Flexing My Righteous Muscles

                Strength. Strong. Power. Might. Resilient. Steadfast. Fortress. Rock. Stronghold.

                The summer leading up to my trip to Thailand I had more than enough time on my hands. My favorite hobby this summer was working out. I challenged myself with hill runs, jumping squats, sprints, and time at the gym lifting weights. I love physical strength. I love watching muscles change and develop. I love how the body can be redefined and shaped by physical conditioning. It’s not an easy process or comfortable one in that either. I remember coming home from the gym completely exhausted, my muscles screaming at me as I walked up my stairs. Oh, it was so worth it!

                I knew that when I would go to Thailand, there would be no more gym, there would be no more time to work out and I was bummed. This physical strength doesn’t just stick around. If you don’t maintain it, you lose it. I’ve watched my body change over the past two months, slowly losing the muscles I had worked so hard to build, yet I’ve never felt so strong before in my life.

                This past week was a true test of where I get my strength from, a test of reliance not on my strength, but on God’s strength. My leader and wonderful friend, Kristen, was called home to be with her Dad who is ill. I was given leadership responsibilities. The organization we volunteer for had us move from a spacious, three story house to a cramped two story and very occupied house. Every day this week was filled with physical labor of moving dozens of beds, furniture, and boxes, while still keeping our ministry of going to the bars and interceding at night. It was exhausting.

                My prayer throughout the week was, “Lord, give me strength and give me joy!” This verse was an encouragement and a declaration to myself this week.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

              This week certainly had its moments of hardship, difficulties, and weaknesses. Just like building physical strength was exhausting and tiring, building spiritual strength was trying and draining. However, I stand proudly and joyfully that the Lord emptied me of my own weaknesses, expectations, and desires and filled me up with His Strength, His Sovereignty, and His Desires! Spiritual Strength is my joy and pride now and I will flex my righteous muscles for all to see!

 “I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
Psalms 18:1-2

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