Only in His Strength

Psalms 18:1-3 ESV

“I love you, O Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.”

If we are followers of Jesus Christ, and we have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we have been raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, he is now our Lord (Owner-Master). He is our rock and our fortress and our deliverer, for he delivered us out of bondage to sin, and he gave us new lives in him now to be lived for his glory, honor, and praise. And he continues to deliver us from the enemy of our souls, Satan, who is out to destroy our lives any which way he can.

But we have to cooperate with him and his work of grace in our lives. He doesn’t do everything for us and it isn’t true that nothing is required of us. If we want to be delivered from the enemy’s advances against us, yes we rely on the Lord and his strength, but we also put on the armor of God with which to fight off the attacks of the enemy against us (Ephesians 6:10-20). And we use that sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, to combat the enemy’s lies. We don’t just sit back and wait for God to do it for us.

For God already did it for us. He sent his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to the earth to live in a flesh body and to minister to the people and to preach the gospel of our salvation. But ultimately he sent him here to be crucified on a cross for our sins. For on that cross he became sin for us so that when he died, our sins died with him, and this was in order that we might now die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Peter 2:24). So, he already made the way for us. We just have to walk in it in his power.

But it is true that we cannot do this in our own fleshly power and strength. We can do nothing in our own selves to save our own selves from sin or from our enemy Satan and his many hordes. We are completely dependent on our Lord, but still we have to cooperate with our Lord, and we have to do what he says to do. For our faith in Jesus Christ is a partnership with him, which is a cooperative effort, but still all the power and strength comes from him, so we must still operate in his power and not in our own strength.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Psalms 18:28-30 ESV

“For it is you who light my lamp;
the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.”

Jesus Christ is the light, and his truth is light, and light is the opposite of darkness, and darkness is sin and wickedness, so light is all that is godly and righteous and holy and pure. But in this context, darkness may also mean night or dimness or obscurity. And the eye is the lamp of the body, and the eye, metaphorically speaking, is judgment, discernment, and sense, either good or bad (Matthew 6:22-23).

So if Jesus lights our lamps and he lightens our darkness, he brings truth and righteousness and holiness into our life situations, and into our lives, and into our judgment and discernment, too. And he brings understanding and reasoning into the things in our lives which are presently obscure and not real clear. And this doesn’t mean we are going to understand everything, but he does help us to understand things better that we need to know.

And he gives us wisdom and good judgment, but we still have to act on it. We have to take what he provides and apply it to our lives and to our life situations. Otherwise, we are like the double-minded who are unstable in all that they do and who will receive nothing from the Lord, for they asked the Lord for wisdom, but then they did not act on the wisdom which he provided, but they vacillated (James 1:5-8). So, the Lord provides, but then we have to put what he provides into practice or it profits us nothing.

But again, we do not run with it in our own strength. We are still dependent on the strength of the Lord to do what the Lord provides for us to do. And this is not to say that we can do anything we want in the strength of the Lord. We can do only what he chooses for us to do and what he empowers us to do in his strength. But we are able to conquer sin and Satan and all evil forces coming against us, but not with the weapons of this world, but with the armor of God, and in love, and never with hate and retaliation, unless the hate is directed toward Satan and toward our sin.

For God’s way is perfect, and God’s way is the way of love and self-sacrifice and unselfishness and compassion, and it is also the way of holiness and righteousness and obedience to our Lord and submission to his will. So, love and compassion never make allowances for deliberate and habitual sin. Love and compassion help people out of enslavement to sin and to walks of holiness and righteousness and obedience to our Lord. For our Lord is a shield only for those who take refuge in him and for those who obey him.

[See noted Scripture references above.]

Agnus Dei

By Michael W. Smith

Alleluia Alleluia
For our Lord God Almighty reigns
Holy Holy
Are You Lord God Almighty
Worthy is the Lamb

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