If you are an observer of people as I am, you will soon discover that most are exhausted. Life wears people out. On top of the endless demands of raising children, working a job, maintaining relationships, and taking care of a home, there are also the unexpected challenges. One friend recently told me that her sister will be living with her for 13 weeks. Another friend told me the doctor found yet another spot on her skin that needs to be removed. Another friend told me his adult daughter is struggling to keep her marriage together. Life is hard. Period.
Life is hard. Period.
When you are exhausted, when you feel like you cannot go on, when you are on empty–where do you find strength?
I recently told the congregation I pastor that the answer is–drink more coffee! Although I was joking (for the most part)…the real solution is to connect with God.
There is strength available in God for living.
The prophet Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 40:29, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” God has promised that He will give us the necessary strength that we need for our lives. We simply need to connect to him to receive it.
Jesus explained this perfectly in John 15:5. He said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” To sum it up, the life-giving power that is in Christ will flow into our lives as we stay connected to Him. When we “remain” in him, our lives will produce lots of fruit. Supernatural fruit. As you connect to God, you will be able to do things that are beyond your own power. You will, for example, be able to keep your composure when a stressful situation arises or you receive bad news. You will be able to really listen to those you love, instead of just waiting to talk. You will be able to forgive those who have hurt you or someone you love. You will be able to receive criticism without getting defensive. You will be able to be patient and kind with people who are difficult. You will be able to rise above temptation and sin. Anger will no longer control you.
Wouldn’t you love to live this kind of life? It’s not only possible, it’s what you were made for! So, how do you do it?
1. Connect to God’s strength by trusting in Him.
In Matthew 14, Peter does the miraculous. He walks on water! How did he do it? He had his eyes locked in on Jesus. He fully trusted in the person and power of Jesus, and He was able to do what no other human could ever do–or has ever done since!
But then… he messed it up: “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Of course, Jesus saves him, but not without a rebuke. Jesus says, why so little faith? Why did you doubt?”
You can trust God is going to help you meet the demands of reality. You don’t have to “go it alone.” He is there for you. You just need to trust Him. Listen to David in Psalm 28:7, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.”
2. Connect to God’s strength by staying in His word.
Jesus said to His disciples, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 The word of God is a spiritual force in and of itself. It is powerful. It transforms you by changing how you understand and perceive all that happens to you. Your life produces all kinds of fruit because the Word of God is doing things in you. Psalm 1 shows the results of staying in the word,
“But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” Psalm 1:2-3
The reason there is fruit on their tree and their leaves never wither is because of the effects of the Word of God in their life. There is strength. The Word of God sinks the roots of their lives into the “living water” of Christ. The words of Jesus nourish and strengthen the life of such a person.
3. Connect to God’s strength through obedience.
Something powerful happens in your life when you choose to obey Christ. He said that it would lead to a life that was strong and steady. He described a life of obedience as a life built on a rock:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25
Life “on the rock” is a life of strength and power. It’s a life that can withstand the pressures and difficulties that come your way. I’m not exactly sure that I can explain how it all works, but I will give it my best shot. Perhaps, when we obey Christ, God sees that he has a person that he can work with. So he chooses to get behind that person and give him/her the resources necessary to accomplish His will. Whether I’m correct or not in this, what remains true is…
God gives His power and strength to those who obey His word.
Life is hard. It can be exhausting. You need God’s strength and power. It is available to you. All you need to do is connect to Him through trusting in Him, taking in his Word, and obeying what He says. The choice is yours. Try it out. See what happens.
Danny Anderson is the Senior Pastor of Emmanuel Church located south of Indianapolis. Danny has hands-on experience in transitioning a church, creating and casting a new vision, simplifying programs, building teams, and launching new campuses. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Jackie, his sons Andrew and Beau, and his daughter Ruby.