But God! - Jennifer Shock
Jennifer Shock |
January 14, 2024
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” Ephesians 6:10
One of the many (some awesome, some not-so-awesome) things I’m discovering as I get older is that I’m not enough. I used to think I was– back in the day when I was entrenched in worldly ideology and focused on my independence and capability. It’s been a minute since I felt so strong.
These days I’m mostly aware of my weaknesses; my aching back, my lack of get-up-and-go, my weariness. “I got this!” Nope, I don’t. “You can do it!” Really doesn’t feel like I can. It’s been such a relief though, as I age, to right-size my own strength. To remember out of necessity that it’s His might I’m relying on, not my own. I don’t have what I’m going to need? Great news! I know Someone who does.
Being a leader can feel like a beautiful gift, an awesome privilege, and a huge burden. We can doubt ourselves. We can have a hard time remembering to keep the main thing, the main thing. We can fail to remember that it’s God’s glory we’re after, not our own.
The apostle Paul would likely file the above challenges under the heading “spiritual warfare.” We need to be reminded, again and again, that the battles we fight are not against flesh and blood. The battles we’re fighting are “against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” The enemy and his minions are not interested in you or the leaders of your church standing firm, focused on the gospel of Jesus Christ, pointing people to Him and only Him. We’re at war, and we can barely defend ourselves.
But God! He has given us, and your leaders, everything we need: His armor. The armor of the mightiest, strongest, most awesome-in-power God of the universe — that’s the armor we get to put on. But putting it on is an act of surrender, and it’s a choice. We can try to fight our battles with the weapons we fashion ourselves; we can try to defend ourselves with our puny, penetrable, opposite-of-bulletproof vests. Why would we want to do that, though? Only those of us who are still convinced we’re strong enough, wise enough, and resourceful enough are foolish enough to fight in the strength of our own might and not God’s. May we repent of relying on ourselves.
Pray for the leaders of your church, and for all of your brothers and sisters, that we daily reach for the armor of God: His belt of truth, His breastplate of righteousness, His gospel of peace, His shield of faith, His helmet of salvation, and His sword, the sword of the Spirit. Then we can stand and fight. Pray that your leaders be filled with His mighty power and that they lead from a place of dependence on His strength and wisdom.