Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. (Eph 6:10 ESV)
I am not strong in ways I’d like to be. I greatly admire people who plot a course for themselves and follow-through managing their time until the end result is in hand. With dogged determination, consistency and vision they move strongly toward their goals. I admire this single-mindedness. I’m more of a waffler (if there is such a word), prone to double-mindedness, but praying ‘help my unbelief!’, and trusting that God will yet work this out in me. There’s hope for me when I see Paul’s admonition to the believers in Ephesus: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” because it makes apparent that it’s not my natural strength that is called for, but my dependence on the Lord’s strength. Self-help may be the world’s only alternative but believers in Jesus have the power that raised Him from the tomb at work in us!
I have been spurred on this week by an array of verses emphasizing His strength and my need to step out in dependence on it.
“Not by strength or by might, but by My Spirit” says the LORD of Hosts… (Zech 4:6 HCSB)
“Be strong”–this is the Lord’s declaration. “Work! For I am with you…this is the promise I made to you when you came out of Egypt, and My Spirit is present among you; don’t be afraid.” (Haggai 2:4,5 HCSB)
All the strength I need is at my disposal when I am walking in obedience. This tidbit came from Sunday’s sermon:
Christ’s strength is proportionate to our obedience in fulfilling His purposes for our lives. Every act of obedience brings strength for the next step. (Shafer Parker)
I’m coming to recognize that this strength is not realized until I step out and start moving, start walking by faith into the thing that intimidates me… whether it be composing a blog post or saying ‘yes’ to teaching a Sunday School class or any number of other faith-stretching prospects. Fear may taunt but it cannot withstand the tread of faith.
God has always been faithful to lead His people from fear and bondage to faith and life. The Bible is replete with the stories of those He’s called and shaped for their callings despite their natural reticence. Gideon and Moses come to mind.
(Gideon) “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” Judges 6:14 NKJV
(Moses) What’s that in your hand? Throw it down and see what I can do with it!
“You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed; you have guided them by your strength to your holy abode. Ex. 15:13 ESV
Fear ensnares, cripples, and paralyzes. Faith awakens to possibilities, gives courage, and makes strong. No wonder Paul prayed as he did for the believers in Ephesus, that their hearts would be enlightened to understand “what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places”(!) (Eph. 1:19-20 ESV)
This same power is already at work in us who believe. We’ve already been raised from certain death, and made alive in Christ so that we are capable of truly good works that reflect His life in us. And now we’re called to “pay careful attention to how [we] walk” so that our lives would reflect this faith in the God who is at work in us.
May you and I know more and more this strength that comes with walking by faith into the good works prepared for us to walk in.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. —Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen.—for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Eph 2:10 ESV; Ps. 77:19 ESV; II Cor.5:7 ESV; Eph 3:20-21 ESV