We are in week four of going deeper into trust. Gather a sister or two to chat with about trust, and grab your journal and a pen. It’s time to talk about tapping into God’s strength.
O Lord, open our hearts to Your truth and to one another.
Psalm 23 gives us our model of God as trustworthy. Let’s begin by reading it again.
Read Psalm 23
Where do you see David relying on God’s strength in these verses?
- Psalm 23:1 David trusts He will lack for nothing. God will protect.
- Psalm 23:4 There is nothing in this world stronger than God.
- Psalm 23:5 God prepares a table before David in the presence of his enemies. God is so great in power David can sit and eat, be served by God, while God takes care of the enemy.
I’m reminded of how He used Psalm 23 to build my trust in Him and reveal all the areas of unbelief in my life through a very long season of fear and anxiety.
I began to exercise my faith by trusting His promises found in Psalm 23. Whatever fear came to mind, I would remind myself: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. Whatever I have right now is what I need. If things change, He will provide what I need.
Learning to pray Psalm 23 and stand on its promises I found His strength and eventually peace.
Read 2 Corinthians 1:8-10
People sometimes say: God won’t give us more than we can handle. Is this true?
God will allow affliction in our lives which is more than we have the strength for. Why?
So we will learn to rely on His strength.
Have you been in a circumstance beyond your ability to bear? What did you learn?
Do you know someone who has been in such a circumstance? What happened to them?
There is a place in our lives where God will not allow us to receive more than we are able to deal with.
Read 1 Corinthians 10:13
What is it God will not allow more of than we can bear?
Temptation. God will not allow temptation in our lives beyond our ability.
Do you believe this? How often do you give into temptation? Do you look for the escape route He’s provided?
One of the greatest strengths we need is to resist temptation. God says He won’t allow us to be tempted beyond our ability to resist. In Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit every temptation can be resisted.
But, do you choose to resist? or does it just seem easier to give in?
Relying on God’s strength begins with coming into agreement with God regarding His way instead of ours. If we do not want to resist temptation or evil, then we will not know His strength. He gives us strength for the journey of faith, but first we must acknowledge our lack of strength. Our dependence on Him.
This week’s spiritual discipline was Embracing Our Finitude. Did you have a chance to exercise this discipline? What did you learn? about yourself? about God?
God created us with limits. We are all limited by time, wholly dependent on Him for life and breath, and limited to place. Not only do we share universal limitations as created beings, we all have our own personal limitations. The thing we need to remember is He has purpose in these limitations for us. What is His purpose?
Read John 15:1-11
What picture is drawn of Jesus as the Vine, the Father as the Vinedresser, and Believers as the branches?
We were created to be connected to God through our dependence on Him for our good and His glory. We were not created to be independent beings.
What limitation or weakness of yours has driven you to connect with God?
I’ve lived next door to my parents for over fifteen years now. When I share this little fact with those I don’t know, they often look at me like I’m crazy. It’s opposite of what our world teaches. Raise your kids to be productive, independent people. Our ease of travel and movement means many families live miles and miles apart. We’re an independent culture living independent lives.
And while my job is to raise kids who can make a way in their lives without our support, sometimes this “independent thinking” creates people independent of God too. Living next door to my parents reminds me families should depend on each other, and as God’s child it is a beautiful picture of abiding and depending on Him.
According to John 15, what happens to those who refuse to abide in Him?
Their strength is revealed as weakness. They are cut off, wither, and destroyed.
God longs to be our strength. He desires for us to be connected to Him in fellowship. And He went to extreme measures to connect with us.
Read Philippians 2:5-8
What did God do?
He emptied Himself. He limited Himself. The Infinite became finite through Jesus. He did so in order to connect with us more closely.
In what ways, did becoming a man help Him connect with us?
Read Hebrews 4:15
What specific ways does this verse tell us about His being able to identify with us?
- In our weakness
- In our temptations
Read Colossians 1:19-22
According to these verses, what other purpose did His willingness to become weak have?
He reconciled all things, making peace by His blood. He made the way for us to return to Him in a way even greater than the relationship He had with Adam and Eve.
Read Philippians 2:8-11
What became of Jesus by becoming weak?
Because of His obedient dependence on the Father He was exalted to the highest place. He now has the greatest strength.
How has He done the same for us?
Read Ephesians 3:14-16
Jesus’s weakness led to our redemption by His blood making it possible for us to have the Holy Spirit in us to strengthen us.
Therefore, we can say: I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! (Philippians 4:13). And we can boast in our weakness. Because it is only in our weakness that we can tap into the strength of God.
How do we see God strengthening Paul through affliction?
Paul’s specific thorn in the flesh was to prevent him from becoming conceited. God blessed Paul with great revelations of Himself, but they put Paul in danger of thinking too highly of himself compared to those he was called to ministered to. God allowed affliction in Paul’s life to keep him humble.
What did God tell Him?
My grace is sufficient for you… God’s grace in weakness is the foundation of His strength in our lives.
How did Paul receive the weakness?
Paul gladly received his weaknesses, boasting in them, because he recognized only in his weakness could the power of Christ rest upon.
Our limits connect us to Him. In our weakness, He is our strength.
What do you believe is your greatest weakness?
How could He use your weakness as strength?
Like most ways of God, they are upside down from the world’s way. Finding strength in Him begins with embracing our weakness. Not in the gym, the library, with degrees, or making sure we are never taken advantage of. No matter what strength we need, we find it in Christ through accepting our weakness.
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul told them to be strong in the Lord by putting on His full armor.
Read Ephesians 6:10-17
We are reminded our battle is a spiritual battle, not against other people. The world always targets flesh and blood for battle, God reveals the true enemy.
His full armor helps us resist the present evil darkness in the world and to stand firm. We win not when we take out the enemy, but if we are still found on our feet. Standing as a light in the darkness.
The armor is not typical of any battle gear found in any military force. What does the strength of God’s armor depend on?
- The gospel of peace
- A mind set on salvation
- The Word of God
This next week will help us put on His armor as we consider trusting the truth of God.
Click here for a PDF of the Trusting God is Truth Homework: going-deeper-week-15-God-is-truth
Father God, grow us in our trust of You.