Be Strong In the Lord
This week, I don’t feel very strong.
I don’t know about you, but life can sometimes make you feel that way. Perhaps you’re struggling mentally at the moment, you have problems with your relationships or you’re fearful about the future. Another lockdown is daunting for loads of reasons for loads of people.
It’s daunting for the girl who’s just moved to university, to a brand new city and still doesn’t know anyone. It’s daunting for the guy with anxiety who fears that more time spent alone in his room might cause his mental health to deteriorate again. It’s daunting for the woman living with an abusive partner, terrified of what another month trapped at home will bring. This year has felt, for most of us, like one huge shadow. But today I want to write some words of hope.
Ephesians 6:10-13 talks about being ‘strong in the Lord’.
I don’t think we’ve ever needed these words as much as we do right now. But how do we “be strong”? And what’s the point? Paul points out that we need to be strong because there is an enemy against us.
But crucially, he points out that we are fighting against four things…
- Spiritual forces
Ok so that’s quite a lot.
Paul is saying that there are actually forces set against us to keep us from hoping in God and trusting in Him. There are forces set against us to stop us from reaching our full potential. He’s highlighting the fact that we cannot win a spiritual battle in our own strength. You have to fight something spiritual with something spiritual. Therefore we need the strength of God! All the self help tactics and emotional health books are great, but they cannot help us win a spiritual battle, we need God for that.
So how do we find strength in God?
Firstly we need to recognise that strength IS AVAILABLE. Paul has laid out the invitation to be strong in the Lord in verse 10 because he knows it is possible.
In 1 Samuel 30:1-6 we see David lose everything he had worked for, all the momentum of his battle, everything he had worked for his whole life and then the enemy army takes everything from David and his men. They even take David’s family from him. David lost absolutely everything. It says in verse 4 “David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep.” You ever cried that hard?
But later in verse 6, it simply says “But David found strength in the Lord.” The writer of Samuel doesn’t give us six ways that David found strength in the Lord, but he just allows us to know that it was possible even for David!
Secondly, we need to recognise that strength is a choice. The verse doesn’t say “wait for the Lord to x y and z and then you’ll be strengthened.” It says “Be strong in the Lord.” It’s an active command.
We won’t always have people around us to encourage us or spiritual mentors to tell us exactly what to do. Sometimes you have to encourage yourself. Perhaps this lockdown could be a great opportunity for you to practice strengthening yourself in the Lord. Get up early, go on a prayer walk, memorise a psalm, do whatever you have to to win this spiritual battle! Because mental, emotional and spiritual strength in God is possible, even on the hardest days.
Rosie is part of the team at CCM Fallowfield. She joined the church as a student herself and loves leading worship, connecting with students and helping other find their way into community.