But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Corinthians 12: 9-10
I got out of bed this morning with very little desire to get going with my day. Bed felt good. Work’s been tough lately. There is way too much to do and no time to do it. And to top it all off, I am still sore from working out last Friday and Saturday. But as I descended the stairs, God spoke three words to me that smacked me pretty good: Stronger than Yesterday.
If you think about it, we have always been getting stronger. Beginning as a combination of egg and sperm, we have increased in size, strength, and abilities. Our bodies developed until we were ready to sustain life outside of the womb. After birth, the process of growing bigger and stronger took on an even greater significance. In time, we would become strong enough to raise our head, to roll over, to push ourselves up, to sit up, stand, and finally to walk. Walking turned to running, skipping, jumping and playing. We’ve grown cognitively as well – strengthening our minds to be able to recognize people, objects, and a language we would use for a lifetime. We also grew stronger in our personal development. We found ways to express ourselves, to show emotion, to develop opinions and express our thoughts. And most remarkably, we have all done these things simultaneously and without ceasing from the moment we were conceived.
As we grow older, we continue to grow stronger and stronger in our bodies, our minds, and in our personalities. While we may slow down in the physical areas, we continue to grow in other ways. Every day we’re alive brings new experiences that impact us, providing growth and greater perspective. In fact, we grow stronger in wisdom until the moment we pass on into the new life that God has designed for us from the beginning of time. Long story short: we never stop growing stronger.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t always feel that way. Some days provide challenges that test every area of strength we possess. Are we strong enough to run the 10K we set for our goal this year? Are we strong enough to avoid the temptation of junk food on the way home, gossip in the staff lounge, or the sexual advances of someone who is not your spouse? Fatigue tells us that we aren’t strong. Failures identify weaknesses. Braggarts masquerading as experts bombard you with proof of just how fragile you are and in the next breath offer to sell you the solution. And while the world convinces us that this is just a part of the aging process, we as believers must see through the lie to get back to the truth of who God created us to be.
For starters, we need to realize that God designed us to be strong. There is nothing in all of creation that can compare to the strength of God. The psalms remind us that God is our strength and shield (Psalm 28), our refuge and strength (Psalm 46) and my strength, song and savior (Psalm 118). As we were created in His image, we too can trace the imprint of strength into our DNA – it’s what we strive to be. Follow that up with the understanding that when we as believers put our trust and faith into God, we are tapping into His strength. Paul’s words in Ephesians 6 make it clear that through Him we receive our power and our strength. If we stay in Him, and He remains in us, our strength can never wane.
Finally, true strength can only be measured when it is put to the test. Imagine walking into a gym today for the first time in many years. You may consider yourself strong, and you may have been a beast back in the day. But today you aren’t sure what you have in you; how much you can do. And the simple truth is this: you will never know how much weight you can lift until you pick up a barbell and try. If you can only lift 100 pounds today, don’t quit in disgrace. Keep lifting; build the strength through adversity and next time attempt 110. Over time, 100 pounds will seem light, but that’s okay because you’ll keep pushing to find the next challenge in front of you.
God has delivered you from some unbelievable things – struggles that only He could have seen you through. But in the process, you have grown stronger and are better equipped to face the next thing. He’s not going to leave you. Like a good trainer, He will always be there. But look back for a moment to consider what you have accomplished in Him, allowing it to motivate you to move forward stronger than ever!