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Strong In The Lord

"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”” Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV


To be on God’s side never ends in vanity. For God is all that is Good, Perfect, and True. He is our Shield and our Sword. He is willing to fight our battles on our behalf, but only if we are willing to humble ourselves before Him.

A proper view of God helps to give us a proper view of our circumstance.

A proper view of God helps to give us a proper view of our circumstance. Many people sing the right songs, but their heart is not right. They are able to sing the lyrics in corporate worship, but their walk does not reflect what they sing. Though battles will come and there will be times when our emotions override logic, many fall prey to a cowardice faith - which is no faith at all. For those who truly know God are able to be strong in Him. Not in their own strength, lest we would be boastful. Instead, it is in our weakness where we are made strong by God’s strength (2 Corinthians 12:9-11). However, in order for us to be strong in our weakness, we must first admit we are weak.

In order for us to be strong in our weakness, we must first admit we are weak.

All of us are weak to some degree, but some of us desire to remain in that weakness. All of us have different struggles and battles, yet few of us truly know God and trust in Him in the midst of those difficult times. When adversity arises, many become weary. Yet, Proverbs 24:10 (NKJV) says, “If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small.”


What then shall we do with all this knowledge about God in the midst of adversity? What shall we do to change the trajectory of our lack of faith and lack of trust in God? The answer is simple: “Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually!” (1 Chronicles 16:11 ESV).


Some of us are sporadic seekers of God. We are not continuous in our desire and pursuit of Him. Like the person who wins a huge lottery, they no longer feel compelled to work. They think that all things would be smooth-sailing moving forward the instant they got their reward. They think they can use what they have been given any way they please and, in the end, they will still have more and be able to live as they desire.


Sadly, this is not the case. For we know that many of those who win the lottery become broke in the span of a few years. Why? Because they are not wise with what has been given unto them. They do not continue in their pursuit of stewarding what they have been given wisely.


It is to the same with God. Some of us ride on the initial conversion into the family of Christ. Some of us only clock in on Sunday to get a nice sermon in and check the box. Some of us have no desire to seek God outside of what is “required” of us.

This is the sad reality of many who are in the faith. They sought the Lord once, depended on His strength for but a time, and then ceased to continue in their pursuit of Him.

We go through the motions as easily as we go in and out of a basketball or football game. It is a “one-and-done” act for the week, until next week, when we are to report for duty. This is the sad reality of many who are in the faith. They sought the Lord once, depended on His strength for but a time, and then ceased to continue in their pursuit of Him.

Whenever someone ceases from the continuous pursuit of God, everything around a person becomes heightened and deemed as worse than it actually is.

Whenever someone ceases from the continuous pursuit of God, everything around a person becomes heightened and deemed as worse than it actually is. This does not undermine the fact that there are many problems and horrific realities that people face in life. However, when we truly understand God and are forever drawing close to Him, these problems will be deemed as small in the midst of Almighty God.

There is no tougher command from God than to wait on Him.

We must “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14 ESV). There is no tougher command from God than to wait on Him. The reason is because we live in an extremely busy and rushed society. We think we have to complete everything we want to do for the day, otherwise it is a failure. Many of us are not submissive before God and we want to take matters into our own hands. When things don’t work out, we blame God - not knowing, we are to blame.

Many of us would rather blame our own self-created end on God, rather than be honest with God and admit we have been in the wrong. Many of us would rather work something out in the flesh than to wait upon God for His best.

For we can reflect upon certain times in our past where we did something entirely on our own and made the situation worse. Yet, we don’t want to reflect on these times because it takes transparency and honesty. We would rather tuck away the times we attempted to be strong on our own (only to have things go wayward) than to be honest with ourselves through intentional reflection. Many of us would rather blame our own self-created end on God, rather than be honest with God and admit we have been in the wrong. Many of us would rather work something out in the flesh than to wait upon God for His best.

God strengthens only those who wait on Him and continually seek Him.

For God is a Deliver. “He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might He increases strength” (Isaiah 40:29 ESV). God strengthens only those who wait on Him and continually seek Him. God is not going to give us strength when we are neglecting Him day after day after day. We can cry all we want in the midst of our circumstance. We can shout and yell from the mountain top, but God will not listen.


Of course, God is willing to forgive and wants to have fellowship with us. However, if something occurs in our life and we immediately want God to deliver us, and He doesn’t answer on our time, many times we become angry, upset, discouraged, and backslide. This, again, is a failure in continuing our pursuit of God. God is not one to turn His back on His children, but He is One to remain at a distance for a time. He does this to reveal that we have strived and worked too hard in our own flesh and sweat to make things work.


God will reveal to us the folly and vanity of neglecting Him every day - placing television, social media, friends, and family above Him. For anyone who claims to love God, yet does not read His Word and does not pray (except only when something bad happens), reveals what is in their heart. For as the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 6:21 (NKJV), ““For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.””


Wherever our treasure is, there our strength can be found. Are we pursuing after a certain amount of traffic from a social media post? This is where our strength is being used up. Are we going to the gym to build emotional relationships with many from the opposite sex? That is where our strength is. In the words of King Lemuel’s mother, “Do not give your strength to women, Nor your ways to that which destroys kings” (Proverbs 31:3 NKJV).

Whatever captivates us is where our strength is.

Whatever captivates us, we must reflect and understand that is where our strength is going. If our strength is going towards God, we will be instantly replenish and renewed. For although we can give God nothing but our will, He in return rewards those who pursue Him. He will give to us His strength, as our initial strength is found in our pursuit of Him. This is the beautiful cycle of always remaining strong in God and by God.


Let us know that “The Lord is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise Him, my father's God, and I will exalt Him” (Exodus 15:2 ESV). Let us “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13 ESV). Let us know that we can truly do all things through Christ Who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13 ESV). “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV).

When difficulties come, may we turn towards God in humility. Not in a plea to get out of what we are going through, but in a desire to be strengthened and refined by the fiery fire that tries us.

May we forever “be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might” (Ephesians 6:10 ESV). When difficulties come, may we turn towards God in humility. Not in a plea to get out of what we are going through, but in a desire to be strengthened and refined by the fiery fire that tries us. For it is in our weakness that we can become strengthened in the Lord. For God is always willing to help us. We simply must be in a continuous pursuit of Him Who has no limitations.


The next time adversity, suffering, and persecution comes from the world, may we remember to “never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord”” (Romans 12:19 ESV).


“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”” (Joshua 1:9 ESV).



PRAYER


God, You are our Rock and our Redeemer. You alone are Strength. We can do nothing apart from You but sin. God, forgive us of our unwillingness to yield to You. Forgive us of the times we come to You and only seek You when we seek to be delivered from our trials. O God, with all our strength we pursue You, knowing that Your strength will be given to us. God, we admit that we are weak, but we know that You are Strong. We repent of our sins, knowing that You are Gracious and Merciful and Just to forgive us of our sins. God in Heaven, strengthen us and readily equip us for every good work. May we forever seek You in a continuous, deliberate, intentional pursuit. You are Master, and we are slaves to You. For we know that is where true freedom lies. Blessed be Thy Holy Name, forevermore. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Lance VanTine

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