Strength to Strength, Pt. 1

Guest Author: Lori Boyd When my son was a toddler, at least once a day, he would come to me holding his fists in the air, flexing his biceps in the cutest little “strong man” stance, and say, “Feel my muscles Mommy!  Am I stronger today?”  I would reach down and gently squeeze those sweet upper arms and assure him that, yes, he was most certainly stronger than he was the day before, and he would happily run off, superhero cape flying, ready to save the world…again!

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could flex our spiritual muscles every morning and find them to be stronger than they were yesterday?  It’s not as far-fetched as it may sound!  In the same way we can know the steps to take in order to become physically stronger we can know how to become spiritually stronger.  The key is in recognizing the source of our strength and understanding how we can access it, answers that can be found in the Word of God.

Strength is a good thing.  I pray for it everyday.  In fact, I have found myself praying for strength more in the past few years than I ever have before.  I pray to be a stronger Christian.  I pray for the strength to be a warrior-raising mother.  I pray that my children will grow up to be strong, faithful Christians.  I pray for the church to remain strong in the face of persecution.

Then one day, someone asked me the question:  “What exactly are you praying for when you pray for strength?”  It was a sincere, thought-provoking question.  What am I praying for when I ask God to help me become a stronger Christian?  Then more questions followed, like “How do you know if He has answered that prayer?” and “Will it be obvious that you’ve become stronger than you were before?”

I consumed myself with a study of strength.  Not the bicep-flexing kind, but the spiritual kind; the kind that will help me in my daily walk as a Christian.  Through that study, I came to the conclusion that strength is the ability to withstand evil and to stand firm in my faith regardless of the consequence.  It comes from knowing that God is in control of this world and that He will help me overcome anything and everything that I face in this life.

The Bible tells us that God is our source of strength; even more than that, He IS our strength.  David cried out to God with these words, “Lord, O my Strength, come quickly to help me” (Psalm 22:19).  Time and time again in Scripture we are told that God is our help and that our strength is from Him, in Him, and through Him.

So, to answer my friend’s question, “What are you praying for when you pray for strength?” I pray for the strength to cope in any circumstance I find myself.  I pray for the strength that will help me serve Him, to be unafraid, to endure trouble, to not be weary, and to fight spiritual battles.  The Bible tells me that the strength that comes from God will help me to do all of these things!  (Philippians 4:13, 1 Peter 4:11, Psalm 22:1, Psalm 138:3, Isaiah 40:31, 2 Samuel 22:40).  This is the strength I want for myself, for my husband, for my children, and for the church.

God has promised to give strength to His people, but there is a condition!  Any strength that we might have or that we hope to gain lies completely in our dependence on Him.  We have to recognize that without God, we are weak.  Without God, we are hopeless.  Then, when we surrender ourselves in weakness and hopelessness to our Creator and humbly ask Him in prayer for strength—He will give it to us!

How do we demonstrate our dependence on God in order to receive His strength? In Part Two of this article, we will look at what the Bible says about accessing the strength that comes from God…the strength that IS God.

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