2016 is a year to invest in building strength. If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. The relevance of this word for 2016 has been confirmed to me through diverse means. It is clear that the Spirit is speaking expressly about the need for strength in these days. After the previous post, someone might have asked himself, ‘So how exactly can I build strength?’ I am glad you asked. In this post, which is a more orderly account than the norm, I want to focus on how strength is built, specifically spiritual strength. I intend to build line upon line and precept upon precept to facilitate your understanding.
Four concepts are essential to building spiritual strength: Obedience, Knowledge, Faith, and Prayer
“Therefore, be careful to obey every command I am giving you today, so you may have strength to go in and take over the land you are about to enter.” – Deuteronomy 11:8 (NLT)
OBEDIENCE – The righteous are as bold as a lion. Disobedience to God separates us from Him and to be separated from God is to be very vulnerable. Ask Adam, the crown of God’s creation who suddenly felt ashamed and became timid because he had disobeyed God. It is hard to resist the devil with boldness when you have not submitted to God. Every commandment of God is for our good. Sometimes we imagine that God has put laws in place to favor Him. He is not an equal. The relationship is between one that excels in power and a race of mere mortals therefore it can only be to our advantage that we obey Him. It strengthens our position. Without Him, we can do nothing. If for that reason alone, we ought to be aligned with Him.
When we have just knowingly sinned, we feel spiritually weak. Keyword is ‘feel’. If you feel spiritually weak, you act spiritually weak and if you act spiritually weak, you are for all intents and purposes spiritually weak though strong. Make it a goal to obey God completely and at all times. He has no hidden agenda and is only motivated by His nature which is love. Whatever He says to you, do it!
“And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” – Daniel 11:32 (KJV)
KNOWLEDGE – Knowledge breeds strength. The more you know, the stronger you are. It is that simple. What must I know? You must know God and then know who you are in Him. There is much to cover here but let’s stick to the broad strokes for the sake of concision. There is head knowledge and heart knowledge of God. Head knowledge is an understanding of the mind. It is mental and not spiritual. Heart knowledge is an enlightenment of your spirit. We call this revelation knowledge. The higher presentation of course is revelation knowledge. The more of God that is revealed to you, the stronger you become.
First know Him; then know your place in Him. Paul said, ‘I know whom I have believed’. David in his parting words to Solomon said, ‘Solomon my son, know thou the God of your father…’ No man in the Bible saw adversity like Job did but what caused him to endure and ultimately prevail? His strength was rooted in the knowledge he had of God. He said, ‘I know my redeemer lives’.
“Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” – Hebrews 11:11 (KJV)
FAITH – For by faith, Sarah received strength to birth her destiny. An extension of the revelation knowledge of God is faith. Sarah had a revelation of God’s faithfulness which crystalized into faith. My high school physics teacher taught me that power is the ability to do work. Power can be substituted for strength in this context. Faith is a spiritual force that makes all things possible without exception. When you increase in faith, you increase in strength. Recall I base the need for strength in this season on the premise that adversity is inevitable on the path to destiny. Mountains in the Bible are metaphors that represent adversity or obstacles and Jesus said in so many words that with faith, we can move mountains. Faith gives strength to deal with adversity.
When the storms of life arise as it did when Jesus was in the boat in Luke 8:22-25, your faith will deliver you. Fainting in the day of adversity is a sign of little faith. Jesus asked his disciples who were freaking out due to the storm, ‘where is your faith’? That was a day of adversity and they were fainting. Jesus made the connection between their fainting and their lack of faith. The world is full of adversity but this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.
“43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” – Luke 22:43-44 (NKJV)
PRAYER – Prayer is communication with God. As we spend time with God in prayer, His nature rubs off on us. We know that God excels in strength. There is no weakness in Him and when we pray, we draw from His strength. We become more of Him and less of us. Personally, I feel stronger after every prayer session. Something about praying gives me strength.
An interesting event in 2 Chronicles 20 shows the impact of prayer on a man’s strength. Jehoshaphat was terrified when he got news of an impending attack by an alliance of three kings. He was facing the mother of all invasions and naturally his strength was failing him. Perhaps he could deal with one king at a time but he had no idea where to start with three nations in opposition. He prayed and suddenly had the strength to lead the people to battle. Sometimes, just like Jehoshaphat and Job, the challenge we face is hydra headed and we disintegrate under pressure. Prayer gives us strength.
I encourage you to engage in a very deliberate campaign to build spiritual strength. There is a lot of utility to that exercise and it is an investment that guarantees returns.