BE STRONG IN THE LORD
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” (Ephesians 6:10 NKJV)
God does not promise to shield His children from the vicissitudes or challenges of life; rather, God promises to be with His children in their trials and never to leave them nor forsake them as they go through life’s challenges (Psa. 37:25, Heb. 13:5).
God’s promise is that “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.” (Isa. 43:2 NKJV).
It is nothing strange for true followers of Jesus Christ to face or experience opposition, tribulation, or persecution for the sake of Christ in this present evil world that is anti-Christ.
Peter admonishes us not to regard trials as a strange thing.
1 Peter 4:12-13 – NKJV
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
In his letter of encouragement to Timothy, Apostle Paul warns that those who desire to live godly in Christ will suffer persecution.
2 Timothy 3:10-12 – NKJV
10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance,
11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra–what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me.
12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
The Lord Jesus also warns His followers that they will suffer persecution for His sake.
John 15:19-20 – NKJV
19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
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20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.
John 16:33 – NKJV
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.
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In spite of whatever opposition, tribulation, or persecution you may face or experience in this evil world because of your faith and love for Christ, yet you can still have peace and joy, pursue and fulfil your divine purpose or assignment in life, and enjoy all your inheritance in Christ.
Apostle Paul undoubtedly suffered many tribulations, afflictions and persecutions in life for the sake of the gospel of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Tim. 3:10-12). But in spite of all that the devil threw at him, yet he finished his race and ministry with joy.
2 Timothy 4:6-8 – NKJV
6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.
Like Paul, you also can finish your race and ministry with joy in spite of opposition.
Apparently, Paul’s faith, courage or boldness in the face of opposition greatly contributed to his finishing his race and ministry with joy in spite of all his trials and tribulations.
When Paul was warned about the opposition and persecution awaiting him in Jerusalem, he would not be moved or bothered.
Acts 20:22-24 – NKJV
22 “And see, now I go bound in the spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there,
23 “except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me.
24 “But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.
Paul’s faith, courage and strength that enabled him to finish his race and ministry with joy in spite of all that the devil threw at him did not come from the flesh.
Paul clearly states that he has and puts no confidence in the flesh.
Philippians 3:3-7 – NKJV
3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,
4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so:
5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee;
6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:9-10 – NKJV
9 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
Like Paul, if you would finish your race and ministry with joy in this hostile world, you also must be strong, bold and courageous. However, your faith, confidence, strength, boldness or courage must not be rooted in the flesh, but in Christ.
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The Scripture sternly warns against leaning on the arm of flesh or making flesh your strength or confidence.
Jeremiah 17:5-6 – NKJV
5 Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the LORD.
6 For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see when good comes, But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land which is not inhabited.
As a born-again believer, your faith, confidence, strength or boldness must be rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ alone.
The Scripture commands you to “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” (Eph. 6:10 NKJV).
Apostle Paul commanded Timothy, saying, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 2:1 NKJV).
Any confidence or boldness that is not rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ is weak and unstable, and definitely no match for the vicissitudes, challenges or troubles of life.
When God commanded Joshua to be strong and very courageous so that he may obey all His commandments and possess and divide the Promised Land to the children of Israel as their inheritance, God also pointed out to Joshua where to draw the required strength, boldness, and courage from and how to draw it.
God said to Joshua, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Josh. 1:8 NKJV).
Natural food is the primary source of natural strength. Similarly, God’s Word is the major source of spiritual strength for the believers, for it is the spiritual food for the soul.
Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4:4 NKJV).
You draw daily strength, comfort, hope, faith, confidence and courage from the Lord to overcome every challenge, adversity, and adversary in life as you wait daily upon the Lord, imbibing His word, beholding His glory, and meditating on His love and faithfulness.
Isaiah 40:31 – NKJV
31 But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
You don’t get natural strength from natural food until it is eaten, swallowed, digested, absorbed and assimilated into your blood stream.
Likewise, the spiritual strength, faith, hope, confidence and courage in God’s Word is not available to you until you take time to read, hear, study, confess, memorize, mediate in and internalize God’s Word.
Beloved, your spiritual strength, boldness or courage is dependent upon God’s Word in your heart and mind.
Mere mental knowledge of God’s Word does not impart strength, boldness and confidence into your heart; only spiritual or revelation knowledge of God’s Word does. This is why the devil will go any length to hinder or distract you from receiving revelation knowledge of the truths of God’s Word.
Friend, God is calling you today to reset your priorities in life and begin to give quality time daily to reading, studying, listening to, meditating in, and internalizing God’s Word.
This will undoubtedly make you strong, bold and courageous to finish your race and ministry with joy in spite of whatever the devil throws at you or brings your way to discourage, frustrate or hinder you in life (Rom. 10:17).
Therefore, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” (1 Cor. 16:13 NKJV).
Prayer: My Dear Holy Spirit, grant me deeper revelation knowledge of the truths of God’s Word as I begin to spend quality time daily to read, study and meditate in God’s Word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.