Yesterday we looked at four strength stealers – shame, stress, stubbornness, and unhealthy relationships.
Today I want us to discover four strength givers!
This may be elementary for some, but the question is not, “Do you know about these things”, but rather, “Are you doing them?”
“For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” James 1:23-25 NLT
“As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength.” Psalm 138:3
Prayer is oxygen to your soul. And when God speaks to you, whether in your thoughts, or spirit, or emotions, or through someone else after you’ve prayed, it strengthens your soul.
Living life without prayer is like trying to live life while someone is trying to suffocate you. You can’t breathe deeply because you haven’t “cast your burdens on the Lord” (Psalm 55:22). Or you are weak because you haven’t waited on the Lord so you can “mount up with wings as eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
Don’t just read about prayer. Don’t just think about prayer. Don’t feel anxious or condemned because you haven’t prayed. Just pray.
“I have written to you who are young in the faith because you are strong. God’s word lives in your hearts, and you have won your battle with the evil one.” 1 John 2:14b NLT
The Word does two things – first, it makes you strong. Secondly, it makes you victorious over Satan. John is saying that the first thing new believers need to do is to get the Word of God into their hearts so they can overcome the evil one! Then, of course, continue in the Word to stay victorious.
We touched on this in yesterday’s post – you must seek out godly friendships. Paul had Barnabas, David had Jonathan, Joshua had Caleb, and even the two blind men who cried out to Jesus had each other.
There are three categories of relationships you need if you are going to become all Jesus has destined you to be:
- A mentor: Someone who is more mature than you who can help you grow. (Paul and Timothy)
- A peer: Someone who is at the same stage of life you are where you can encourage each other. (Joshua and Caleb)
- A disciple: Someone you are more mature than that you can help grow. (Elijah and Elisha)
All three of these types of relationships give you strength. It is obvious how the first two can, but what about the last one? When you are helping someone else, you will find that you have to seek God on their behalf. You will need more of God’s wisdom, energy, and grace. You will find that you grow as you help someone else grow.
The Church is more than a family–it is also a body, and it needs every part to be effective. A couple of your friends might have a few gifts, but the church body has all the gifts. You need these gifts to fulfill God’s purpose in your life, and the church needs your gift so it can fulfill its purpose.
“Now you [collectively] are Christ’s body, and individually [you are] members of it [each with his own special purpose and function].” 1 Corinthians 12:27 Amp
Some say they do not believe in, “organized religion”. But do they believe in an organized family, business, school, sports team, or any other organization or event? Of course they do.
When people say that what they are really saying is they have been hurt in church and it’s a defense mechanism. They want their independence, don’t want anyone telling them what to do–back to the original sin in the Garden. Or, they simply do not understand how Jesus has designed the church–that it is not a man-made institution, but a God-designed organization.
Jesus, the Architect of the Church, has given apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers (Ephesians 4), administrators, leaders, givers, caregivers, servers (Romans 12), gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12), deacons and deaconesses (Acts 6), Elders and overseers (Titus 1:5; 1 Timothy 3), so His Church can be the most powerful organization on earth, overcoming the power of darkness and rescuing people from hell.
But for any team to be successful they must work together. Satan, knowing this, does everything he can to splinter the church. That’s why Paul says this:
“Make every effort to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace [each individual working together to make the whole successful].” Ephesians 4:3 Amp
If we are disorganized, independent, and fractured, the Church will never accomplish her mission – and you will never reach your full destiny in God.
If you will commit to prayer, the Word, godly friendships, and the Church, you will continually experience an abundance of strength to do God’s will.
THINK ABOUT IT
- Which of the four sources of strength do you need to invest more time in?
- Do you have all three categories of relationships in your life? If not, which ones do you need to pray about so God can help you develop these?
- What is your relationship with the Church like? Are there areas of hurt you need to forgive? Do you recognize that you are an important part of the church and that it needs you to be a complete body? Are you willing to start fresh, discover what your gifts are, and where you fit in the body and do your part to help it succeed?