Of course, like a lot of people, I do my best to clean my teeth regularly. I brush, floss, and gargle daily. But I always tend to get a little anxious before I go in for an exam. The day I hear that I have a cavity and need a filling is one I hope I never have to face.
So, I bought myself a new toothbrush this past week in order to do a little eleventh hour scrubbing. Actually, I bought a two-pack. And I knew exactly what to look for when I got to the store. I prefer the ones with soft bristles and thick handles. And one other thing: buttons. That’s right… buttons. “On” and “Off” buttons to be exact.
You see, a year or so ago, I went to buy a new toothbrush. At the time, all I could find in the soft bristle variety was one with a thick handle. I took it home and used it for a few days. And then, as I finished brushing my teeth one morning, I tapped my toothbrush on the side of the sink bowl in an attempt to shake out any excess water.
All of a sudden, to my complete surprise, my toothbrush started vibrating. I was dumbfounded to discover that it was an electric toothbrush! I had obviously hit the little “On” button when tapping it to shake out the water. It was also obvious that the brush was designed to be disposed of after a few weeks use. And of course, that accounted for the thick handle as well, which surely contained both a battery and a motor.
God used that little episode to remind me that so much of what I attempt to do in my own strength can be done so much more effectively with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. His power is available to me each and every day of my life. However, much of the time, I vigorously pursue whatever I am attempting to do in my own strength.
The irony is that His added strength has been available to me all along. It is I who have not always utilized that power as I as I should. And, of course, I have only cheated myself as a result.
In the eight chapter of his New Testament letter to the Church at Rome, the Apostle Paul tells us that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness”. In the original (Koine) Greek in which Paul wrote, the word translated as help is a compound word, “sunantilambanomai” that literally means “with” plus “corresponding” plus “to lay hold upon”. It best translates as “to assist jointly in performing some task”.*
Thank God that we have not been left to our own devices - neither for the attaining of eternal salvation nor for the living out of our daily lives as believers. For In the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus, God the Father has provided us grace for eternal life; and in the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit, He has provided us the wherewithal we need for a full and abundant life here and now.
Always remember this important truth: God desires to help us in our weakness. No matter what we are up against, He is there for us. And take Him up on that offer of help. Otherwise, as you go about attempting to face life's difficulties in your own strength, you will invariably only manage to cheat yourself out of many of the victories and blessings that God has in store for you.
*NOTE: The exposition of this Greek term can be found online at: http://biblehub.com/greek/4878.htm.