As a pastor, I do a bit of biblical counseling with individuals and families. I don’t claim to be great at it, but when you shepherd people spiritually, it’s important to be able to open up the word of God to be able to help people heal and learn how the Bible speaks to their lives today.
Once I was meeting with someone about an issue in their life, and the obvious problem was an addiction problem, but they wanted to talk about some obscure problem they had in understanding a certain Biblical doctrine concerning the word “meekness.” I directed the person to consider the addiction problem, but they kept saying, “Oh , I can handle that,” and “I can beat that; and that’s not really the problem.” The Lord taught me something when I heard those words: “We are not as strong as we think we are.”
The father of the Jewish people was a man named Abraham. When we think of him, we often admire his faith to step out and follow the voice of God into a land he had never been in before. But did you know he sinned against God by lying twice about his wife, and telling some kings that she was just his sister? Why did he do this? Fear of what might happen to him is the answer. He feared that these kings of these lands he was walking into would kill him because of Sarai’s beauty.
His lack of spiritual leadership in his home didn’t end there. He also followed his wife’s direction and took Hagar as a second wife, and produced a son named Ishmael. Hagar was Sarai’s slave. She was never supposed to be Abraham’s wife. Abraham and Sarai were tired of waiting on God to give them the promised son, and so they took matters into their own hands, and so the Hagar situation happened. There are a lot of things wrong with this situation, but the one thing it proves is that even the father of our faith had some serious sinful moments. We are not as strong as we think we are.
Fast forward to Moses. He was this great deliverer right? He was God’s man to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, and cross through the Red Sea on dry ground. But even Moses had a past. He had killed a man and buried him in the sand while no one was looking, or so he thought. Even later on in his life, he disobeyed God, got angry at the people, got prideful, and he struck the rock God had only told him to speak to. His attitude against his own people in that moment was one of superiority and not humility. His anger and his pride caused him to lose the opportunity to walk into the promised land. He was not as strong as he thought he was.
The list goes on and on. Men like David, Elijah, Peter, and Paul all had things in their life they weren’t proud of. Humanity is sinful, and our God is full of grace, mercy, and love. We often view these men in the Bible as being perfect, but they were far from it. They were sinners that confessed their sins, and when cornered by the living God over what they had done, they asked for forgiveness and found it. They were people who found out they weren’t as strong as they thought they were. Their self-revelation about themselves didn’t cause them to trust themselves, but rather to become more dependant upon God’s grace and his presence in their lives.
Christianity is for people who have discovered they are not as strong as they thought. Jesus comes to people who cry out for him. He brings salvation to those who say, “I’m not strong enough. I need you. I need your forgiveness. I need your help. I need your love.” Matthew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” Only the spiritually bankrupt get the riches of the kingdom of God. Those who don’t think they need him, don’t ask, and therefore they don’t receive. Blessed are those who realize they aren’t strong enough. Those are the ones Jesus Christ has come for, and he has everything they will ever need.
Brian Taylor began his ministry as a young man on the foreign mission field of Togo, West Africa serving with the International Mission Board of the SBC. He spent almost a decade serving as a music and youth minister in the Panhandle of Texas. For the last five and half years he has served as pastor of Forest Avenue Baptist Church in Sherman, and loves preaching and pastoring on the southside of Sherman. He has been married to his wife Sarah for 17 years, and they have five children. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Herald Democrat.