HOW STRONG ARE YOU?

By Arch Hoercher 

How strong are you?  Do you work out every day at Gold’s Gym?  Do you do 100 pushups every morning?  What happens when adversity strikes?  Can you stand firm against challenges or illness or financial difficulties or sorrow or the pain of life?  Can you stand firm against spiritual or emotional turmoil and attack?  Is your physical strength, no matter how great, enough for the serious emotional, spiritual, and physical attacks that can occur in this life?

Many can overcome physical problems with grit and determination.  The most debilitating of all weakness is in one’s spiritual life – their walk with God.  Suffering and problems and attacks and challenges happen to everyone.  In each person’s life, at some point, something devastating and overwhelming will occur.  Are you equipped to stand firm against this challenge?  When serious illness strikes, the challenge faced is not only physical but spiritual as well.  The spiritual attack can be the most devastating.

How does one stay strong against such spiritual and emotional attack?  The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:10 (NIV) that we are to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.”  The only strength that we can actually rely on is not of our own or of any other person that we might know.  The strength that is available to us is from the Lord.  Paul goes on in Ephesians 6 to tell us that we should take up the whole armor of God.  There is often some misunderstanding when referring to the armor of God.  Armor is for a soldier – correct?  And soldiers go to war to fight our enemies and in this case the enemy would be Satan and his demons – correct?  Actually not – we do not go to war against Satan.  The battle has already been won.  Satan has been defeated.  1 Corinthians 15:57 (NIV) – “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Romans 8:37 (NIV) – “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”  The point is that Satan is already defeated.  The battle has been won.  Satan’s future has been determined. 

So what are we to do when attacks occur that would overcome us?  1 Corinthians 16:13 (NIV) – ‘Be on your guard; STAND FIRM IN THE FAITH; be courageous; be strong.”  Now let us look at the armor of God with the realization that the war has already been won and when attacked we are to stand firm.  Ephesians 6:11-17 – “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can TAKE YOUR STAND against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may BE ABLE TO STAND your ground, and after you have done everything, to STAND.  STAND FIRM then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.”

When an attack comes and this attack exposes your weakness what will you do?  Will you fight?  Satan is much stronger than you are.  Will you run?  Satan is much faster than you are.  Will you try to outsmart him?   Satan is much smarter than you are.  What will you do!?  You will stand firm.   What if I am not strong enough to stand?  You are strong enough.  Not in any strength of your own but with the strength of God.  Philippians 4:13 (NIV) – “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”

How do I get this strength?  First, from the Word of God as written in the Bible.  There was once a pastor in my life, many years ago, who would always say “If your Bible is falling apart, it usually means that you are not.”  Studying and reading God’s Word gives you strength.  One might have a dozen Bibles in their home but if not read and what is read takes possession of one’s heart it is only a book. 

Second, we have access to the strength of God through worship.  The more we worship God the closer we become to Him,  the closer we come to Him the more we trust in Him,  the more we trust in Him the greater our faith becomes.  The greater our faith in Him the more of His strength we realize is available to us.  Isaiah 41:10 (NIV) – “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” 

Third, we need to learn patience and the need to wait on the Lord.  Psalms 27:14 (NIV) – “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”  We need to learn patience and to slow down.  We often miss the blessings God has to offer because we are in such a hurry for everything.  We want instant success, instant wealth, instant health, instant happiness and instant food.  We want the blessings of God, but we do not want to wait on them.  We want to put God into our schedule rather than desiring what God has for us on His schedule.  In Isaiah 30:15 the prophet wrote “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”  What Isaiah was telling Israel is that the people were to stop running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to solve all their problems on their own.  He was saying that we should wait on the Lord for He is the supplier of all things.  If you wish to become strong, you need to retreat into the quietness and calmness of His presence and wait on Him.  It is very hard to hear His voice when we are running around in all the hustle and bustle of the world.  If you want God’s strength in your life, slow down and get quiet and listen.  When you are in that quiet spot in the presence of God, do not forget to pray.  Pray to your Father.  He is your Father, if you are a Christian.  He will hear you.

One other thing that we need to remember that Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 – “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  God’s strength comes to us in our greatest weakness.  John MacArthur wrote, “It is when believers are out of answers, confidence, and strength, with nowhere else to turn but to God that they are in a position to be most effective.  No one in the Kingdom of God is too weak to experience God’s power, but many are too confident in their own strength.  Physical suffering, mental anguish, disappointment, unfulfillment, and failure squeeze the impurities out of believers’ lives, making them pure channels through which God’s power can flow.”

Do you want to stand firm against all the challenges and attacks you might face in life.  Rely on the strength of God not your own.  His strength will come to you when you apply His Word in your heart, worship Him, pray, and listen for His voice in that quiet place.

A few quotes to think about:

When all else fails, and to stand firm seems impossible, stand on the wood of the Cross; it will float with you.                Marie Leszczynska

There is only one secure foundation: a genuine, deep relationship with Jesus Christ, which will carry you through any and all turmoil.  No matter what storms are raging all around, you’ll STAND FIRM if you stand on His love. Charles Stanley

While the world changes, the cross stands firm.       Bruno of Cologne