Where Does Inner Strength Come From?
A few weeks ago at GMBA Camp, my husband, Brother Michael, and I recruited our 12-year-old nephew, Robby, to perform a short skit at kids' chapel.
In the skit, Michael and I pretended to be the proverbial "good angel" and "bad angel" whispering in Robby's ears, trying to persuade him to do either right or wrong. For example, I tried to get Robby to thank his mother for preparing breakfast and recruit an outcast schoolmate for a game of ultimate Frisbee at recess. Michael tried to get Robby to fib to his teacher and clandestinely pocket a candy bar at the grocery store.
By the end of the skit, Robby withstood temptation in each instance and showed a lot of inner strength in doing so. After we were done performing for the kids, I asked them a series of questions that I want to ask you, too!
Q: Do you ever feel like you have "good voices" and "bad voices" in your head trying to get you to do stuff?
If your answer is yes, don't worry. You're totally normal.
Q: What would've happened to Robby if he'd listened to the "bad voice" instead of the "good voice" every time? How would his day have gone?
Instead of experiencing the momentary discomfort of having to tell an uncomfortable truth, Robby would've been hauled to the principal's office for lying to his teacher. He may have had a confrontation with the grocery store manager — or, worse, his mom — over the stolen candy bar. He wouldn't have done anything nice for anyone else.
What about you? Do you experience undue difficulty throughout your average day because of your decision to listen to the "bad voice"?
Q: If you have a "bad voice" in your head telling you to do things you know are wrong, does that mean you're a bad person?
To my surprise, the children shouted an emphatic "No!" to this question. Of course, they're right. Everyone is tempted. We all have the impulse and desire to yield to that temptation. But it's the action we take that determines our character.
Q: Will there ever be a time when you're not strong enough to listen to the "good voice"?
This one got a mixed response, a smattering of unsure "no" and "yes." I told the kids that sometimes listening to the good voice will seem easy. But other times it will feel hard. It may be so difficult that they know they can't do it on their own.
This doesn't exactly match up with what they've heard from Disney. Kids' movies and songs say, "Just believe in yourself and you can do anything!" We know that's not always true. Confidence can only get you so far. If you know that following God is going to get you thrown in a lion's den or a fiery furnace, then it's going to be nigh-impossible to stay true to God if you rely on your own strength.
Q: Who can you turn to for help when you don't feel strong enough to do what's right?
Jesus! (The correct answer to every question ever asked in Church.) I told the kids that if we were strong enough to do what's right every time, then God would never have had to send Jesus to cleanse us from our sins. God would just expect us to be perfect if perfect was possible. In our strength, it's not possible, but with God nothing is impossible! Praise His holy name for that!
In conclusion, I leave you with another scripture reading plan! This one is all about strength. This is a 10-day plan, but go at any pace that suits you. The reflection questions are there for you to use if you see fit. I hope that this is a blessing to you and that you discover how Christ can help you say yes to the "good voice."
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.