Waldo Emerson said, "Man is God in ruins." It's true. Much has gone
wrong in the hearts of men. At the same time, there are significant remnants of
dignity. There still remains a good strength that is part of man's original glory
that God intends to restore.
see this original glory most clearly in the life of Jesus. He was the perfect
model of kindness and strength. Those who were down and out, oppressed, and treated
like outcasts had no better friend than our Lord (Mt. 9:36; Jn. 8:1-11).
who were in the service of the kingdom of darkness and oppressing the disadvantaged,
however encountered a very different side of Jesus. Just ask the money lenders
whose tables He knocked over and chased out of the temple just days before His
(Mk. 11:15 - 17; Lk. 19:45-46).
was the most gracious man ever to set foot on this planet, but He also possessed
an intense, loving strength. As a human being, His strength was based on knowing
who He was. He listened and believed what His heavenly Father said about Him:
"You are My son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased" (Lk. 3:22).
strength also came from knowing His purpose. He knew why He was here. He knew
His role in God's story and what He had come to do (Mt. 20:28).
He knew who His real enemy was and what he would attack.
He knew the real
enemy wasn't people. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood"
(Eph. 6:12). He knew it was Satan, the same adversary who deceived and lured Adam
and Eve into rebelling against God. And Jesus also knew that the enemy would attack
His identity. Twice in the wilderness temptations, Satan called into question
the very identify God the Father had given to Jesus when he sneered, "If
You are the Son of God" (Lk. 4:1 - 13).
a follower of Jesus, you too can hear God speak to you. You can know with more
and more certainty that you are His son and that you are capable and strong. You
also can start to find your purpose and mission in life (2 Th. 1:11).
is the place in God's ongoing story of rescue and redemption where your strength
is needed the most.
you should expect the same kind of attacks from the enemy. He poses the greatest
threat to the life God has for us. Like it or not, all of us were born into a
world at war. It's the war behind every war - the spiritual clash between good
and evil that has been taking place ever since Satan tried to overthrow God (Isa.
your wounded strength is a casualty of the life-and-death battle between good
said that Satan is a "thief" who is out "to steal and kill and
destroy" (Jn. 10:10). He will do whatever he can to make you doubt God, yourself,
and your ability to carry out God's calling in your life. He will stop at nothing
to lure you back into a false strength.
battle can become quite fierce. But you don't have to sit there and take it. Like
Jesus, you can stand your ground and resist the enemy's lies and attacks as you
continue to live a life of surrender (Jas. 4:7).