March 28, 2016

Beauty Begins: Winning the Battle

by Chris Shook and Megan Shook Alpha

So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NLT)

Insecurity is an indiscriminate enemy! It doesn’t matter who you are, male or female, rich or poor. Strangely, some of the most beautiful people I know suffer from insecurity. I believe, as a woman, that one of the biggest thorns is this constant insecurity about our looks, our personalities, our bodies, our talents – who we are. Men suffer from it as well with a never ending search for significance through success and greater achievements. This thorn reminds me of a man in the Bible named Paul who was given “a thorn” in his flesh, something he constantly struggled with that kept him from becoming proud. He prayed three times for God to take it away, but instead God would use that very thorn to demonstrate His power and grace through Paul’s life. This thorn of insecurity will probably be something we battle for the rest of our lives as well, but God says to us the same thing He said to Paul, “I’ll give you the grace to overcome, and I’ll use your thorn to demonstrate My power through your life.” Paul’s experience give us hope in winning the daily battle within.

Lean on God’s Power
Did you notice what God said to Paul when he prayed for God to remove his thorn? “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.  Each time He said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.’ So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me…For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:6-10 NLT)  God would use Paul’s thorn to keep him dependent on Him, to prevent him from becoming proud and require him to lean on the Lord’s power and not his own.  We are often so independent minded that we think we can fix our problems without God in our own strength.  But God says that His power works best in our weakness.  When we lean on God’s power we begin to win the battle within and experience the confidence that only comes from His grace.

Trust in God’s Word
We think the thorn is our looks or our bodies, so we focus on changing our appearance. But the thorn we need to fight against is our mind-set. We try to fix “problems” with the way we look, when the real problem is the way we think. We’re trying to fix our bodies, when we need to be looking to Jesus so He can fix our mind-set. In this daily battle we must learn to choose the mirror of God’s truth over the mirror of Satan’s lies. Yes, it’s a daily, moment-by-moment struggle to live in the truth that we are beautiful, that we have value and worth. But I want to say a resounding YES! There is victory in the struggle as we let our insecurities push us deeper into the secure arms of God and begin to trust in His Word.

Rest in God’s Love
But here’s something important: you have to stop beating yourself up when you lose one of these daily battles, because Christ has already won the war! The battle may be constant, but the victory is instant! Because of what Christ did on the cross, we now have complete forgiveness for all our failures. When you mess up and choose to believe Satan’s lie that you’re not beautiful or you’re not significant, he hits you with a second lie. Satan whispers, “God doesn’t love you because you keep losing the battle within. You’re such a loser!”

Nothing could be further from the truth! When you lose a battle, the loss doesn’t make you a loser. When you fail, that doesn’t make you a failure. God’s love for you doesn’t wane when you sin and disobey Him. You don’t change the truth of your true beauty when you make an ugly mess of things. Your beauty comes from God and it’s eternal. God’s love for you never changes. You have to choose to rest in His love.

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