Giving Ourselves As We Are
Being strengthened by God begins with commitment, turning yourself over. Have faith to allow God's power to give you help to never to grow tired or wear out.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you?Yes, that little greeting establishes the fact that this is indeed your good friend Bob Cook. And I’m delighted to be back with you. Some of you listen just as you wake up, and some of you are preparing breakfast or packing lunches. And some are driving to work, and some are just getting home from work at the midnight hour – because this broadcast is heard at different times of the day and of the evening. Wherever you are beloved, and whatever you’re doing, I want to tell you that I’m your friend, and I love you, and I pray for you.
And we’re going to look at the Word of God, and try to put a handle on it so that you can get hold of it
for yourselves. Look with me at 1 Peter 5:10. We’re in the middle of the verse where Peter is praying for these folk, that God may make them perfect, establish them, strengthen and settle them. The last time we got together, we were thinking about this word, ‘strengthen’. God gives you strength. Now there is a factor that is not entirely understood.
You’ve all heard of the heroism of some slightly built man or woman, who didn’t really have the, the ordinary power to lift a great weight, under the stimulation of some great crisis actually lifting a person much larger than himself or herself, and rescuing them from, say a burning building or something of that nature. Now how does this happen? How is it that, that a person who, normally, would not be able to do something, on occasion, has surprising reservoirs of strength? Well, I don’t suppose the scientists yet have a, have a complete answer to that. They can talk to you about the flow of certain glandular secretions that make your heart beat faster, and that make you more, more alert, and more active, and so on. I know. But after all, they don’t tell you that what really happens in those muscular tissues to make it possible for a person to do something unusual, something that couldn’t otherwise be done.
May I submit to you that Jesus Christ, by the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, does the work of strengthening you so that you’re able to bear the burdens that would otherwise crush you; so that you’re able to do the things by way of obedience to His commands, concerning which you would otherwise falter, and fall back. God does strengthen you. I quote for you again the verse that we used in the last broadcast we had together. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Strengthen with might by His Spirit, in the inner man. See, God will give you the power to do what He tells you to do. This I think is a truth that no one can successfully argue with. God will give you the power to do what He asks you to do. Oh, how do you apply that to your own life? Well I think, the, the first step has to do with giving yourself to God as you are.
I visited with my precious friend Bill Bright, just the other day. He and I were seated at a breakfast occasion, in connection with the ‘Friends of Israel Breakfast’ held during the Religious Broadcasters Convention in Washington, at the end of January, the beginning of February. There we were, seated together. And I always try to learn something from Bill when I’m with him because he is such a, such a sanctified container of wisdom, you know. And just, it, it is an experience of joy just to be with him. So I was asking him something about the beginnings of his work, and the development of his life in the early days.
He told me that he was in business when the Lord spoke to his heart about Christian work. He’d graduated from university, and now he had given his heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. And he said, “There came a day when Vonette– that’s Mrs. Bright – Vonette and I,” he said, “signed a contract with God, wherein we said that at that point and forevermore, we were giving all that we are, and all that we have, and all that we can do, to God.” And he said, “We wrote it out as a contract, and we signed our names to it. And from that time on, nothing was held as ours, but rather held, as His.”
He said not really long after, as he was in prayer, the whole idea of what is now called ‘Campus Crusade for Christ’ came to him, and opened up in his thinking. And he began to think and plan in the direction of those God-guided moves that have resulted in a vast, far-flung missionary enterprise, affecting not only the campuses of colleges and universities in our country, but also far-reaching evangelism across the world. So far as a matter of fact, that the concept of evangelizing the whole world by year 2000, took shape and is now being promoted, not only by Dr. Bright, but by many others.
All of it grew out of commitment. I guess what I’m saying is that if, if you want God to strengthen you, you’ll have to bring yourself to Him a hundred percent, just as you are. The old-fashioned expression about having your portrait painted realistically was, you want to paint the person as he is, warts and all. You remember that old expression? Well I guess that’s what we have to do when we’re coming to deal with God, beloved. He doesn’t want a gussied up kind of an appearance that hides our flaws, and makes light of our errors, and explains our mistakes, and our shortcomings. God wants us to give ourselves to Him just as we are.
Well–does the hymn writer say, “Just as I am without one plea, but that Thy blood be shed for me; and that Thou bidst me come to Thee; O Lamb of God, I come. Just as I am, thou wilt receive; wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve, because Thy promise I believe; O Lamb of God, I come.” Now strengthening starts with commitment. Yes it does, it starts with commitment. “That ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding,’ Paul says. Then it continues with obedience, “that ye might walk,” – that means how you live every day – “that you might live every day worthy of the Lord, unto all pleasing.” First, commitment, and then obedience.
Have you given thought recently to doing what God wants you to do? Much of our praying has to do what we’re asking God to do for us. Wouldn’t you agree? But have we given any thought recently, in any prayer, in any waiting on God, in considering the question, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” Mother interrupted a little boy’s evening prayers where he was saying, “God do this, and God do that.” She tapped the youngster on the shoulder, and she said, “Sunny boy, don’t bother giving orders, just report for duty.” “That ye might walk,” – means live every day –“worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
How do you get to know God better? By doing what He tells you. How simple the Word of God is, and how, how profoundly it affects our life, if we just take it seriously. The problem with most Christians, professed Christians and otherwise, is that we do not get serious about the Word of God. You want to know God better? Why, he said, just do what He tells you, and you’ll know Him better, and you will be fruitful, in good works. That’s the second thing: first, the commitment of faith, where you turn yourself over to Him. Second, the obedience of faith. And third, the miraculous strengthening of God’s Holy Spirit. Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness. Strengthened with all might.
The number of words for power in the New Testament – and Paul uses some of them here. He uses the verb that means the kind of strength that doesn’t get tired. And he uses the word that, that we call the bulldozer word, that just never, never quits, and is never held back by anything. What a tre- (Laughs), what a tremendous array of power God has for the believer. Let me look at it myself here in my Greek New Testament, a second, will you? “Strengthen with all might,” that’s verse 11 in Colossians 1. In all, now he uses the word, dunamis. We get our word ‘dynamic’ and ‘dynamite’ from that. And that’s the, the word that I told you a moment ago never quits, never gives up, it’s like the power, the shinning of the sun.
“Strengthen with all…” And then he uses the word kratos, which is the bulldozer word for power, the kind of that just chews up the mountains so that you have that combination then, of all of the power of God available for you, and for me. You never give up, you don’t have to worry about burnout, beloved, when God keeps on refreshing you. Paul said, “Though our outward man perish, yet our inward man is renewed day by day.” God can renew you. “They that wait on the Lord,” the Bible says, “shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles, and they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” To fly, to run, to walk. Everything you need in strength is given you by your blessed Lord.
What is it that God said to Paul when he was asking for relief from what he called his thorn in the flesh? “For this thing,” he said, “I besought the Lord thrice.” Three times he had extended periods of fasting and prayer, no doubt, in seeking God’s relief for this condition. “But He said unto me,” Paul continues, “My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength,” –there you have it – “is made perfect in your weakness.” So Paul goes on then and he says, “most gladly therefore will I would rather glory in my infirmity, my weakness; that, that God’s strength might be made perfect.”
See, there you have it. Oh listen, strengthen, strengthen, what is it? First, commitment. Second, obedience. Third, take it by faith. Then what happens? He says, ‘Unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness.” God will make a difference in your character when He strengthens your Spirit.
Dear Father, I pray that we might be strengthened with that commitment that lets God work His Almighty work and power through us, to the glory of our Lord Jesus, I pray in His name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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