I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Are You Strong Enough?


“You are strong.” “Be Strong.” “You just have to be strong.”
When I hear those sayings, I cringe. 
What if I’m not strong? What is strong enough?
Thinking that all you must do is digging inside yourself and getting that “strength” is wrong.
Satan did that and he got kicked out of heaven for it. He said, “I will, I will, I will.”
Isn’t that the same strength we rely on when we say, “Be strong”?
Yet that thinking pervades Christianity.

Most biblical examples of men who followed God showed how these men were brought to utter dependence upon God.
They acknowledged their own weakness and then saw God as their strength.

How strong was Abraham? Abraham, when he depended on his own reasoning and strength, told his wife, “I’ll be killed if some man wants you, because you are lovely, tell them I’m your brother.” (He did this twice.) Poor Sarah if that’s all she could depend upon!
Isaiah, when commissioned as God’s spokesman, wasn’t told, “You can do it! Be strong!” 
When Isaiah said, “Woe is me. I am undone” (Isaiah 6:5), then God used him.
God told Moses to talk to Pharaoh. He didn’t say, “You can do this!” He said, “I will be with you.”
In fact when Paul was explaining this process, he said, “When I am weak, then I am made strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). It wasn’t a false sense of humility—it was recognizing he-was-weak. And when he finally realized he was weak, and told God, God used him.
Our strength, even in daily activities, must come from God or our actions will be wood, hay, stubble. It’s in acknowledging our weakness and depending totally on God that we find His strength.
You aren't saved, until you know you are lost.  You can do nothing. You need help.
Then you realize what Christ has done for you. God did it all.
He saves me.
But it doesn't stop there. He doesn't leave us and say, "Do your best."
He works to change me. 

When my husband was deployed twice. Each time there were major issues at home. Having our finances cut by a third, yet still have the same bills—and paying them, that was a miracle. Having health issues, boys growing into men, crises after crises. I did not have the strength.
When I relied, not on my own strength—it wouldn’t be enough, but on God,
His grace held me. That's where the "peace that passeth all understanding" (Philippians 4:7) comes from.

This past year, there were several family and health issues. I’d tell God, “I can’t do this.”
I was trying to do it on my own.
I had to let go and give it to God.
It’s that total dependence upon God.
He must do it all. Or it doesn't happen.
And He does. 
But it takes our submission.

We buck, kick, resist, struggle, fight, deny our need, stand strong….
But it’s only when we yield to Him, that we find His strength.
It was there all the time.
Waiting for us to say, “Help!”
Our independence keeps us from getting close to God.
It also keeps us from being used by God.

Look at great men of God.
Daniel prayed every day, even when the penalty was the lions’ den. When the time came for the lions’ den, God gave him strength. It was his daily submission to God’s desire that enabled the lions’ den experience to be successful. He didn’t say, “I can do this.” He willingly let God do it. He was part of a miracle.

Jeremiah told king after king that captivity was coming, even when he was thrown into a dungeon for it. God gave him strength to preach His Word, in spite of the consequences. Jeremiah’s sufferings still bring comfort and help to God’s people.

Moses stood before Pharaoh and said, “Let God’s people go.” Not because he was a great spokesman, but because he had God’s presence.
When you have God’s presence, whatever He tells you to do, you do with His strength.

Stephen was able to forgive as they stoned him.
He saw Christ standing at the throne of God. He knew God’s presence.

You say, “I can’t do that.”
And that is true.

We can’t—ever. Not in our own strength.*

Are you strong enough? Never.
But God gives the strength to do what He wants done when we surrender ourselves to Him.

You don’t model examples from the Bible but its principles; otherwise we could be like Judas, and say, “go and do likewise.”
God doesn’t expect everyone to go before Pharaoh and demand freedom.

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Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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