How strong are you? Back in my high school days we worked out just about every day to build up strength and stamina. Even after high school, I found myself pumping that iron to stay in shape and to maintain my strength. That’s probably the story of many others, but the older I get, I’ve noticed that even with working out, I can be strong, but not like the days of my youth. Physically everyone loses their strength over time, but that doesn’t have to be the case spiritually. The apostle Paul said, “Finally, my brothers, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Ephesians 6:10.
We need this encouragement today because of the hostile environments we enter into and the spiritual wrestling required to survive. Our mistake oftentimes is that we don’t know who our opponent is, so we end up in major conflicts with our spouse, or with our co-worker, or with our neighbors. Our wrestling is with spiritual forces of darkness in heavenly places. Our wrestling opponent, Paul said, was not on the human level, but the spiritual. That’s not to say we don’t come into contact with those who come against us, we certainly do, but even then, we must see our battle is not directly with them.
I love watching the Strong Man’s Contest where those massive men show how strong they are by lifting weights, pushing or pulling trucks, and lifting heavy concrete balls. It’s possible and very likely to be very strong physically, but a weakling spiritually, and that’s why Paul said, “Be strong in the Lord.” To be strong in the Lord means to walk in love and to be full of faith. To be strong in the Lord you have to know the Lord on a very personal level. To be strong in the Lord means you are a person of prayer. To be strong in the Lord you must be filled with the Holy Spirit. To be strong in the Lord you must be completely covered with the armor of God. Let me ask you, what does it matter if you can win physical battles and intellectual debates if you lose every spiritual confrontation? God has equipped you to win every spiritual wrestling match against your unseen enemy. Spiritually, you are not someone who should be pushed around and knocked down, but it happens, and it has happened to me more times than I want to admit. So what do you do? You get back up, and you go again. You learn the enemy’s strategy and you renew and gain strength in the Lord. You are strong, but your source of strength is not in you, it’s in the Lord. Starting today, be strong in the Lord!
You may be living in the blessings of those around you. When someone walks in faith and obedience to God, that person lives with the overflowing blessings and favor of God. There is a light and love and a goodness that emanates from their life that touches those around them. Those who walk in faith and obedience to God will have a great attitude and outlook on life, but what I’m talking about is more than someone having a great attitude. These followers of Christ are the “super-spreaders” of God’s saving gospel. They are the carriers of His presence. Listen to this, your work place ought to be favored because you are there. Your school and church and programs ought to be favored and especially blessed because you are there walking in faith and obedience to God.
Jesus said these words, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” —Matthew 5:16. God saved us and put His spirit in us to make an impact wherever we go. As you go out today, know that you are taking God’s presence with you, so don’t hide it. Be a blessing everywhere you go!
Joshua 14:12 “Now therefore, give me this mountain of which the LORD spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim [were] there, and [that] the cities [were] great [and] fortified. It may be that the LORD [will be] with me, and I shall be able to drive them out as the LORD said.”
Very few people would make such a request and even fewer would make a request for a mountain at the age of 85. But Caleb, one of the 12 spies who went and spied out the Promise Land for God’s people, was no ordinary man. By God’s grace for 85 years his streng
th had been sustained and his faith in God had only increased. And now at the point in life when the land was being divided among the children of Israel, instead of requesting a piece of property where he could settle down and take it easy like most people would, he asked for the mountain. He asked for the challenge. He wasn’t interested in the populated valley or the green meadows, he wanted the mountain. Why would he do that? Why would anyone his age do that? Caleb knew that making such a request would keep him dependent on the presence and power of God. Caleb still wanted to obey God and drive out the trespassing Anakim. More than likely you need a challenge that will keep you completely dependent on God’s presence and power, we all do. But what is it going to be? Do you see a mountain challenge anywhere? Don’t let yo
ur age be a factor as you look to a mountain, but have faith as Caleb did and said, “it may be that the LORD will be with me”. What will you do for the kingdom and glory of God that is going to challenge you? What mountain are you going to take on for His glory? Caleb was a mountain man and you can be a mountain man or woman, but the mountain will never be easy. Taking on a mountain will require focus, discipline and great faith in Almighty God. If you will take a moment to ask God to show you a mountain to take on, I promise you He will show you. Let Christ be exalted and make Him the king of the mountain.
Think back to how many times you have moved from one address to another. For some people, that exercise doesn’t take much effort because they’ve lived in the home they grew up in. Then there are those average movers that have resettled less than a dozen times and have found their place. I counted sixteen times I have moved, and praise God I don’t see any more moving in the future. Moving, however, is not something we only do physically because of job changes or marriage, but it is also something you do spiritually. To experience God, you must move! You must move from a relationship with God into fellowship with God, and yes, there is a difference. A relationship with God through Jesus Christ can certainly open the doors of heaven when you die, but with a intimate fellowship with God, the life of God will flow through you. So the question here is, are you in fellowship with God or just in a relationship with Him? If you’re in a relationship with God, you live with the “I don’t feel like it” attitude. I don’t feel like praying. I don’t feel like going to church. I don’t feel like reading God’s Word. In a relationship, you let your feelings mostly dominate your life when it come to spiritual matters. A relationship with God doesn’t create a sensitivity or concern for other, but fellowship does. Even those in fellowship with God have to overcome their feelings, but those in fellowship with God have recognized the value, satisfaction and the fulfillment their fellowship has brought into their lives.
Please hear this, the devil in hell doesn’t care if you have a relationship with God so long as you never move into intimate fellowship. He doesn’t want us to move into fellowship because he knows that’s where the victory is, and that’s where the abundant life is, and that is when your witness for Christ shines. So if you haven’t moved there, move! He saves us for fellowship. I have a relationship with many, many people, but they really don’t impact my life the way those do who I am in fellowship with. One thing I know, moving is not easy, it’s going to cost you. Jesus paid the price for our fellowship with God through His sacrifice on the cross for our sins, and fellowship with God will cost you some significant time out of your life. And you will find if it’s fulfilling enough, you will make every effort to be alone with Him, just like you would to spend time with a spouse or best friend.
Philippians 1:3-6 “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete [it] until the day of Jesus Christ”