Stronger – part 2

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God desires for you and me to become stronger. Stronger emotionally, in faith, in love and stronger in the sense that we rest on His sufficient grace.

Today, I will continue to talk about how to become stronger, for His Glory and to help fulfill His purposes in our lives.

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Labels

What do others think of you or how do they perceive you? That you’re smart? Introverted? Funny? Your wealth or lack thereof? 

Unfortunately we all have labels that have been placed on us. Sometimes labels are okay, like when you visit a doctor, it’s helpful to know who the doctor is. Other times, labels only serve to create divisions, such as racial labels – the moment you categorise people into social labels, those labels create unnecessary division and conflict. So yes, some labels are needed, if they are helpful but others we can do without if they create negativity and division. 

What labels have others placed on you, more importantly, what labels have you placed on yourself? 

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Whatever the labels that has been placed upon you, especially those you place on yourself, God’s desire is to speak directly into them to remove them. He wants you to realise just who you truly are.

The left-handed Ehud

I’m left-handed, a little fact you’ll only know if you see when a write, play sport or eat. Otherwise you wouldn’t know.

There was a man named Ehud, Son of Gera the Benjamite, who was a left-handed man. These are the only two things we know about Him. Over-time this became a problem for Ehud because in those times, to be left-handed meant you were awkward and evil. Being bullied for a name like this slowly would have begun to define Ehud and label him.

Unfortunately for Ehud, been left-handed in his life was viewed as weakness.

But Ehud’s story is written for a reason. In fact God calls him to go see the King of his enemies, who had had his people in oppression. He takes a double-edged sword and conceals it on his right thigh, and awaits the presence of the King.

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From Judges 3:15-22 we have a snippet of the story: 15 Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer—Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. The Israelites sent him with tribute to Eglon king of Moab. 16 Now Ehud had made a double-edged sword about a cubit long, which he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing. 17 He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab, who was a very fat man. 18 After Ehud had presented the tribute, he sent on their way those who had carried it. 19 But on reaching the stone images near Gilgal he himself went back to Eglon and said, “Your Majesty, I have a secret message for you.” The king said to his attendants, “Leave us!” And they all left. 20 Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his palace and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king rose from his seat, 21 Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly. 22 Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it.

Despite the gruesome details of the story, I want you to realise that the exact “fault” Ehud had, become His strength. This is something profound – The same hand that was labeledl of weakness and evil, was used as a hand of strength – it was his left hand that he used to defeat the enemy.

God used the label of limitation as a label of liberation to set free a whole nation! 

Imagine what God desires to do with your weaknesses.

Change your perception

Perception: How we view ourselves vs how we believe others perceive us.

It is high time that we change our opinions of our perceived weaknesses. Rather than viewing them as a disadvantage or fault, what if we see them as an opportunity for God to use?

In fact what the enemy wants to use for your shame, God wants to use for His glory.

So here’s what I want you to do:

Don’t quit it, submit it

It’s easier to overlook the negative labels in our lives, rather than allowing God to use them. In humility, when we submit our weaknesses to God we will see that it’s not just that God can use our weaknesses but He desires to use them.

As a result, the shy can become confident, dyslexia can become creativity, being a loudmouth can be harnessed for boldness, the unqualified will have humility and the overwhelmed will turn fear into faith. 

In essence, if you want to become Stronger, you have to become weaker. Because His power is made perfect in your weakness!

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:6-10Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 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. 10 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.

Paul speaks about having a thorn in his flesh. This refers directly to the hardships he has faced. Yet, he does not boast about what he had achieved for the Lord, so he is not perceived any differently and so that God’s grace can be shown as sufficient for him. Paul delights in weaknesses (see verse 10)

Throughout the Bible, God uses people’s weaknesses, to accomplish His work, to bring shame upon the enemy. The weaknesses we have is one of the keys to accessing God’s power.

27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 1 Corinthians 1:27-29

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Posted by Stephen Baragwanath

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