The Lord used an email I received today to admonish me against boasting too much about the blessings and victories He gives me. Certainly, I should praise Him, and do so publicly, when He graciously brings me through a major trial. People need to see His power and faithfulness to me in a way that encourages them to trust Him through their own struggles. But in telling people how He has worked in my life, I must take great care to remember my vulnerabilities.
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. ~~1 Corinthians 10:12 (ESV)
When the Lord does something wonderful for me, I often find myself managing to share just a little piece of the glory, even as I outwardly claim that I want all the applause to go to Him. (Hypocrisy comes so easily!) In contrast, I believe the Lord would have me respond to the various victories He gives me with fear and trembling as I acknowledge my continuing dependence on His strength. Even though He gets me through huge trials (like my husband’s concurrent cancer and heart attack three years ago), I never want to imagine myself as gaining my own strength through my trials.
Don’t misunderstand me. The Lord does build my faith as I review all the instances of His faithfulness. He also uses Scripture to confront me with his record of faithfulness to Israel in order that I might appropriate those lessons to my own life. He does develop my faith as I look back on all He has done with the understanding that He will continue to demonstrate His faithfulness to me. He definitely wants me to learn how much I can trust His ability and desire to care for me.
My point here is that the Lord wants me to keep in mind that an isolated victory doesn’t immunize me against future trials of the same nature. If John gets seriously ill again, I dare not suppose that I have strength in and of myself to avoid the sinful reactions I had three years ago. While I pray that I’ll remember how Christ provided for me then, I also pray that I’ll maintain a focus, not on my ability to trust Him, but on the Lord’s faithfulness.
Jesus alone deserves the honor for any victory He gives me. When He comes through for me, as He always does, let me be very careful not to think that I’ve lost my vulnerability in that area. I will never lose my absolute dependence on His power and grace.