By Kayla Johnson
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7
(Hebrews 12:12) Being strong in the Lord does not require us to be special. It requires us to be willing. It requires us to have faith. And even in our imperfect faith, we can be strong in Him as a result of relationship with Him, and letting Him show us how He is our strength. As we feed on His faithfulness we grow stronger. And we have a gracious God who sees us not as who we are in ourselves, but who we are in Him.
When we face opposition it can strip us down. When our props get knocked down from under us, we may wobble. How can I do what God has asked me to do when I am weak? How can I be strong like He wants me to be when I feel immersed in fear?
I’m finding that the root of so many other problems can be rooted in fear. Why do we get angry? Because we’re afraid. Why do we grasp for control? Fear.
There are times we may feel disadvantaged. Times when it seems like everything’s going wrong. When we feel small and incapable. When the task in front of us feels impossible. These are the times when God has most room to work. In our weakness He is strong.
Gideon knew fear. He knew weakness. In Judges six, we find him threshing wheat in a winepress. He was hiding it from the Midianites- the people who were oppressing Israel and destroying their sustenance. He was cowering in fear. But then something remarkable happens. In verse twelve, the Angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon and said, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Um, what?
Let us consult the dictionary:
Valor: (noun) 1. Boldness or determination in facing great danger, especially in battle; heroic courage; bravery
Doesn’t this sort of seem like the opposite of what Gideon was doing? But here is the beauty: God didn’t view Gideon according to how he was acting presently. He viewed Gideon according to what his position was in God, and who he would become through Him.
And that’s the wonderful thing about how God sees us. He does not see us through the lens of our failures and faults. He sees Jesus in us, and tells us to act like who we already are in Him.
Gideon, this mighty man, goes on to speak faithless words about the position of his people. He asks the angel why God has forsaken them. But the angel of the LORD says, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” But Gideon is slow, like we can sometimes be. He continues to doubt himself and to doubt God- again and again. (Enter the famous fleece…)
But throughout the next few chapters (six through eight) we see him begin to change. He begins to see God come through again and again. And he starts speaking faith words. He starts believing God.
Like Gideon, we sometimes find that God needs to disadvantage us in order to show His glory. (Judges 7:2) So when our props are knocked out from under us, we can know that He has not forsaken or abandoned us, but He is working things together for our ultimate good and His ultimate glory.
Unfortunately, the end of Gideon’s life was not without its indiscretions. But in his best years, Gideon became a man who spoke words of faith. He came to rely on the goodness and faithfulness of his God. And he became what God said he was from the beginning: a mighty man of valor.
Instead of focusing on our impossibilities and our weaknesses, let us say, “O my soul, march on in strength!” Judges 5:21. We can speak words of faith, Friends. Yes, we will trip up. We will sometimes fail. But let’s take a firm grasp and strengthen our hands which hang down, and the feeble knees.