Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

Ephesians 6: 10

 

There comes a time in everyone’s life when it is necessary to recognize certain fundamental truths. One of those is the fact that there is a lot more power afoot in our world than I have the capacity to stand up against. I can be skillful in debate, possess substantial financial resources, and even have armed responders to support my causes; yet, I will not have enough power and might on my side to defeat every true enemy that I will encounter. Thus, I will come to that end of the road where what I bring to the fight is no more than enough to lead me into defeat and wherein I can either remain beaten or I can surrender myself to the One who is already victorious over all that is in this world.

 

As I surrender to Christ, His victory is mine. When I yield any part of my fight to His will, Christ enfolds some more of me into His form of conquest over all that is evil and lost. In one sense, this process of yielding of myself and of entering into the hard won conquest of sin that came about on the cross is the real point wherein I become strong enough to even enter the battle that is life. Christ calls upon us to be strong and courageous, for this world is a place where terror roams our streets and pain and suffering are promised to us as a part of our spiritual birthright. Living righteously requires far more of these God-given qualities than does dwelling in the flesh. So, we need strength and courage to go out into the storm with God’s truth, love, and justice as our guiding principles.

 

Yet, this is what Christ promises to give to us. He tells us and has demonstrated through His life that He stands up to all forms of opposition and prevails. Now Christ takes His people into that same victory. He grants to us the strength that will be demanded of us along the path that we will travel today. That capacity to engage with the forces of this world does not come from our own skills, intelligence, or other form of resource; it is all a gift that is given out of the love that God has for us and that is found only in Christ. As followers of Christ, we are the truly strong people in this world, but that power is demonstrated in ways that are often strange and contrarian to the environment where we reside. Christ answers the forces of this world with love, grace, justice, and peace, and He uses our yielded selves as His workers in doing it all.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

Ephesians 6: 10

 

The possession of strength is a popular idea. Most of us want it. Very few people actually seek to avoid it for themselves. Nations spend fortunes on the tools of war in order to achieve a form of strength that gives them superiority over their neighbors. Advertising and image building are generally designed so that companies and their products can gain an upper hand on the competition. It seems that this world even enters into a form of real worship around the altar of strength, power, domination, and control. Those bulging muscles and that powerful grip, whether seen on people or figuratively in other places, are the ideal that people aspire toward having. Strength, in the sense of control and might, is frequently the true goal for our lives.

 

Yet Christ did things differently during those years with us, and His Spirit speaks about a different sort of strength when He inspires people such as Paul to write down His words of life. This is a form of power that runs deep into the core of the person. It doesn’t need to be physically or visually demonstrated in order to exist. Instead, this Godly strength operates behind the manner and the way that people conduct themselves and engage in life. This is the way that Jesus lived. He was certainly strong and mighty; yet, His approach to most people was humble and open to hearing their stories and to engaging with their needs on both the practical, physical level and on the spiritual one. His strength came from that place deep within where the Spirit of God resided in Him and where He resides in His followers.

 

This same strength is what empowered Jesus to face into the terror of the final inquisition and its cross of torture with the peace of certainty and the resolve of God’s calling for Him. This was one of the pinnacle moments of the expression of God’s strength in this world. It came after that monumental outpouring of strength that was seen as He spoke the entire world into existence, and it stands in the middle of a continuum of the Lord’s narrative of ruling within the lives of people that is our current age. Then there will be that final great high peak when Christ returns and Creation id fully redeemed. So now, as we live in that ultimate middle time, Christ gives to His people the gift of strength. It is in the same form as that which took Christ to the cross. This is a humble and yielded form of power that enables self-sacrifice and that leads to denial of personal desire in order to love others with the same all-encompassing openness that Christ possesses. The strength that we require for life resides within, and all that we need of it is provided through and by Christ.

Be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.

Ephesians 6:10

 

Some of the things that we can do to become strong are to eat well, exercise regularly, and do a little weight lifting. These are all good things that generally won’t do any of us harm. However, a powerful body is not the most important type of strength that we can seek. For it is a strong soul and a mighty spirit that will keep the head up and the feet moving through the battlefield that life can become. This is a type of strength that we need to seek, but we will never be the source of it. Let’s look at the two basic elements of spiritual strength that Paul mentions.

 

When I am strong in the Lord, my relationship with Him is at the front in everything in my day. There is nothing that I am in engaged in that is too trivial and there is nothing that is too big for God’s involvement. His strength comes to me through reading His word, through talking with Him, and through listening to His voice. My attitude is the key. When I am open to hear God’s will and to follow it; when I am receptive to His input whether it comes to me from His Spirit, His word, or His people; and when I am willing to surrender my will to His way, I experience His strength to the fullest.

 

Paul also speaks about the muscle mass behind our spiritual strength. Thankfully, it doesn’t come from bulging biceps or six-pack abs; yet, it does come from a much more reliable source. A mighty spirit becomes a personal reality as we align our hearts with Christ. The first step and the hardest one is the one where I trust Him to take control, where I let go of the wheel and accept that the Lord has the perfect and the right way to take me through this moment and this day. Then, I need to allow God’s will to prevail, and I need to follow the coarse that He has set for me. When I do this, the Lord will do mighty and wonderful things through my humble hands. I also need to be willing to keep watching and continue to listen to the Spirit of Christ as we move forward together. Strength comes from yielding, from releasing my controlling grip, and from letting God in. Might comes when we purpose to live in the glory of Christ’s victory. So, be strong and live mightily today!