The Horse: A Picture of Strength
I love to see horses galloping across a mountain ridge, muscles bulging, nostrils exhaling steam in the crisp air. What a picture of strength and power to anyone who views such a sight.
The Strengths We Lean Upon
Mankind has depended upon the strength of the horse to defeat his enemy in battle, but it is a strength upon which we are commanded not to depend.
The strength that we must depend upon can only come from the Source of All Strength who desires to bestow us with power that confounds the unbelieving onlooker and draws their attention to Almighty God.
We each have leaned upon our horses of money, family, friends, and societal status. Our experiences have taught us, however, that these horses will not sustain us.
The Horse of Religious Pride
The Bible tells us about a man named Paul who leaned upon his horse of religious pride. He was a Pharisee of Pharisees, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, and considered himself blameless concerning the law. Some might say he was a bully who used the law to hide his own weaknesses.
Paul’s intention was to destroy the followers of Jesus. Yet he was brought to his face in the dirt on a road to Damascus. The brilliance of God’s presence stripped him to the foundation of his religious beliefs. The walls of his resistance were broken down by a voice from heaven, “[I]t is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (Acts 9:5). Left blinded, Paul’s companions led him by the hand into Damascus where he was left on Straight Street. When the dust settled, three days had passed before he finally regained any sight.
“[I]t is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” Acts 9:5
The Horse of Self-Sufficiency
It was there on Straight Street where the Master Architect in Heaven began to reveal His plans for Paul’s life. Through the disciple, Ananias, God began laying a new foundation that would enable Paul to truly know Christ and the power of His resurrection.
Following God’s instructions, Ananias lay his hands upon Paul speaking words that opened the windows of Paul’s understanding. His life’s calling was revealed to him. He would be God’s witness to all men, experiencing great things “for Christ’s sake” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Paul’s experiences “for Christ’s sake” soon revealed a path that would take him through mental, physical, and emotional suffering. Having a weak body and contemptible speech, his horse of self-sufficiency toppled.
Seeking deliverance from his weaknesses, God’s words of wisdom came to him, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
The True Source of Strength Revealed
Humbled to submission, Paul realized that he could do nothing without the indwelling power of Christ. He became thankful for his weaknesses because those weaknesses revealed Christ’s strength at work through him. In fact, his weaknesses became the tools that God used to make his ministry powerful.
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
The Transformation That Must Take Place
What transformation must take place before we can truly become strong? With Paul, this transformation began with prayer, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6).
God gave Paul a simple instruction, “Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” Paul obeyed and was led to the city of Damascus, and there the cracks in his foundation were replaced with the solid foundation that enabled him to truly stand for Christ.
As Paul yielded to God’s plan, his life was transformed. He found that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him. The horses that he had previously depended upon were laid aside.
“And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:3–5).
The Weakness That Drives Us to the True Source
Many are the stories that one could tell of those who “out of weakness were made strong” (Hebrews 11:34). Weakness is the catapult that drives us to God’s presence. It is the horse that bucks us into the arms of God’s abounding grace that is given to us as we submit to its transforming power to conform us to the image of Christ. We learn to embrace this misunderstood friend as we lay ourselves prostrate before a holy God and wait for His enduement of power from on high.
Circumstances of life may have left us in difficult places. Yet as we yield to God’s transforming power, we will discover that He can make our lives fruitful regardless of any handicaps or weaknesses that hinder us.
Emptied of our own strength, we must acknowledge that the horses of this world cannot empower us. We must then choose to embrace the Source of All Strength, our Almighty God, who enables us to do all things through Christ.
My prayer for you today is that you will focus not upon your weaknesses but upon the One who can accomplish great feats through you that will confound unbelievers and draw them into the arms of the true Source of All Strength.
When you feel weak and defeated may the following verse be an encouragement to you. It has helped me tremendously when my weaknesses have tried to overwhelm me.
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward [me]; that [I], always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
Dear Father in Heaven, I realize I have no strength of my own. I confess that I have depended upon the horses of this world and they have failed me.
I now lay them aside and embrace You as the Source of All Strength. I yield to Your transforming power. Enable me to fulfill Your purpose and follow Your plan for my life.
Thank you for Your indwelling presence that will make my life fruitful and will empower me to do Your will through Christ my Saviour. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
In what ways do we allow our weaknesses/handicaps to hinder us from doing God’s will?
How is God’s strength perfected in us?
What horses have I personally leaned upon to strengthen me instead of leaning upon the strength that only God can give me?
All Scripture quotations above are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.