The Need For Divine Strength
=MsoTitle>Sunday Morning April 29th, 2007Philippians 4:8-13
I grew up on a dairy farm. My dad started every day at 2:30 AM. On the days we didn’t have school, I would accompany him to the barn and we would begin the laborious process of milking nearly 100 cows. After the milking came the clean up, the feeding, the doctoring, and the general farm work. We took a break for breakfast at 9 AM and dad would get a nap. I would take care of the pigs, the calves, and occasionally cut the grass. At 2:30 PM, we made our way back to the milk barn and reenacted the morning routine. We usually got home around 7 PM, had supper and went to bed by 8:30.
You can imagine how pleased I was when dad decided he didn’t want to be a dairyman anymore! He took a job with Turner Dairies as a route salesman for a few years then went to work for All Jersey dairies until a major heart attack forced him to retire. I accompanied him on the milk route just as I had when he was milking the cows. I didn’t have the opportunity to play organized sports or to hang out with kids my own age. I did, however, have the opportunity to hear some funny stories and witness some rather entertaining events.
I recall a Saturday morning at the Sharon Super Market. I had no way of knowing at the time, that I would a few years later pastor a church attended by all those present that day. Mr. Jodie Hathcoat sold his farm and moved into a house just across the highway from the grocery store. Gene Finch provided him a stool to sit on at the front of the store and Mr. Jodie would spend his day observing and talking to those that came to do their shopping. Gene’s sons took turns buffing the floors every morning and Mr. Jodie would often comment about how it looked to be such fun. On this particular Saturday, Gene had not yet come in and his oldest son Jerry offered to let Mr. Jodie handle the buffer. What followed has entertained me through the years.
The buffer pushed Mr. Jodie around the front of the store and he knocked over several canned good displays. The whole time he was yelling, “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Everyone was telling him to let go of the handles but he was holding on for dear life. He finally got stopped when the buffer pushed him out the automatic doors and yanked the plug out of the wall. Mr. Jodie failed to control the buffer because he attempted it in his own strength.
We believers are often guilty of attempting to live the Christian Life in our own strength. The Apostle Paul attributed the peace he enjoyed to a proper understanding of God’s empowerment.
I. God Has Promised Divine Strength
A. It is desperately needed for we are naturally as weak as water
1. We must have Divine strength to overcome the civil war being waged within our hearts
2. We need Divine strength to begin and finish the work of the Church
3. We need God’s strength to attempt the impossible tasks He appoints us
Note: We are often tormented by our doubt s concerning our ability to serve the Lord. When in truth, we are like the Tin-man, the Lion, and the Scarecrow – We had the ability all along!
B. God’s strength is freely given
1. Just as muscles develop and strengthen with exercise, so too will our potential grow with our faith
2. We can’t earn it or buy it – we must ask and receive it
C. His strength is delightful
1. Just as a sick person rejoices in the return of strength
2. With this strength comes spiritual appetite
3. With this strength comes a desire for more exercise
II. Divine Strength, When Received, Produces Contentment
Faith in the Lord’s might takes the pressure off us. We are not expected to thrive or even to manage in our own strength! The old saying, “Let go and let God” should be our cry!