Friday, January 14, 2011
Meaning of "STRONG IN THE LORD"
STRONG IN THE LORD
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Ephesians 6:10)
It's a wonderful phrase: "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." Literally, Paul wrote "strengthen yourselves in the Lord." He probably took the idea from 1 Samuel 30:6, where it is said that David "strengthened himself in the LORD his God."
The detailed teaching of spiritual battle in this passage presents two essential components. First, you must "be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might." Then, you must "put on the whole armor of God" (as it will say in the next verse). The two are essential, and much teaching on spiritual battle neglects the first. If you take a weak man who can barely stand, and put the best armor on him he will still be an ineffective soldier. He will be easily beaten.
So equipping for Christian combat must begin with "be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might."
Before a soldier is given a gun or shown how to fire a missile, he or she goes through basic training. One great purpose for basic training is the build up the recruit's physical strength. It is as if the army says, "Soldier, we are going to give you the best weapons
and armor possible. But first we have to make sure that you are strong, and that you can use what we give you."
"And in the power of His might." This shows how to get this strength. This does not happen just by saying the words. It is not an incantation or a spell. You can't just walk around saying, "be
strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" over and over and it will happen. Christianity isn't one of those self-help formulas where you go around saying positive things to yourself. Those kind of mental games can accomplish something, but it certainly wasn't what Paul meant here.
"Might" is inherent power or force. A muscular man's big muscles display his might, even if he doesn't use them. It is the reserve of strength.
"Power" is the exercise of might. When the muscular man uses his might to bend an iron bar, he uses his power. It means that the reserve of strength is actually in operation.
God has vast reservoirs of might that can be realized as power in our Christian life. But His might does not work in me as I sit passively. His might works in me as I rely on it, and step out to do the work. I can rely on it and do no work. I can do work without relying on it. But both of these fall short. I must rely on His might and then do the work.
It is not:
- I do everything and God does nothing.
- I do nothing and God does everything.
- I do all I can and God helps with what I can't.
Each of those approaches falls short. The key is for me to by faithrely on His might - and rely on it more and more - and then do the work.
By David Guzik
BLESSED BE THE ONE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD
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