The older I get, the more I realize how much I need to depend on God's strength. For example, when I have an appointment that I must go to that fills me with fear and dread, I know that this is my cue to practice relying on God's strength and power. The psalmist declared, "I will go in the strength of the Lord God." (Psalm 71:16 NKJV) This is the Word that the Holy Spirit often brings to my remembrance whenever I have to go somewhere I'd rather not go. There are a number of practical steps we can take in order to "go in the strength of the Lord."
First and foremost, we should spend some extra time in undistracted and unhurried prayer and Scripture reading. King David told God's people, "Seek the Lord; yes, seek His strength and seek His face untiringly." (1 Chronicles 16:11 TLB) David knew firsthand how important it was to continually seek God's face and strength. He won victory after victory, even when faced with overwhelming odds, because instead of relying on His own limited resources, He sought the Lord's power and strength. The Bible reveals that David often prayed for God's strength. "Look down in pity and grant strength to Your servant and save me." (Psalm 86:16 TLB) And we can do the same thing.
Meditating on, and declaring, God's Word and promises can also fill us with divine strength. "Never forget Your promises to me Your servant, for they are my only hope. They give me strength in all my troubles; how they refresh and revive me!" (Psalm 119:49-50 TLB) One of the problems with fear and dread is that they can cause us to lose our focus. Instead of keeping our eyes on God and His goodness, our focus can shift to all the things that we imagine could go wrong. Then it will be almost impossible to receive God's best in our situation. However, when we declare God's promises, the Spirit of God goes into action, and pours His strength and stability into us, and we are "refreshed and revived," as the Scripture says.
Worship and praise can energize us like nothing else can. So after we have prayed and claimed God's promises for our situation, we can imitate Abraham, and begin thanking the Lord in advance for a favorable outcome. "But Abraham never doubted. He believed God, for his faith and trust grew ever stronger, and he praised God for this blessing even before it happened. He was completely sure that God was well able to do anything He promised." (Romans 4:20-21 TLB) This is one way we can "walk by faith, and not by sight." (2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV)
It's very helpful for us to get extra sleep the night before we have to keep an unpleasant appointment, especially if we have to get up early for it. "God wants His loved ones to get their proper rest." (Psalm 127:2 TLB) There are good reasons for the Lord wanting us to get the rest we need. When we are overtired or sleep-deprived, it can hinder our faith and our prayers. It can also cause us to treat people less kindly than we normally would. Peace will elude us, and our joy - which the Bible says is our strength - can evaporate. (Nehemiah 8:10) All these things can affect our outcome negatively, and it's simply not worth it.
Before I leave the house for an appointment I'm not looking forward to, I take out a tea bag and tea cup, and I set them on my kitchen counter next to my teapot. I begin to focus on some pleasant things I'm going to do when I get back home, and it brightens my outlook, and lifts my spirits. Perhaps right now, you are thinking of some appointments or events that you will be facing in the near future that are just begging for some divine strength. I urge you to begin preparing for them now, so that when the time comes, you can truly "go in the strength of the Lord God!"
Prayer: Lord, when I am faced with things that fill me with fear or dread, teach me how to seek Your face and Your strength. Show me how to pray for the empowerment I need to accomplish all that You've called me to in this life. Make me devoted to Your Word and Your promises, and help me to use them to lay hold of everything You have in store for me. Remind me to praise and thank You in advance for the answers to my prayers. Thank You that as I rely on Your strength, my victory is assured!
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