Not by Might
WE CAN’T CONSISTENTLY MAKE RIGHT CHOICES IN OUR OWN STRENGTH.
Bible Reading of the Day: Read Psalm 44:1-8.
Verse of the Day: ‘”Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6, NIV).
“Dad, can I run the buffer this time?” Erin asked. Erin’s dad was the custodian at the school she attended. She often went with him on weekends to sweep and wax the floors.
“We’ll see,” he said. “But first we need to sweep and pick up.” He and Erin walked around the room, picking up homework papers, candy wrappers, and other items the students had left behind. Erin picked up a multicolored hair “scrunchy.” She walked toward the large plastic garbage can on wheels.
“You’re not going to throw that away, are you?” Dad asked. “That should go in the lost-and-found box. Whoever owns it will want it back.”
“I know who it belongs to,” Erin said.
“Well, then, why don’t you keep it and give it to her on Monday?”
“It belongs to Gabrielle,” she said. “She’s … well, she’s just not very nice. I’ll just put it in the lost-and-found box.”
When the floor had been swept thoroughly, Dad mopped it and applied a coat of wax. After the wax dried, Erin begged her dad again to let her run the machine that buffed the floor to a brilliant shine. Dad plugged the machine in, and Erin held the handles. She wrestled the spinning base of the machine across the floor. After only a few moments, her arms were sore from her struggle against the machine.
Dad smiled when she stopped to take a break. “Pretty hard work, isn’t it?”
Erin nodded. “I don’t think I’m strong enough to do it,” she said.
“You don’t have to be strong,” Dad said. “You just have to let the machine do the work. You’re trying to steer the buffer by using your muscles. And you’re right—you don’t have the strength for that. But you can steer the buffer with one finger, if you don’t try to ‘muscle’ it where you want to go.” He demonstrated, lifting the handle gently when he wanted the buffer to move right, and lowering the handle when he wanted it to go left; the circular motion of the buffer’s base did the work.
“You know, Erin,” he said after his short demonstration, “it’s not so different when there’s someone who’s unkind to you. You don’t have the ‘muscle’ to love that person in your own strength.” He pointed a finger at her chest. “As a Christian, you have God’s Spirit living inside you. He can find ways to be kind to Gabrielle through you, if you’re willing.”
Erin nodded. “I guess I do wanna do the right thing,” she said. “And I’m gonna need God’s help to love Gabrielle-that’s for sure!”
TO DISCUSS: None of us is strong enough to make right choices all the time. That’s why we need God’s help. Do you have God’s Spirit living inside you? How can you depend on God to make right choices through you?
TO PRAY: “Lord, remind us that we can’t do anything on our own. We need your Spirit.”