Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. (Ephesians 6:10, NIV)
I have been thinking a lot recently about my physical health and how I need to be healthier. I was reminded a week or so ago about how our body is a temple and we need to take care of it so it is ready for God’s call and purpose. I keep thinking about if and when God call us to move somewhere else or do something that is more physical than sitting in an office chair for 10 hours a day, will I be ready. I can’t honestly say that if God was to move us today that my physical body would be ready. My spirit is willing, but could my physical body have the endurance, strength and energy required to do the mission work of that call? I don’t think so.
My family history tells me otherwise as well. I come from a family full of heart problems among other big issues. But this family and my genetics is who God has blessed me with and I will not argue, but am thankful for a loving family and putting me with them.
As I think about this verse, I have decided to try to memorize verses 10 through 20 which are about the full armor of God. I talked about this last week in a post but I wanted to really commit to memory and in my heart just how important it is to equip ourselves for battle each day. It has been a great reminder of all that God has given us to succeed and to defend ourselves against attacks. It is also wonderful to know that He has given us a weapon to fight back. So, we start with a beautiful reminder of where it is from and more importantly, who it is from.
What really strikes me is how we can put so much faith in a health coach or trainer. We trust that the exercises they are putting us through are right and will help us. We follow them, almost blindly, knowing that they will help us get our bodies in shape and becoming healthier. What struck me is how often I don’t turn over my spiritual exercises to the Almighty Trainer. So, I have asked God to train me in becoming strong in Him, His Word and follow His example. I have read the Bible and listened to music and sermons to some success. God has done wonders in my life and through struggles. But as I try to learn about Him, I realize I have tried to do it the way I thought best or the way it should be done. What I really need to do is turn my spiritual exercises over to God to let Him train me, teach me, mold me, shape me, form me and transform me into this strong, muscular follower. It seems so simple, yet I don’t do that. I have started to ask God as I read Scripture what is He saying? What do You want me to learn?
In a sermon on Psalm 1 about delighting in the Lord, John Piper mentions how the Psalms have an “argument” for each one. Essentially, what is the main point of that particular Psalm? So, I have started to ask this. I can’t say I have done well as all too often I say it but I don’t meditate on Scripture or ponder it like I should.
All this to say is the way I can be strong in God, the way I can think correctly about Him is by being in the Word. Even in Romans 12:2 it says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” So if we read Scripture and are in God’s Word, focusing on Him, then our minds will be “renew”-ed by the grace and power of God. Then, when we feel led to do something, or we hear something, or any number of ways that God can lead us, we will be able to have the strong basis for knowing if this is from God or from man or from the inner selfish self. That is not to say we won’t make mistakes, but we will be stronger in God and in His ways that our discernment will grow.
One of the things I struggle with in the midst of struggles and trials is being strong in God. I so often fail to focus on heaven and who God is. Simply the beautiful, majestic, mighty, all-powerful, all-knowing, awesome, wonderful, just, merciful, gracious and loving God (just to name a few attributes). I get so lost in the attacks of the evil one. I get so full of anxiety in the chaos of the storm. Yet, that is why I need this verse. Because it tells us to be strong in God. Stand firm in WHO God is. Stand firm in what He has done and in what He can do.
The thing is for me, God has had to remind me so many times in very painful times that it is absolutely amazing what God can do. I love the fact that all things are possible with God. But, I can’t love Him or believe in Him because of what He can do. I can’t see Him as a genie to give me what I need when I need it. I love God because of who God is. I love God because of what He did through Christ. The redemption and forgiveness of my sins. The confidence I have for eternal life. But I love God because He is God. He never gave up on me. He pursued me. He chose me. He finds me valuable. But for all that He can do and has done, He is true. He is my all.
I am so thankful for the mighty miracles that God does for us every day and in His mighty acts. I am thankful for the mighty ways he proves His love for us. I pray that we will be strong in God. That we will be trained by His hand to lead us and guide us to a deeper life with Him. That we will not push away His help but push in to Him for a greater and more intimate life with Him.
Be strong. Take heart. Stand firm. Don’t give up. Keep your eyes on heaven.