“You are strong, but you don’t have to be.” I will never forget those words spoken over me at a Thursday night prayer. God was speaking directly to my heart. He was addressing years of physical and verbal abuse from my father, who made me feel as though his love was something I had to earn.
That perspective transferred over to my relationship with God. I knew that Jesus died for me but I didn’t think He could really love me, want to help me, or be my friend because I hadn’t earned it yet. So, for years, I tried to do better and be better out of my own strength and will power. But when I heard those words – “You are strong, but you don’t have to be” – I realized that God didn’t want me to try harder. He wanted me to depend on Him.
Ephesians 2:9-10 says, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
We cannot become better or more righteous by trying harder. It is only by looking at Jesus, believing in His grace, and fully receiving his gift that we become NEW people through the transforming power of Christ!
Dearest Reader, I believe that God says this to you too – “You are strong, but you don’t have to be.” Stop trying to do things on your own. Invite God into the process. He can and He wants to transform you. Romans 10 in the Message translation says it best – “You’re not ‘doing’ anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation.”
Prayer: God, thank You for your grace. I am done trying to do it all on my own. I fully surrender and depend on You to transform my life. I am a new person because of Your gift, not my behavior. Please help me hear from the Holy Spirit and hunger for the truth of Your word. Thank You that your strength is made perfect in my weaknesses.
Rachel Flores moved to Ventura from Seattle, Washington in 2015 and now works as the City Kids Director at The City Church Agoura campus. She is passionate about mentoring young women (join her college or high school City Group!), outreach and missions, and volunteers as the Missions Coordinator for California Coast Bible College. On her days off, you’ll find Rachel at brunch with friends or exploring Malibu.