Tag Archives: being strong

Inwardly Strengthened

When I was around six years old, my parents put me in sports at the YMCA. Even though I had been raised in church, that is the first place I remember seeing or hearing the phrase, “spirit, mind and body”. We either used to recite their mission statement at practice or I saw it often. I had to look it up now, but it says, “To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.” That’s still a pretty good thing that each of us need to work on. Sometimes we’re concerned about our physical health, but we starve our spiritual health. Other times we focus on our mental health while we neglect our physical health. To be whole and healthy though, we really need to make sure we’re keeping all three healthy and strong.

In Ephesians 3, Paul writes an incredible prayer for the believers in Ephesus, but I believe it’s for us too as he expected his letters to be passed between the churches. In verse 16, he starts this prayer saying, “I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit” (NLT). Here he’s praying for spiritual and mental strength for us. According to the next couple of verses, it’s so that Christ will dwell in our hearts as we trust in Him, our roots will grow down into God’s love to keep us strong and that we will be able to understand how wide, long and high God’s love is. Receiving those things begins with us being empowered in our spirit and mind through the Holy Spirit. No wonder he told Timothy that physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise has so much more (1 Timothy 4:8).

A healthier, stronger, more whole you begins with being empowered inwardly by God’s Spirit. We need to pray this prayer over our own lives often, and also make sure that we’re doing things that will strengthen our inner being. We spend a lot of time and money making sure our physical body is in shape, but we can’t do that at the cost of neglecting our spirit and mind. It’s our spirit that will live forever, not our physical body. As Paul said, both are important and have value, but one is more valuable. Bible studies, devotionals, prayer groups, church services all contribute to being inwardly strengthened, but if you only do it once a week, it will have the same value as going to the gym once a week. It’s time that each of us are empowered inwardly by the Holy Spirit. Once we understand God’s love in a greater way through that empowerment, we can make God’s love known and love others better.

Photo by Dingzeyu Li on Unsplash

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Strength Is For Service

Do you have any friends who are body builders? I do. They work hard at bringing their body under discipline, they exercise, lift weights and eat right too. Imagine if you will, if this person who is ripped walked past someone who was struggling to lift something and said, “I lift things heavier than that at the gym.” Then they walk away. How would you feel about that person? You know and they know they have the strength to help, but didn’t. It would change your opinion about them.

The same is true for those of us who have strength of character. We may be strong in many areas of our lives and not have to worry about certain temptations. Imagine if we saw someone struggling with sin and said, “I don’t struggle with that.” We would look like hypocrites and give the appearance that we don’t care about their struggle. Hopefully you think that would be a shame, but believers do it all the time. We see people struggle with sin and we steer clear of them. That’s against what God’s Word teaches.

Romans 15:1-2 lay it out clearly. It says, “Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, ‘How can I help?‘” (MSG) Part of being a Christian is looking beyond yourself and helping others who are walking down the same path. We can’t just leave them behind or treat them as inferior Christians.

My favorite part of that verse says, “Strength is for service, not status.” God has called you and I to be servants. No matter how close we get to God, no matter how strong of a Christian we think we are, we are to help others by serving them. God is pleased with our ability to be humble enough to help those who struggle rather than to turn our nose up at them. The only status that matters in Heaven is “Servant”. You are never too strong to not bend down and help someone else. God is looking for us to do what’s right even if it’s not convenient. 

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