Man’s Strength vs God’s Strength

Every once in a while I find myself dropping in at a church service on television for a few minutes while flipping through the channels in search of some entertainment or inspiration to write. This week, I happened to attend to a preacher who was certainly not the TD Jakes type of preacher who focuses on every day, practical issues, with the aim of improving lives. He was one of those traditional scripture-pelting, mention-Jesus-in-every-sentence preachers. “We need to learn to rely more on God instead of relying on our own strength,” the preacher implored. “With faith the size of a mustard seed you can move mountains… I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…” By the trend of his rhetoric, I deduced that he was having a problem with people who think they can accomplish things without God’s help.
My brain was already in overdrive with a slew of questions, like, “How
exactly does one rely on God’s strength?”, and “How does one differentiate between God’s strength and one’s own efforts? Isn’t it a fact that there are many people who accomplish a lot without God?” Since there would be no forthcoming response from the televangelist, I decided to do some research on the internet in order to get a synopsis of the Christian explanation for what it means to rely on God’s strength. One blogger offered “5 Ways to Rely on God’s Strength to Beat Your Giants” and among his recommendations was to give up – to surrender and stop trying. I guess that was his way of saying “Take a break. Regroup. If you keep trying the same strategy over and over you will get the same results. Clear your mind and in your moment of clarity you will be able to think more divergently because every problem has a solution.” Several other articles expressed similar ideas – that our strength is limited and we should trust more in God.
Nowhere did I come across any information which suggested that we do nothing and leave it all in the capable hands of Jesus. Not one writer cared to explain the difference between God’s strength and man’s strength. In other words, when you’re having your weak moments, when you’re tired and frustrated, ready to throw in the towel and you get on your knees and pray and subsequently feel reenergized to continue the struggle, how do you know that your renewed enthusiasm and energy
came from God? Couldn’t you have achieved the same thing by taking a sex break, smoking some weed, or getting a pep talk from your best friend?
The underlying principle in the idea of relying on God’s strength seems to me to be: After you’ve done all that you could possibly do – after you’ve prepared, planned, and worked hard – relax, and don’t you worry. What will be, will be. That is a very common sense principle which works just as effectively for the non-believer as it does for the believer. Worrying accomplishes absolutely nothing, but instead causes much stress, clouded judgment, and anxiety. Think of it, if you’re sufficiently qualified for a job, for instance, and you did your best at the interview, what more can you do to ensure that you get the job? Will you put a gun to the employer’s head and force him to hire you? There is just nothing more to be done but wait.
Religious people, however, are impatient and seem to be obsessed with wanting to have a special advantage over everybody else. So instead of being at the mercy of fate like every Tom, Dick, and Heathen, they attempt to gain an advantage by summoning their superhero to demonstrate his “strength” by magically swinging the outcome of various events to their favour. They suffer from a strange dependency syndrome which tends
to kick in only when they are unable to control the outcome of an event, when they are sick, or when they have hit rock bottom. Prior to that, when life is good and health is in order, who needs God?

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