I can carry a lot. More with my left arm than my right. This comes from years of carrying heavy plates to and from the kitchen at the restaurant I work in. It save me trips to and from the car, I guess.
Being strong doesn’t come naturally. Babies can’t do jack. As you grow, and work your muscles, you build up strength and endurance. Body builders morph from Napoleon Dynamite to Brock O’Hurn (ladies. Check him out.), but not overnight. It takes work.
I flipped open my Bible this morning to Nehemiah 8. The verse I was looking for was “The joy of the Lord is my strength”. I also found a commandment to eat choice food and drink sweet drinks, but I digress. I thought about what that means.
Everyone has their own battles in life. Some of my dearest friends wrestle with addictions that will kill them if given half a chance. People deal with the loss of a child, some at their own hands. Abuse, pornography, sexual sin, feeling overwhelmed by circumstances or relationships, depression, loneliness..we all fight something. If we don’t fight it, it will take over and try to ruin our lives.
So..where does our strength come from? How do you deal? My strength is the “joy of the Lord”. This means that over the past few years, I have made time to build up my faith. I did this (and must continue to do so) by putting forth effort to study, pray, and see God in action in my life. Because I believe that Jesus lived, died, and rose again to show God’s great love for us, I also believe that I am never alone, that I have a very present help in times of trouble or temptation, and that God will one day set right all that is wrong in this world. There is joy in that knowledge.
I have definitely blown it. When you stop eating right and exercising, your body will get out of shape. When you neglect the presence and reality of God, you tend to get dragged down by temptation or dissatisfaction, and you try another means to get that “right” feeling again. Been there. You can’t cheat on your diet and expect to lose weight. You can’t quit working out and expect muscle to remain. Just as fad diets or get never seem to produce lasting results, nothing gets me back on track until I actually start spending time with the Lord again and obeying Him.
Anything worth having takes work. The beauty of who our God is is in the cross, where he did the work of paying for my sins, and anyone else who will believe and call on Him. Being a Christian isn’t easy, but there is so much joy there that I will fight to remain strong in him. When we draw near to our Heavenly Father, there is NOTHING he will not help us overcome. He has already overcome death, so your struggle is not too hard for him.
Where are you hurting? How are your coping methods?
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!” -Joshua 1:9
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” -Isaiah 40:29
“I can do all things through him who gives me strength” -Phillipians 4:13
” The Lord is my strength and my shield, my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.” – Psalm 28:7-8
” The Lord is my strength and my song, he is become my salvation ” – Psalm 118:14
” Surely God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song, he is become my salvation.” -Isaiah 12:2
” I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being” -Ephesians 3:16
” Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” – 1 Peter 5:7