luther was right

when he said: “Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing.” I came across two verses in my study today, which I thought were helpful. They both speak to the same thing Luther was talking about when he penned those words. The first: “What is my strength that I should hope?” Job 6:11a, and: “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5. It is so easy, when learning of our own emptiness, to say that we have ‘little’ strength. But in reality, we have absolutely no strength toward holiness outside of Christ. “In him we live, and move have our being.” so often, when praying, it is easy to lose sight of our total dependence on Christ. But really, to try to do things in our own strength is to try to deny God the glory due only to him.

It’s easy to lean on our own strength unconsciously. Pride so corrupts our nature that it is natural to look to ourselves to solve problems. When I hear a good sermon, or go to a good study, or read a good book, my first thought is always, “Now I must go and respond accordingly.” that in and of itself is fine. But what is the response? Too often it is, rather than prayer and seeking God, going and trying to change ourselves, to make ourselves better based on what we just heard. What we, or I, just need to realize is that we are incapable to do anything without grace.

When we try to do things in our own strength, we attempt to bring glory to ourselves rather than to God. I’m not talking being Pharisaic. I mean, when we do things in private without relying on grace. I find that often we feel that our reward will be greater that way, and secretly, we wish we would get some of the praise in heaven for what we have towards our own salvation. But God has engineered everything to work towards his glory. As Christians, that should always be our goal as well.

It is amazing how we look away from the sufficiency of Christ to ourselves. But really, come on, had we any strength, what is that compared to that of Christ? We do not have near sufficient strength to make it through this life, let alone buy our way into heaven. What are we compared to the one who made us? God has not lost control of Creation. We are still in his hands. We could never have anything greater than his grace. All that we can say is, “I know I have no strength of my own. I must have Christ. All I have is his.”

a song I like: whenever I am weed eating or mowing, I like to sing. Part of the reason is that no one can really hear me, so I can sing as loud and as badly as I want. Here’s one I had running through my head the other day:

Is there anyone that fails?

Is there anyone that fall?

Am I the only one in Church today,

Feeling so small?

‘Cause when I take a look around,

Everybody seems so strong.

I know they’ll soon discover,

That I don’t belong.

So I tuck it all away,

Like every things okay,

If I make them all believe it,

Maybe I’ll believe it too.

So with a painted grin,

I play the part again,

So that everyone will see me,

The way that I see them.

Are we happy plastic people,Is there anyone’s who’s been here?

Under shining plastic steeples?

With walls around our weakness,

And smiles to hide our pain?

But when the invitation’s open,

To every heart that has been broken,

Maybe then we’ll close the curtains,

On our stained glass masquerade.

 

Are there any hands to raise?

Am I the only one who’s traded,

In the alter for a stage?

The performance is convincing,

We know every line by heart,

Only when no one is watching,

Can we really fall apart.

Would it set me free,

If I dared to let you see,

The truth behind the person,

That you imagine me to be?

Would your arms be open?

Or would you walk away?

Or would the love of Jesus,

Be enough to make you stay?

(chorus)

Stained Glass Masquerade,

Mark Hall, Casting Crowns.

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