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Weak Spots


As soon as we heard the sound, we knew something was wrong.

We were blessed to live in a home with beautiful hardwood floors. Hearing it fracture underfoot was both unnerving and surprising. Hardwood floors, after all, are supposed to be made out of wood that's hard, not wood that will split when stepped on.

The carpenter's assessment was simple: rather than laying the hardwood on a flat subfloor, whoever had installed it had put in tiny joists which held up each plank. Over time, the distance between the joists allowed weakness in the planks and one simply gave out, cracking in half.

In our last article, I Got the Power, we saw that believers in Jesus have access to the same power that raised Christ from the dead. In our everyday lives, however, we struggle to access that power. We might describe ourselves as busy, tired, distracted, or discouraged, but never powerful. The floor of our lives resembles cracked 1950's-era linoleum more than beautiful, well-crafted hardwood. We don't just need to fix a cracked plank or two, we need a whole new floor.

If God has given us these great and precious promises, why are our lives so in need of a good mopping? And, more importantly, what do we do about it? Scripture gives us two actions we can take to experience more of his power, and they are surprisingly similar to the actions needed to replace a floor.

1. Load Up

In order to improve our floor (or our lives) we need to make sure we have the right materials. If the room we're reflooring measures 12 feet by 15 feet, we'll need at least 180 square feet of flooring. Probably more, as we never know what unexpected surprises we might encounter.

Before the carpenter could do anything to fix our floor, he needed to find replacement planks that matched the planks we had. And he didn't just buy one, even though only one broke. He purchased several.

The material we need more than any other is a solid supply of Scripture. Accessing God's power requires us to lay God's word as the very foundation of our lives. If we don't have an adequate supply of it hidden in our hearts, we will be unable to live the kind of life God created us for. (See Psalm 119:11; Matthew 4:4 and 7:24-25)

And yet, less than half of those who regularly attend church read the Bible more than once a week. One in five never read the Bible. Only about a third of evangelical Protestants read the Bible every day. The word of God may be "living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12), but if we don't regularly spend time with it, we'll never be able to wield it.

How do we load up on God's word? Read it; study it; listen to it; memorize it; talk about it. Read your Bible for as little as 12 minutes each day and in a year you'll have read the whole thing! You can do this.

2. Ruthlessly Replace

Once we start gathering the materials, it's time to start doing something with them. Now we have a whole pile of hard wood flooring stacked against the wall. But the floor is still covered in old, dirty, chipped linoleum. Reading the Bible isn't enough. Studying it will only get us part way there. Even memorizing it doesn't complete the process. We need to actually install it. Just like the flooring in our living room, we need to tear up the old tile and lay the new hardwood. But in our case, instead of replacing flooring we're replacing thoughts.

The Apostle Paul tells us to "take every thought captive" and "make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5) The temptation is to leave the existing tile in place and simply install the new hardwood on top of it. Instead of examining our hearts, opinions, beliefs, and worldview, we just layer it over with our new knowledge of Scripture. We now have the appearance of godliness, but we still don't have the power. Ultimately this leads to arrogance and hypocrisy. (See 1 Corinthians 8:1)

Instead, we need to pry up the old tile and replace it with the new hardwood. We start by paying attention to our thoughts and beliefs. Have you ever said any of these to yourself?

  • "God can't use me."

  • "Those people are always ..."

  • "People get what they deserve."

  • "I could never ..."

  • "Suffering is a sign of failure."

  • "At least I'm not like that."

  • "My relationship with God is based on my behavior."

These are just some of the many, many lies we tell ourselves all the time. Like the old, dirty linoleum, they stain our lives and keep us from experiencing God's power. God wants to gently peel away the lies and replace them with his truth. Whenever you find yourself quoting a lie, replace it with God's truth. Here are some truths to get you started:

"God can't use me."

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. (2 Corinthians 4:7 ESV)

"Those people are always ..."

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23 ESV)

"People get what they deserve."

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 ESV)

"I could never ..."

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 ESV)

"Suffering is a sign of failure."

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, (Romans 5:3 ESV)

"At least I'm not like that."

Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? (Matthew 7:3 ESV)

"My relationship with God is based on my behavior."

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, (Ephesians 2:8 ESV)

As we take those lies captive and replace them with truth, over time our emotions and behaviors catch up with God's word and we begin to experience his work in our lives. Christian, God's power is available to you through his word. It's time to lay aside all that keeps us from it, boldly grasp it, and make it the foundation of everything we think, say and do.

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

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