When I talk with God, I have a chair I like to sit in to pray. It’s where I go to commune with Him! I process life’s ups and downs in my chair.
One particular morning, I slumped into my chair feeling discouraged, weak, and tired. I was trying so hard to do the things God was leading me in, to follow His Word, to live an overcoming life, etc. But it felt like the harder I tried, the more I failed! I totally related to Paul when he said I do the things I don’t want to do and don’t do the things I want to do! I was giving it my best shot and it didn’t seem to be enough. Of course the enemy capitalized on this telling me I was too weak and worthless and I just didn’t have it in me. I wasn’t enough! I cried out to the Lord in frustration and desperation. He led me to read the following passage in Zechariah 4:
“1 Now the angel who talked with me came back and wakened me, as a man who is wakened out of his sleep.
2 And he said to me, “What do you see?” So I said, “I am looking, and there is a lampstand of solid gold with a bowl on top of it, and on the stand seven lamps with seven pipes to the seven lamps.
3 Two olive trees are by it, one at the right of the bowl and the other at its left.”
4 So I answered and spoke to the angel who talked with me, saying, “What are these, my lord?”
5 Then the angel who talked with me answered and said to me, “Do you not know what these are?” And I said, “No, my lord.”
6 So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says the LORD of hosts.”
At first, I was thinking maybe I heard wrong. How does a vision of a lampstand, oil, and olive trees apply to my situation? The Lord gently encouraged me to dig deeper into the scripture and study it further. I was thinking, “If Zerubbabel didn’t even know what his vision meant, how was I going to figure it out?!” But again the Lord gently encouraged me to dig.
As I did, I discovered that the lampstand represents us as the Church. The oil represents the Holy Spirit. And the olive trees represent being connected to a constant supply of the Spirit. And here’s where God really began to speak to my heart!
As it says in verse 6, It’s not by our might or power, but by His Spirit that we live, get things done, do things that are meaningful, etc. His Spirit is what does the work in us and through us! Like Acts 17:28 says, in Him we live and move and have our being! However, I was trying to do things through my own strength and efforts. I wasn’t blatantly saying, “God I don’t need you, I got this!” But, in my sincere efforts to live for Him, I was striving. Striving is struggling in opposition or making strenuous efforts or struggling vigorously. Striving was interfering with my connection to the Spirit and blocking Its ability to flow and work in my life!
I think back to a time I was talking with my mentor about different things I was struggling with, trials I was facing, etc. I told her I just needed to get in prayer and really fight hard. I remember her saying that that’s not what I needed to do. I was a little shocked and thought, “Isn’t prayer always the answer?” But, she wasn’t saying I didn’t need to pray but rather that I needed to go from striving to surrendering everything to God in prayer.
Sometimes we strive so hard to fight the good fight, that we forget where our victory comes from. True victory and power is found in the place of surrender; where we recognize our need for God and allow Him to do what only He can in our lives! Surrender is what keeps us connected like the lampstand that is connected to the constant supply of oil. As long as we stay connected, His Spirit will always be readily available to flow to us and through us empowering us to do things that we are incapable of on our own. I am not enough. My strength is not enough. And that’s okay because He is more than enough!
How freeing to know I don’t have to do it through my own strength because I have limits! I can determine to push on the mountain with all my strength. I can exhaust all my efforts pushing and striving. I can come at it from different angles and use different methods. But on my own, I’m not gonna move that mountain! But when I resolve in my heart and mind, that I am not strong enough, when I instead exchange my strength for His, that’s when I can say unto that mountain be thou removed and cast into the sea like the Bible says in Mark 11!
Have you been struggling to overcome fear or anxiety? Are you struggling to figure out how you are going to do what God is calling you to do? Are you seemingly fighting a losing battle and can’t seem to understand why you can’t progress to victory? Maybe it’s time to move out of the way, stop striving, and allow God to do it instead.
Let His Spirit defeat fear in your life! Let His Spirit demolish anxiety! Let His Spirit empower you to victory!