- Deuteronomy 8
- Psalm 91
- Isaiah 36
I love God’s description of Pharaoh Isaiah 36:6, “That broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it!” That’s quite a picture. Something that we think is going to be beneficial to us.. something that will hold our weight when we lean on it.. but is actually a hindrance.
Interesting to contrast that to what God said in Deut 8:2-3 “God has led you these 40 years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart… that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” What we see as something to put splinters in our hands God says, “No, that will show you where your true source of strength is.” But, what we think is our source of strength, God says, “It’s a broken reed that will only splinter and pierce your hands!”
So, what are the things we tend to rely on that could be broken reeds to us? Here are some of the things that tend to be broken reeds for me.
- financial security
- my knowledge and training
- my physical abilities
What hinders me from being effective? Here’s a lie I often believe and tend to live as though it is true: “I have to fix people…” or even more basic, “I can fix people.” The truth is, only God is able to change hearts and “fix” people!
Paul Tripp said, “We are not what people need. Our purpose is to connect them to a living, active, redeeming Christ. He gives them what they need so that they can do what they have been called to do amid the difficulties of life. I am nothing more than a brother. I stand alongside you and point you to the Father. I stand next to you and tell you stories of his amazing love and care. I share with you the things I have learned on his lap and at his feet. I take your hand and walk with you to him. As brothers and sisters we put the focus where it must be—on our all-wise, almighty, and ever-present Father. “
Another lie I often believe is, “If I don’t say something to that person, they won’t ever see where they need to grow, and it’s going to hinder their work.” Wow! Where is God in that? I recognize that I constantly evaluate people for where they need to grow, rather than looking for the positive. But it sounds so good… I want to help people! I want to see them succeed! But, I am GOD’S instrument! My job is to take their hand and walk with them to Jesus. Not, taking their hand and twist it until they turn around!
Well done faithful servant, is a much greater motivator than, “You know you are really bad at that, and you really should fix it.”
Ps 91:1-2 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust!” That’s the source I need to point them to.
Declarations of Truth
- I am not what people need!
- My job is to come alongside, stand next to, and lead people to Jesus.
- If I don’t say something at this very moment, God is faithful to bring it up again. If it’s a pattern in their life, God will make it clear.
- I need to accept them, attune to and identify with them in their challenges, and validate how difficult the challenge is. Then I need to affirm and encourage them by providing hope through telling the stories of God’s amazing love and care, sharing what I have learned on his lap and at his feet…