Be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 2: 1

 

The idea or the concept of strength and of being strong is a theme that runs throughout the Bible. It is a part of God’s nature that is desirable for His followers to grasp hold of personally, too. Yet, many of the images that we develop of what strength looks like are wrong. Personally, I can think of strength in terms of being able to stand up to everything that comes my way through my individual will and determination. I also see images of bulging muscles, rigid determination, a will that is clad in titanium and behavioral standards that are unyielding. This describes the sort of strength that leaves us vulnerable, standing alone, and often trying to make it all work without the deep and sustainable strength that Christ provides to us.

 

Strength that is based upon a person’s own ability, will, and desire to stand up to everything that life throws his way makes that person an easy target, and it is not what God has in mind when He tells us to be strong. Christ wants us to find our strength through the process of surrendering everything that we think equals might and power, and He wants us to find that strength by searching His word and by allowing His Spirit to sift our hearts. It is made known to us as we bend our will in prayers of confession and ones where we speak out our utter need for our Savior and Lord. This is a form of strength that out lasts the days of our youthful vigor and that is sustained by Christ well past the hour when our own reservoir of determination has been depleted.

 

True strength is found by residing in the center of Christ’s grace. As we yield to Christ, we can learn to apply His sort of sacrificial willingness to accept the weakness and the failure of others to every moment of our lives; then, we can allow Christ to be gracious with us during our inevitable times of personal failure. The might, the power, and the deeply rooted core strength that I need to truly live for Christ and to be effective in living for the sake of His kingdom is not found in the best equipped gym or even in my most disciplined moment. Rather, it is found as I seek out God’s face and allow myself to make my home in the center of His grace.

 

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