He Gives Us Strength

I must confess, I have been known to watch a few reality TV shows in my day.  Now, my brother works for a reality TV production company in LA, so it gives me an excuse to “be supportive” and do some good research for him.  One of my all times favorites is So You Think You Can Dance.  I think partly because it allows me to live vicariously through other dancers as I think what might have happened if I never quit ballet when I was 8 to fulfill my destiny and become a prima ballerina.

This past summer was one of their best seasons.  One dance continues to stick with me called “Addiction”.  It’s a contemporary piece to the song “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles.  The music combined with the choreography does a powerful job capturing the emotion and struggle of trying break free from whatever addiction is holding us down. 

Have you ever found yourself stuck in an unhealthy cycle unable to break free?  Addiction can come in all shapes and forms–under eating, overeating, lethargy, alcoholism, materialism, unhealthy relationships, over exercise–there are tons of examples we face every day.  While the things that hold us back might take different forms, many of the symptoms are the same and sometimes no matter how hard we try, we fall victim to that one thing over and over again and think it will never leave us…

The good news is that Christ is able to strengthen our hearts and help to set us free.  Not only does he shower us with grace as we looked at last week, BUT He is also able to strengthen our hearts and help break us out of our unhealthy patterns and addictions.
 Isaiah 61 is a beautiful prophecy depicting Christ as a healer and messenger of freedom and comfort.  Christ came to earth to make these words a reality in our lives.  I can’t read them without getting goosebumps because each time I am reminded of the incredible, sovereign power we have as a result of Christ.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
       because the LORD has anointed me
       to preach good news to the poor.
       He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
       to proclaim freedom for the captives
       and release from darkness for the prisoners, 
 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
       and the day of vengeance of our God,
       to comfort all who mourn,
 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
       to bestow on them a crown of beauty
       instead of ashes,
       the oil of gladness
       instead of mourning,
       and a garment of praise
       instead of a spirit of despair.

       They will be called oaks of righteousness,
       a planting of the LORD
       for the display of his splendor.”
Isaiah 61:1-3

As we wrestle through our various forms of entrapment, I pray that we will know we’re not alone.  As we draw near to Christ, may we begin to know and understand what true freedom in Christ looks like. 

In Christ there is strength, power, and protection. 

“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”
2 Thesselonians 3:3 (NIV)
What verses have you found that strengthen your heart?