Striving To Be Strong
By Dot Bowen
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:8-9 (ESV)
Do you believe the strong will survive? Are you personally asking God for strength to survive? Would you like to be as strong as the apostle Paul who faced every kind of trial, hardship, and persecution known to man? If you have read anything about him, you know he was strong and nearly unstoppable before and after he met Christ.
If you reviewed Paul’s résumé, it would be difficult to believe he was ever weak in any area. Paul studied under Gamaliel, the finest teacher available. He knew the Torah and became the greatest Pharisee of his time. He traveled the world as a missionary and learned the trade of a tentmaker. If you define success by accomplishments, Paul would be considered very successful.
There was nothing Paul feared or faced he wasn’t willing to deal with directly. What made Paul so strong? You may be surprised to discover that Paul taught if we are going to be strong, we must admit we are weak. He embraced the truth Jesus presented: to be strong, we must first embrace weakness. Paul physically lived with this tension and shared his heart in a letter to the church in Corinth when he wrote of a weakness—which he referred to as a thorn—that was wearing him down. Paul begged God to remove his thorn, but God said no. Paul realized he had nothing to boast about except his relationship with Jesus. He understood he had to embrace his weaknesses in order for God to use him.
The same is true for us today. Who said to survive we must be strong? The Bible heavily emphasizes standing strong in the power and strength of God. God never commands us to be strong in our own strength, but He does command us to stand firm in the power of the Holy Spirit. Will you to join me this week and “sip” on this truth? There is nothing we will face today that will destroy us if we put our faith in God and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Let’s concentrate on this truth throughout this week: God is our strength and in Him we are strong and victorious!
We must embrace the areas where we feel weak and trust God to give us His strength and power in these areas. There are a few things we can do together to make this truth a reality in our lives.
- Admit without God’s power, we are powerless.
- Memorize 2 Corinthians 12:8-9.
- Pray and ask God to change our attitudes, actions, and feelings concerning our weakness.
Read over and “sip” on the following questions. You may want to write your answers on an index card so you can meditate on them.
- Do I believe God will give me the strength to face whatever trials or difficulties I am facing or will face in the coming days? Be honest! Don’t say what you think God wants you to say; say what God knows you believe!
- Is God asking me to trust in Him rather than trusting in _______. (Fill in the blank with what you trust in.)
- Am I afraid to admit I am weak? If so, why?
- What does God want me to change in my life that keeps me from believing He is my strength? Do I believe if I trust in God’s power, can I be strong?
Imagine facing each day with the assurance that there’s nothing you will face today that has the potential of defeating you because you are a child of God, and in Him, you are strong!
Further Reading 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; 1 Corinthians 1:8; Isaiah 40:29