Now is come salvation and STRENGTH..
Be STRONG and of a good courage…
Have I not commanded thee – Be STRONG….
My STRENGTH is made perfect in weakness…
Have you ever run a marathon – and finished first? Those who do rejoice greatly ..like a strong man to run his race, as we read in Psalm 19. Oh there is much joy and satisfaction in moral and physical strength, but the man that is perfect in physical strength depends on many things: nourishing food to replenish and build up the power of sinews and muscles.. sufficient sleep and a carefully constructed workout, to maintain peak fitness – and how we love to look fit and sleek and how we love to confidently complete the race, and how we wish we were even fitter, fleeter and faster!
The Psalms abound with references to strength and do we not rejoice with Joshua who cried.. “Be strong and of good courage … Be strong and very courageous, have I not commanded you – be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go”. Yet in his wisdom, Paul admonishes us that:- bodily “exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things.” And in the leading of the Spirit, he again reminds us – “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in your weakness.”
Oh my! What a total paradox – what a contradiction – what an oxymoron. And soon we discover that the references to strength are not quite what they seem. In Revelation, we read: “Now is come salvation and strength… the power of His Christ has come – while in Joshua we read: Be strong and very courageous, for the LORD your God is with you. Oh yes, we are reminded that – “God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness…”
The power of every David and Deborah – the strength of every Samson and Joshua..is all and only and fully and completely dependent on the strength of the Lord – not on their own strength. The sweet Psalmist of Israel reminds us that God is our strength, and in Psalm 28 we read: “The LORD is their strength, and He is the saving refuge of His anointed”, while Nehemiah rejoices to remind us that.. “the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
It is not the brawn of the mighty man nor the speed of the marathon runner, that is the thing that we should desire to develop.. the discipline we chase after – but God’s strength is perfected in and through me.. His strength and power is being demonstrated through my weakness and helplessness. The fit and healthy athlete is a physical picture of our spiritual endeavour. And as we run this earthly race, we need to obtain a prize.. and as we live in the spot where God has placed us, we must be spiritually disciplined.
It is utter dependence and total trust in Him that God desires from you and me – for He desires that it is HIM and not our own strength that is our supply and our stay. And the widow’s mite is an economic picture of His strength being made perfect in me. She has nothing – so that He could provide everything. But this is one of the most difficult lessons for any Christian to learn – for we thrive on independence and feel all the responsibility is on our head. But only as we submit to His training and instruction, will His strength be made perfect in our weakness.
The spiritual muscle and might that He desires to be built up in our hearts..is love, joy, patient endurance, gentleness and goodness… meekness and mercy.
Run the straight race through God’s good grace,
Lift up thine eyes, and seek His face;
Life with its way before us lies,
Christ is the Path, and Christ the Prize.
Cast care aside, upon thy Guide,
His boundless mercy will provide;
Lean, and the trusting soul shall prove
Christ is its Life, and Christ its Love.
Faint not nor fear, His arms are near,
He changes not, and thou art dear.
Only believe, and thou shalt see
That Christ is all in all to thee.
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