<<power, vigor>>

Physical strength is readily observed but strength of character is of greater significance in the Kingdom of God. Having strength of character means not allowing others to dictate my responses but instead having the courage to stand up for my beliefs. It may mean standing aside for the good of others or refusing to retaliate against the negative actions of others, choosing instead to make the morally right response. Jesus taught that His blessings reside with those who live like this (Mt 5:3-12).

“The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Neh 8:10). God has immense pleasure in having close fellowship with humanity and it was the anticipated joy of redeemed people being in heaven with Him that sustained Jesus on the cross (Jn 15:10,11; Heb 12:2). A deep, sustaining relationship with ‘the God of Heaven’ will also enable us to come through suffering, ‘strong in the Lord’ and rejoicing in being ‘counted worthy’.

It is good to develop and improve our God-given natural abilities and talents; yet like our weaknesses that give Satan a foothold to attack, our strengths (the areas where we think we won’t fall, believing we can handle the situation without relying on God’s strength) can also result in our downfall (Deut 8:17-19; 1 Cor 10:12; Eph 4:27).  King Solomon had great wisdom but didn’t fully apply it and had a serious weakness, being lead into idolatry by marrying non-Jewish women (1 Kgs 11:1-8).  King Nebuchadnezzar proudly considered all he had done was by his own ability. He was humbled, then later acknowledged God as the Most High (Dan 4:30-37). We are in a dangerous position of self-sufficiency if we think “My own hand has achieved the victory” or consider we are standing firm, “in need of nothing” (Jdg 7:2; Rev 3:17).  The Bible states, pride is quickly followed by a fall, and Satan is always looking for defenseless victims to destroy (Prov 16:18; 1 Pet 5:8). Declare, “The Lord is my strength” as you tackle the challenges of life, relying on His strength and enablement, for without Him we will not be victorious (Ps 27:1, 28:7, 46:1, 68:35, 118:14; Isa 45:24).

God is omnipotent (all powerful) and sovereign (in control) and can do whatever He wishes according to His character, yet in our personal lives to advance with Him He restricts Himself to our co-operation and so won’t override our choice (Ps 115:3).  He strengthens those whose hearts are fully

In myself I can’t, but with Christ I can                                           – 2 Corinthians 12:9

committed to Him, giving power and vigor to the weak and those who seek Him (2 Chr 16:8,9; Ps 84:5, 105:4; Isa 40:28-31, 41:10, 50:10; 2 Cor 12:9).  Human effort and abilities are necessary, yet on their own will not accomplish much of lasting eternal value. Rather trust God to enhance your service by His Spirit to accomplish what He desires. “Go in the strength you have” for He works through humans who are available, obedient, committed and humble (Jdg 6:14; Mk 16:20).

God said to Joshua, “Be strong and courageous…I will be with you wherever you go” (Josh 1:7,9).

The Holy Spirit is within us, yet we must rely on and obediently co-operate by “loving the Lord with all our strength” to experience the victory that Jesus died to gain for us (Mt 12:30; 1 Jn 3:8). Be dependent on Him, recognising His hand in all matters, for it is in association with, not isolation from God, His Word and Spirit, that our ‘inner man’ is strengthened and He enables us (Ps 119:28; Hab 3:19; Eph 3:16; Col 1:11; 1 Pet 5:10). We will never reach the state where we don’t need God’s help. The Psalmist said, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever" (Ps 73:26).

God said to Paul, “My strength is made perfect in your weakness”. Paul’s response was when I’m weak then I can rely on your divine strength; my

Visualize yourself victorious in Christ

weakness is turned into His strength (2 Cor 12:9,10; Heb 11:34). Christ strengthens me, enabling me to do His will and faithfully endure the difficulties that arise in life (Phil 4:13).  It is through submission to God’s will that we overcome the power of Satan – “Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (Jas 4:7; 1 Pet 5:9). By first aligning ourselves with God through our total submission to Him we are able to utilize His strength to stand against the tactics of Satan and pull down spiritual strongholds (2 Cor 10:4; Eph 6:10,11). In our own strength we are powerless to repel Satan’s attacks, just as we can’t be saved without His grace, yet by reliance on Him we are victorious (1 Cor 15:57; Eph 2:8,9; 2 Tim 2:1).

Do not  rely on your personal talent or resources but allow God to work through you and on your behalf (Zech 4:6; Eph 1:18-23, 3:20).

Just as an angel strengthened Jesus when He was praying just before His arrest, those ‘stronger in the Lord’ are to encourage and build up weaker Christians by helping to bear their burdens (Lk 22:32,43; Rom 15:1). Do I help those who are weaker than myself to become strong, so in turn they can minister to others? Paul testified that the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength (2 Tim 4:17).

If we belong to God, obey Him and diligently do what is right we will be strong and will not fall (Job 17:9; Mt 7:24,25; 2 Pet 1:10).

See also: ability, armour (spiritual), energy, Jesus/name of, power, pride, safety, self-sufficiency, unity, victory, vulnerable, weakness. 


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