There are often church and ministry responsibilities that I’m happy to do, but those things are a part of my giving to my family as well as my devotion to the Lord to my brothers and sisters in Christ. These are the things that are needful.
So often I add more than what is needed to my days. I like to justify it by telling myself how much better life will be if I organize that closet today. How much more could I accomplish if the kids would just do something on their own without my help! Sigh. The needed things must remain the priorities, even if the projects that would please myself are neglected.
What’s my Motivation?
Psalm 18:2-3 tells us, “The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”
As I go through my day, I must keep in mind that eternal perspective. It will not matter how stylish or organized my home is. It will not matter whether my children are popular among their peers. It will not matter if I ever lose that stubborn baby weight or get a restful night’s sleep most nights.
It matters whether I have been obedient to God’s commands for me, and when I stand before Him at the Bema Seat it will matter for eternity if He says to me, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” This life is just a dream when it is past, and we will look back on our lives as if it were a story that was told to us (James 4:14 Ps. 90:9-10). The true reality is in heaven. My efforts, therefore, should be spent in pursuit of treasures in heaven, and not wasted on the things of the earth (Col. 3:2; 1 John 2:17).
Where is my Trust?
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 says, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” The next verse finishes by repeating, “for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
You see, I shouldn’t be concerned with how much I am doing, or whether this task is really fair for me to do. I shouldn’t worry so much about where I’m going to get my strength. Rather I should care about whether I’m a faithful and obedient servant before the Lord. Being a good steward of my “assets” is part of my service to Christ, so issues of energy level and health come into view as I seek to serve to the best of my ability. However, it’s the obedience to Christ that is my concern, not how much my health and energy level benefit me.
So the power of Christ, how I become strong, is by not concerning myself with myself. It comes from dying to self, and just being faithful with what is before me at this moment. Yes, I do focus on tasks at hand. I do look to the Word to see what good works God would have me do to remain faithful to Him. I do set aside times of prayer and personal devotions. The strength is not in the doing of it, though, the strength is in my desire to please God (1 Thess. 4:1).