We are taught to be self-reliant. We are taught to depend on our strengths. We are taught to be independent. We are taught to be self-sufficient. It is little wonder, then, that we have a hard time relying on God. The message of the world is to focus on self. This isn’t just the case with respect to our wants and needs. It’s also the case when the job needs to get done. That’s the world’s message. And it runs contrary to Scripture. Surprised? I didn’t think so.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30, NIV
It’s amazing Jesus said this. After all, He knew the Cross awaited. Yet He tells us that when we are weary, when we are tired, when we are struggling, we can find our rest in Him. The guy who felt the weight of sin upon his shoulders, knowing He would have to bear our penalty, tells us His yoke is easy and His burden is light. If the situation were reversed we would likely be struggling and straining with the stress and pressure and saying, “I can’t bear it any more.” But not Jesus. When it is He who should be struggling, He tells us His burden is light. He tells us to take it upon our shoulders, to trade ours for His. Now why would He say such a thing? The burden of sin and fallen man surely had to be heavier than anything we bear. Or is it?
It all depends on where your strength is. Let me give you an example. When I played Little League baseball, I was told by one of my coaches that a hitter’s power comes from his legs. I took that to heart and figured out how to step and shift my weight to generate power. I was small. I was scrawny. The last year I played, I was 12 and still one of the smallest kids on my team. But I had the most power in the league. The secret was where everyone was using their arms to swing the bat, I was using my legs.
When we rely on our own strength, we’re swinging with our arms. When we rely on the Holy Spirit, we’re swinging with our legs. Jesus didn’t rely on His humanly power. He relied on His Godly power. We have no Godly power. However, the Holy Spirit living within us has Godly power. And here’s what Jesus says about the Holy Spirit and power:
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8, NIV
This is supernatural power. It is unexplainable power. It is power that doesn’t come from us; it comes from God Himself. It is the power that takes a fisherman and allows him to deliver a sermon where 3,000 are saved. Now don’t get me wrong. This isn’t power on demand like some genie in a lamp. Not at all. When we’re about the Father’s business, the Holy Spirit is a part of that. But if we’re not doing the will of God, we won’t find the Holy Spirit delivering any power. The Holy Spirit is God. He is one person of the Trinity. He isn’t there at our beck and call like some butler. Rather, He guides us, teaches us, prays for us, helps us follow God’s will, and seals us for redemption. He doesn’t work for us. We work for Him. But when we need Him, and we’re doing God’s business, He’s there quite willing to lend a hand. Or a word. Or a prayer. Or whatever it takes to do the will of a sovereign God.
Whatever situation we’re in, we’ve got to find out what God’s up to. And then we need to join Him in that endeavor. When we do, we stop swinging with our arms; we stop relying on our own strength. Instead, we start swinging with our legs, and we’re relying on the Holy Spirit. The world tells us to rely on ourselves. Jesus tells us to rely on Him and the Spirit He sent to us. Who are we going to believe, the created or the Creator? If you’re facing a tough situation right now, don’t fall into the trap of relying on your own strength. If you already have, find out where God is and let Him bear the burden. It’s not too late. He’s already made the offer. We just have to accept it. And when we do, we rely on His strength, not ours. And then suddenly, things seem a whole lot easier than before. That’s the way He intended it. We just have to open our hearts to listen.