“Sing for joy to God our strength;
shout aloud to the God of Jacob!”
Many years ago God led me to the first verse of Psalm 18,
“I love you, O LORD, my strength.” (Psalm 18:1)
In doing so He showed me so clearly that any strength, ability, gift, knowledge or understanding that I had came from Him. I became deeply aware that I had nothing of value to offer the world or the people around me except that which was of Him. It was a humbling and rewarding moment.
Over the years He has also shown me that quite apart from the things that He has given me, and the fruit that He has allowed to blossom in and through my life, I have not the ability in my own strength to live the life to which He has called me. I cannot love Him, or all the others, on my own. I cannot ‘be holy’ in my own strength. I cannot overcome sin and temptation by myself. And, like Paul, I know what it is to bemoan the difference between the life of my vision and the life of reality.
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Romans 7:15)
Paul goes on, as He searches out the solution, and cries out in an agony of joy,
“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God–through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25)
As the Psalmist tells us on a number of occasions, ‘God is our strength’ and it is
“in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)
Our life is not all about us. It is, in fact, all about God and the part that He plays in it. We will be tempted and distracted from the truth wherever possible, and may fall and fail on numerous occasions, but the salvation will never be in us, it will always be with God – in and through the wonderful sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is through Him as well that God the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, and to be our strength and guide. Without Him our life is like a deflated balloon. With Him it becomes lighter, more attractive and filled with possibility.
God is our strength and our eternal salvation. The new life to which we are called can only be lived in His strength. Our response in times of inadequacy, fear, darkness, sadness or despair is to turn to Him and to ask Him for His help. When we sin our response should not be to hide but to run to Him for the forgiveness and help that we need – even if it is again and again. There may be times when we think that our Christian life is a fraud and a hopeless endeavour – we must to turn to Him for the comfort, assurance and help that we require. He is our strength.
And so the Psalmist encourages us to ‘sing for joy to God our strength’ because His strength has and will carry us through, on the foundation of His great and unconquerable love. God is your salvation and your strength. Always.
Speak aloud to God your thanks and praise and enjoyment of His love and creation
Father forgive me for the times that I become miserably self-absorbed. Lift my eyes to Your face, my heart with Your heart, and my spirit with Your Spirit. Amen.