Jeremiah 17:5-14 paints a wonderful contrast between the person who trusts and depends on the man/self/the flesh for strength and the one who trusts in the Lord for his strength. Where we place our trust and where we find our strength affects so many aspects of our lives, including the sense of freedom and joy we experience.
Read through Jeremiah 17:5-14 and list the contrasts you see between these two.
We all have an independent nature about us that seeks to have it “our way” and to control circumstances and people in our lives as we see fit —Scripture refers to this as our “flesh.”
The enemy loves to keep us independent and operating in our own strength—our flesh. There are many tactics he employs to keep us focused on our self-sufficiency. I’d like to focus on a few that we tend to struggle with as women:
- Control – The need to control keeps us very focused on ourselves and the flesh. Attempts to control people and situations bring about stress and anxiety in our lives. It fosters broken relationships and discord and leaves us frazzled, frustrated, and worn out. This need to control often manifests itself in perfectionism in our lives.
- Busyness – When our lives are filled and overwhelmed with activity, we find it hard, or even impossible, to take the time needed to be in God’s presence and His Word. But God’s Word reveals our true heart’s condition. It is in taking the time to “be” in His presence and attuned to His Word that He not only reveals issues of our hearts but deals with those issues so that we can reflect Jesus more. But sometimes it’s easier to stay busy than to deal with our heart issues. Busyness also feeds that Super Woman Syndrome in us that says we can do it all, have it all, and control it all!
God calls us to live dependent upon Him. Our God is the only one who is Sovereign over all things. He is omniscient—He knows all things. He is not defined by time or space. He is omnipresent—He is everywhere. He is omnipotent—He is all-powerful and in control of all things. His wisdom is far beyond anything we could ever fathom. He is Creator, so he knows what is best for His creation.
And although the idea of being able to do what we want, when we want, and the way we want sounds appealing and like freedom, it really just puts us in bondage! Because plainly put, any attempt to live independently from God is sin.
We have been deceived into believing the lie that we can do it all, have it all, and control it all. We have been deceived into believing that if we can’t keep it all together and do it perfectly, then we have somehow failed. We don’t like to feel weak and incapable of handling life’s circumstances.
But here is what God’s Word has to say about weakness and being out of control:
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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. —2 Corinthians 12:9-10
We are strongest in our weakness because this drives us to the feet of Jesus, where we find true strength. Our part is to daily surrender to Jesus —to run to Him for refuge and strength when we are weak. To run to Him when we are in need of wisdom and guidance. To wait patiently in His presence when we feel the need to “fix” or “control” things in life.
We are strongest in our weakness because it helps us to realize and live out the truth that our true identity is not found in doing it “our way” or trying to control situations and people. Our true identity is based on who we are in Christ Jesus and this is where we find true freedom. We are most satisfied and fulfilled in life when we live dependent upon Him and seek to bring Him glory to Him in all we do.
So what do we do when we find ourselves operating in the “flesh” and trying to be Super Woman? Here’s a starting place:
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. —Hebrews 4:16
In our weakness, we can be confident. I know it sounds like a contradiction. But when we acknowledge our weakness and need and then run confidently to the place where we know can find strength, that is true confidence. Our confidence no longer rests in our strength or abilities but in Christ! Our weakness and God’s strength form an unbeatable combination.
Personally, I have found in my walk with the Lord the more I’ve been willing to lay it down and run to Jesus, to admit I’m weak and in need of help from Him, the more confident I’ve become as a woman. The need to be perfect and win the approval of others has decreased in my life as God has used my surrender to build me up in Christ Jesus. Because it is in Christ where I find my true identity and where my need for significance, acceptance and security are all fulfilled. That’s grace — it’s God’s divine influence upon my heart and life that is then reflected in my life.
“God can achieve his purpose either through the absence of human power and resources, or the abandonment of reliance on them. All through history God has chosen and used nobodies, because their unusual dependence on him made possible the unique display of his power and grace. He chose and used somebodies only when they renounced dependence on their natural abilities and resources.” — Oswald Chambers
Has this need to control everyone and everything in your life been robbing you of joy and peace or ruining your relationships? Do you find yourself frazzled and frustrated?
As others see your life and your priorities, who do they see as the source of your identity and sufficiency?
If you are tired and worn out trying to control it all, be it all and do it all, then run to Jesus! Be willing to die to self and bow before the throne of Jesus where you will find grace, mercy, strength and the help to carry you through it all!
Rejoicing in Him!
©2014 Susan Cady, susancady.com