One of the chief story lines of Scripture is the struggle between the arm of the flesh and the arm of the Lord. The arm of the flesh speaks of the strength of man while the arm of the Lord speaks of the strength of God. The struggle between the two is a repetitive theme throughout the entire bible – humankind’s unwillingness to hear and obey God’s voice and God’s answer with power to show humanity his utter and complete need of God. Mankind tries to prove, albeit horribly ineffectively, how much he can establish without God, while God shows humanity that without Him we can do nothing.
It’s ultimately rebellion in the heart of man that causes him to attempt to assert himself against God. Fallen humanity loves to try to prove that he doesn’t need God, that he can take care of himself and accomplish all he wants without God.
The struggle between the arm of the flesh and the arm of the Lord is not only the story for unbelievers, its a key issue for believers as well. Let’s face it, before we came to the Lord we became accustomed to living life our way, getting things done by our strength. Once we got saved we wrestled with trusting the Lord to accomplish His desires in and through us. Its difficult to overcome our habit of making things happen on our own. Many times believers become ineffective in their walk because they are unwilling to allow the Lord to accomplish His will through their life, on His terms, in His timing. Instead of waiting, they produce their own desires through their own means. They may look productive, but in the end, if the produce of their life is not heaven breathed and heaven birthed it’s worthless in value in the kingdom of God.
God’s answer for thwarting the strength of our flesh is His command for us to wait on the Lord. Waiting is painful. Nobody likes to wait. Most of us don’t do well at a drive through line that takes more than five minutes, how are we supposed to live life waiting, over potentially long periods of time, on the Lord? Our challenge is this, we are so accustomed to the immediate gratification of our every desire that we have almost no stamina to persevere through weeks, months or even years of waiting on the Lord. I find that many Christians stumble over this issue and in the end it causes much turmoil in their lives and even shipwreck.
I’m going to take the next several posts to develop the idea of Waiting on the Lord and how critical it is to our walk. Ultimately, waiting on the Lord, determines whether the produce of our lives is man-made or God-made. I guarantee you this, Jesus is not looking for a self-made bride. He is the author and finisher of our faith and desires to be the fashioner and framer of our hearts over the long haul. Waiting is the necessary crucible that will ultimately bring us into conformity to His will. For now I’ll leave you with this admonition from David, “Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!”(Psalm 27:14)