10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. - Ephesians 6:10-11
Our world often has us focusing on our strengths, we learn to define ourselves by them - my strengths include problem-solving, organization, teaching, faithfulness, self-discipline. The Bible tends to call these gifts instead of strengths - the difference is important. When we refer to them as strengths, the focus is on us - we are the origin of our strengths. But calling them gifts denoted grace because gifts don’t originate with us. Our strength comes from the Lord.
It is so tempting in this world to take credit for our strengths. The world will puff us up and reward us for our strengths, and we forget where they come from. We live in a world that promotes strong-willed, action-minded people, when our children are struggling with self-esteem issues we remind them of their strengths, we’re asked to list our strengths in a job interview. There are plenty of opportunities to take ownership of our strengths in this world. Paul reminds us that none of us should boast in our own strength, but rely fully on the strength of the Lord. God shakes the proud and gives grace to the humble.
God will regularly allow us to walk into situations where our weakness our revealed so that He can strengthen us, especially when we start to take ownership of our gifts or strengths. He receives glory when we rely on His strength, or we allow His strength to shine through our weakness. Likewise, when we take credit for the strengths He has given us, He will allow situations that humble us and remind us where our strength comes from.
God wants us to recognize where our strength comes from - He wants us to be strong in Him. But becoming strong in the Lord almost always requires that we are made weak. When we are weak, when we are placed in those situations where our own “strengths” cannot rescue us, that’s when we turn to Him, that’s when we make room for Him to strengthen us. Our deepest and most profound encounters with the strength of the Lord happen when we are at our weakest.
So many beautiful people have encouraged me through this diagnosis by reminding me I am strong. I am not, my friends. I am weak. He is my strength in this trial, every step of the way.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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