“Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” (Ephesians 6:10)
Being strong is a common idea in our culture. It is celebrated in our culture. Everyone wants to be strong because those who are strong have power. We tell boys to be strong; we tell our girls to be strong. We want them to to have physical strength, but also the emotional strength to go through hard things. We want them to use their strength wisely and with humility. But where do we teach them that strength comes from? How do they become strong?
We know that muscles get stronger with tension. That we use the tension of weights to break the muscles down and build them back up. We say things to our kids and to ourselves like “you have to dig deep.” We tell them that they need to find their inner strength. We are taught in our culture to be strong in our own strength, to trust the things that we do, to believe our strength comes from things we can see.
Paul tells us to be strong in the Lord and in his might. But what does that really look like in the life of the believer? First we have to believe that the Lord really is strong enough. He’s strong enough to defend my reputation, strong enough to provide for my future, strong enough to get me through suffering. If I don’t believe that the Lord is strong enough to do all those things in my life, then I’m going to end up relying on my own strength. If I don’t believe that there is Someone who is bigger and stronger than me, then I will end up operating in my own strength. This is the all-powerful strength of his might: to believe that NOTHING is impossible for him and to trust him with EVERYTHING.
The second idea is hiding our strength in the Lord. I’m a very strong and powerful person. It’s how God made me. But I have had to learn that my strength comes from being “in the Lord,” abiding with him, resting in him and trusting him. I have strength because he has strength. I can do anything because he is working through me.
I remember I was on a walk one day and I saw a very unusual sight. I found a metal wrench that had been broken in half. The metal wrench was strong, but it would have taken something even stronger to break it. The Lord reminded me that sometimes I have to be broken in an area of strength in order to allow his strength to work through me instead of my own strength.
In the very next verse, Paul says to “Put on the armor of God so that you may stand.” The armor of God is on outside, and I am hiding myself “in him.” Each morning when I pull into the parking lot at work, I take out my ID badge and “put on” Christ. As the lanyard comes over my head, I am reminding that I am in Christ, and I’m putting on Christ so that when people see me, they will ultimately see him. I’m reminded that everything I do is done in his strength, not my own.
Message – “God is strong and he wants you to be strong.”