“She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.”
Being a follower of Jesus means recognizing and trusting in the Lord as the true Source of strength for life and work. The Lord provides the strength we need to do our work and face the challenges of our time. This is a constant theme in the Psalms, as King David faced many challenges.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me … The Lord is the strength of his people.” (Psalm 28.7-8)
The Lord as the provider of strength is also a theme in the great prophets of the Old Testament.
“He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.“ (Isaiah 41.10)
The New Testament continues the message. It is only through faith in Jesus that we have the strength to face the challenges and difficulties of life. Paul expresses it with great clarity in the book of Philippians:
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11-13)
As we have emphasized all week, gaining access to the Lord’s strength requires the combination of trust and training. It is not a passive process. It requires faith and action. Here are action steps you can take to build your strength in the Lord:
- Be consistent and focused in your study of God’s Word. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” (Colossians 3.16)
- Abide in Christ. This means intentionally trusting in the Lord’s presence, principles, and power as you respond to people and situations. “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15.4-5)
- Pray diligently and seek God’s strength. “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually.” (1 Chronicles 16.11)
- Clarify specific areas of your life where you need to build strength and develop skill, then identify effective resources that provide training in those areas. Take advantage of books, workshops, seminars, etc..
- Do the reps. Practice, practice, practice. For every stage and all levels, focused repetition is the single most powerful way to build skill.
- Get coaching. There are limits to how much you observe and develop yourself. You need a coach … a noticer and truth-teller.
May the Lord bless you as you faithfully build strength and develop skill.
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16.13)