The Word of God is filled with pictures and illustrations to help us grasp spiritual realities. An example of this is the use of the “river.” What does Christ mean when He speaks of “rivers of living water?” (Jn. 7:38) What does the Psalmist mean when he declares: “…There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God” (Ps. 46:4) And lastly, Isaiah writes: “I will extend peace to her like a river.” (66:12) What does the Lord mean to communicate to us by the use of the picture of a river? Most certainly, the idea of overwhelming strength is to be seen. We might go so far as to say that it speaks of an endless resource, the endless source of all that is good, found in Christ. The picture of this river is not given to us just to amaze and intrigue us, but to be guidepost for the appropriation of the strength, endless strength, in Christ.
Beyond the subject of “fear,” perhaps the next most often mentioned, and distinguished subject in the Bible, is that of “strength.” Why? Because, though fear is so common to us all, being an expression of our concern for “self-preservation,” and escaping suffering, “Strength” to overcome it is the antidote. There is always the downward pull of the attitudes and atmosphere of this unbelieving world. Power is needed to overcome. In the face of these two matters, we find the gospel message declaring to us that “…we are MORE than conquerors…” (Romans 8:37) We are called upon to “reign in life.” (Romans 5:17) We find mentioned several times in the book of the Revelation, that we are to be “overcomers.” How is it that God calls us, in an atmosphere of unbelief and often opposition to Christ, to live a victorious life? We have but one answer, and only one place to look…to Christ. He IS our victory, our strength, our every resource.
How do we pray so that this LIFE will be our own? We always begin with the TRUTH as God declares it. We are IN Christ, and He is IN us…and all fulness is in Him. What does this mean? Since we are new creatures in Christ, we are to live ONLY and WHOLLY by His resources. Should we not therefore ask Him for HIS strength, HIS joy, HIS zeal and patience? We are often fooled into believing that we can live this life by relying on our own “resources,” and “capacities.” The Apostle Peter tried this and denied Christ three times. The Apostle Paul tried this and ended up declaring, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” And yet, Christ encourages, even commands, us to: “ABIDE IN ME, AND I IN YOU” (Jn. 15:4) Christ, the great I AM, is our life, and all that is in Him is ours.
The “river” of God…IS GOD, by His Spirit…the very Spirit of Christ. Ours is to believe that we are in Him, and He in us…ask, and receive by faith all that is needful. “O Lord, grant us grace to receive Thy courage, Thy strength, …refusing all fear, which does not belong to Thee, and thus, does NOT belong to us. Fill us with Thy joy, and Thy peace, which is indeed, ‘…like a river.'” Amen.