Understanding spiritual strength
You are a spiritual being who should possess and demonstrate spiritual capabilities. In 1 Corinthians 12, the apostle Paul spoke to the Corinthians about not being ignorant of spiritual realities. There is a spiritual world to which every child of God has access sand in which he can function. Natural things should not dominate us. We do live in a natural world, but it is also a spiritual world. Apart from spiritual sight, hearing, understanding, wisdom, etc, he can and should also have spiritual strength which really is strength in the inner man.
Most people live in a purely natural fashion in this spiritual world. And the spiritual world determines what happens in the natural realm. However, there are those who operate negatively in the spirit realm, and from there they afflict people in the natural realm. Many of God’s people, unfortunately, do not know the spirit realm at all , they function on the earth as mere natural men. Consequently, they are dominated by negative spiritual realities.
When I began to discover these things in God’s Word, I realized that I did not know as much as I needed to know. I cried out to God and asked Him to teach me. I wanted to know spiritual realities. I did not want to be a victim of spiritual realities because of my ignorance. That is a choice each of us must make.
The focus here is on spiritual strength. Spiritual strength differs from spiritual power. Spiritual power refers to divine power or even demonic power. Spiritual strength is the strength a person has within them, their inner capacity. That is the fruit of a strong spirit and a renewed mind.
Be spiritually strong
In Ephesians chapter three, the apostle speaks of bowing his knees in prayer for the Ephesian church and all to whom he addresses the letter. He is praying for them that the Holy Spirit will strengthen them powerfully in their inner man. That is God’s desire, that we have spiritual strength. His desire is that His people be strong, solid and resilient. We should be able to stand firm irrespective of prevailing circumstances. Paul is asking that they have all the resources that will enable them to be unshakeable, whatever happens. These are powerful words which must be an integral part of our vocabulary.
Love strength, hate pity.
Once, as a young believer, I heard a man of God state that you must love strength. The message hit home because I was not, at the time, a robust person spiritually. I had highs and lows. I made the choice to embrace and develop strength. Unfortunately, many Christians like weakness. They just want to be pitied. The problem is that most people appear to be compassionate but they simply humour you and once you turn your back, they let out their disdain.
Don’t seek pity, seek strength. It is so much better to be spiritually strong than to have people feeling sorry for you. You do not need pity. You need power. God needs a church that is spiritually strong. If we are not strong, we will not be able to stand. Many people are bowed down not because the enemy is powerful but because they are too weak.
So the apostle speaks of being powerfully strengthened in the inner man. It is not about just managing and barely getting by. It’s about great capacity and strength. What happens when the Holy Spirit Himself comes to strengthen you? Jesus spent 40 days fasting and the angels came to strengthen Him. Then the devil came to tempt Him, but He was strong, sharp and discerning and was able to resist.
The spiritual strength of David
David experienced something terrible by any standards. He came back to Ziklag where he lived only to find that the Amalekites had been there and had taken away his entire family and those of his men. They were broken-hearted. His men lost it and talked of stoning him. It was a low point; he seemed to have failed as a father and a leader. Who can describe the pain of such a moment, the horror of the uncertainty of it all?
By comparison, many believers experience fairly benign trials and throw in the towel. The Bible tells us that David encouraged himself in the Lord. He did not rail against God and threaten to give up the kingship because of all the palaver.
Indeed, many Christians have given up their kingship; they have given up the call of God on their lives and their role as kingdom builders. But David strengthened himself in the Lord and the Lord told him to pursue the invaders, overtake them and recover all they had stolen. He did. And that exactly is what happened. He received the plan, the way forward, and he succeeded.
There is a testimony that I have shared for years and will continue to share. It’s the testimony of an encounter I had with the Lord when I was a young woman and a fairly young Christian. The Lord spoke to me about giving me tensile strength. I knew what the word meant, but I still went to check it to be sure because it was not something I was expecting to hear from God. The word is applied to materials and refers to the degree of resistance towards a force of destruction. Take a piece a piece of fabric for instance. Its tensile strength is its level of resistance to a force that is trying to tear it apart.
Every child of God must have tensile strength. When the forces of life and of darkness launch a destructive attack, you must be able to stand firm. Whether they be challenges at work, at home, in the service of God, you must have the capacity to not be overcome. The opposition will not stop you because you are strengthened in the inner man
Even the devil knows where each one stands. For some, he knows that all it would take would be a few nasty thoughts thrown at them and they will not survive, they will disappear from the church for two years. Sometimes, it’s just about sending a good-looking boy or a good-looking girl to distract them. That’s enough to terminate their commitment to God. Sometimes, it’s a promotion at work or transfer to another place, another city, and their Christian life is over.
It’s imperative that gaining spiritual strength become a necessity in our lives. If God were to measure your particular tensile strength today, what would He find?
(Read the companion article – Why-you-must-passionately-crave-spiritual-strength