It took seven years of living as a wild animal before Nebuchadnezzar knew “that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men” and before he humbled himself (Dan. 4). Belshazzar knew of Nebuchadnezzar’s humility and still did not learn (Dan. 5:22). Oh, that men would learn that when they humble themselves before the hand of Jehovah, He extends His hand to help.
We live in difficult and trying times. It seems that even the normal necessities of our lives can become burdens which seem to weigh us down to the point that we wonder if we will be able to take another step. Add to that the challenges of “peer pressure,” of being a light that shines in dark places, or the challenge of just not being swept away with the crowd, and we wonder if we will make it at all. It is easy to see why Jesus said, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:14). The Greek word translated “strait” means “narrow, or pressed against.” Paul used another Greek word, which has this word in it, when he wrote, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed” (2 Cor. 4:8). Ours is a life of challenges, but we cannot afford to allow them to hinder our spiritual progress or bury us under a pile of worldly rubble. We, with the Apostle Paul, must determine to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3;14). The language of the apostle is very illustrative. The “mark” Paul speaks of is a “mark or goal upon which we can fix our eyes”. Paul’s picture is of one who is competing in a foot race. The runner has turned the corner and is in the home stretch, where he can see the goal and his gaze is fixed upon the prize.
If we are not careful, we can begin each day as if our success is determined strictly by our ability, and our ability alone. We can too easily face the day, all alone in self-sufficiency all because we failed to stop and consider our God and petition Him for help. Instead, we should humbly rise and proclaim, “I am weak, but Thou art strong.”
As we begin our day, while we walk in the way, and when we lay down to rest at the end of our day, we do well to acknowledge our need and dependency on the God we love, trust and serve. It should serve as a great comfort to each of us that we can “cast all our cares upon Him; for He cares for us” (1 Pet. 5;7). When we learn to trust our God and lean upon Him, then we learn the true joy and rest of which our Lord spoke.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matt 11:28-30).
Often times we have individuals respond confessing sin and requesting prayers that they might have the strength to live, as they should. Those that do such are an indication of the longing we have to live properly before our Lord. They also indicate the challenges that so often arise. Of course, each one of these individuals must do their part, but it should be just as obvious that we, that brothers and sisters, can also help them to be strong. Every one of us can say honestly, “I am weak”. Along with that proclamation, we must also turn and say, “Thou oh God, art strong”. Only in so doing will we be able to rise above this mundane world and soar. Let us each one remember the other in our prayers and actions. Let us so labor that we may be like Philemon when Paul wrote of him, “For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother” (Phi. 7). Until next time, let us encourage, exhort, and edify each other and let us each study our Bibles more and more.
The Forest Hill News, Forest Hill Church of Christ Weekly Bulletin, October 23, 2019.