“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” (Eph. 6:10)
“Eat your Wheaties,” we told our kids. “They will make you strong.” My generation was subjected to the bully who kicked sand in the face of we 99-pound weaklings. All we needed was a Charles Atlas bodybuilding program the ad said. Johnny Cash sang of a Boy Named Sue who grew up strong because of his name. Being strong, whether it be physical or emotional has long been a much-desired trait.
We love the stories of Samson and David. God’s strong men in a time of need. Whether male or female we desire to be strong people. How can we defend ourselves against evil and the evil one if we are weak? There are a lot of ways to gain strength. Gym use today is at an all-time high. People jog, run, bike and hike. Folks take supplements in ever-increasing numbers, and wellness is the new health goal.
This verse gives us two great clues about the pursuit of strength. In the first case, the only real and important strength is found in Jesus. Body strength will not give you a defense against the wrongness of the world. How much you can lift, jerk or press will not deter Satan for even a second. In the gym and on the track there is physical strength, but in Christ Jesus, there is everlasting power to overcome evil.
In the second place, the only strength that matters in the war we are engaged in is the strength that God gives. We are strong in Jesus because he gives us access to God’s mighty power. The writer of Willie Nelson’s hit, Seven Spanish Angels, had it right when the lyrics tell us, “God will set us free.” It is Jesus who has overcome the world, and when we join him, he will make us strong. This is what Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:10. Resist the Devil, Peter writes and in a little while God will strengthen you and establish you.
On our own, we are the 99 pound weakling of the Charles Atlas ads. The Devil will kick sand in our face as long as we face him on our own. Samson was a weakling without God. David was just a youth with a sling without God. Gideon was the least of the least without God and Paul was the worse of the world’s sinners. “Without him, I can do nothing, without him I’d surely fail.”
Task for Today: When you start the day say this ten times, “I can do all things in Christ who is my strength.”