1 Thessalonians 2:3-5
New American Standard Version
3 For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit; 4 but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts. 5 For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed — God is our witness.
Yet, in spite of all of their efforts, we were determined to share His truth with you by His mighty power and our Lord allowed us to do so. The message that we brought to you was the message of truth, not some religious nonsense like so many others. We came to you with pure hearts and right motives. We never made any effort to deceive or manipulate you in any way. We don’t have to rely on such dishonesty because we have been appointed by God Himself to bring you His message and His power is far greater than any human techniques or salesmanship.
“How does this help me become more like Him?”
I remember when I was a young teenager that I used to go out with the work crews of my uncle’s utility business during my summer vacations. I would sometimes ride with the workers in the big trucks that carried the heavy machinery. I was at the age where I was just learning to drive and I wanted to drive those big trucks so badly. One day the foreman let me try to drive the truck for a very short distance in the work yard. I remember that it took all of my strength to try to turn the steering wheel of that big truck. These were the days before power assisted steering was common. The truck was so heavy it was very difficult for me as a youth to turn the wheel.
That same summer my uncle bought a brand new Pontiac. I thought it was the most beautiful car I had ever seen. I was so excited when he told me he would let me drive it (with him in the front seat of course) and I got behind the wheel. I was amazed at how easy it was to steer that big luxury car. I could literally turn the steering wheel with one finger. He explained to me that it was because of a new option called “power steering”. A special device enabled the power of the engine to make turning the steering wheel almost effortless.
I see a clear analogy of the Christian life. If we try to live for Christ or do God’s work through our own human abilities, we will struggle and often fail miserably. If our aim is to gain the attention, admiration, or approval of other people, we are attempting to do the divine in human strength. However, when our aim becomes to please and obey the Lord alone and decide that what other people think is insignificant, we open a door in our lives to the empowering Spirit of God. When we are filled with His Holy Spirit and doing what He has directed us to do for no other reason than to be pleasing to Him, His power enables us to accomplish what we would struggle or even fail to do in our own strength.
The power of the Holy Spirit in our lives makes all the difference. It becomes like the power assisted steering in that massive automobile all those years ago. What would take all of our strength to turn on our own becomes almost effortless in the power of His Spirit.
If you’ve ever driven an automobile when the power steering has suddenly gone out, you know what a struggle it can be just to get safely to the side of the road, let alone to try to continue on a road with sharp turns and unexpected twists. It is even more difficult to try to navigate the Christian life without the power of God’s Spirit.
Are you trying to make it down a difficult road steering in your own strength? Are you finding that no matter how hard you try it seems to get more difficult rather than easier? It’s time to quit struggling and start seeking Him. You have to let go before He will take control. You must not only do the right things, you must do them for the right motives and with the right source of power and strength. You must give up before you can go forward.
“How should I pray for Him to change my life?”
Ask the Lord to show you if there is anything that you are seeking to do in your own strength that should only be done in the power of the Holy Spirit. Pray for the discernment to recognize when you should quit struggling and surrender to Him. Just as Jesus did only the will of the Father, ask the Lord to work through you as He chooses, not help you do what you choose.