Rev. Stephen Snodgrass
Be Strong in the Lord
Ephesians 6:10, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.”
It is when the spiritual and moral climax of our surroundings are in such a fevered pitch downward, that we must be reminded that we are not in this battle alone. I’m confident that as our world degrades itself more each day that we must realize that we cannot win the battle for good and right on our own strength and abilities, but we must lean ever so heavy on the strength and power of God. Knowing of the battle that would be raged ahead for the believer, Paul, in this letter to the Ephesians, counsels them to add to their arsenal, the weapons of spiritual warfare. By putting on the “whole armor of God,” we would be able to stand in the day of opposition. If there was ever a time when we must draw on His strength and apply His power, it is today.
One of the common misunderstandings made when determining the spiritual “strength” of the believer, is how long they have been saved. Not intending disregard spiritual maturity, we must be reminded that our strength does not come from within ourselves, but it comes from God. Remember the little shepherd boy, David, who upon hearing the heathen giant, berate and defile the God of Israel, made a declaration that still rings in the ears of the ages? He said, “Thou comest to me with a sword and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the Lord of Host, the God of the armies of Israel. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand…and all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the Lord’s.” (I Sam. 17:45-47) In making this declaration, David was letting the world know that it would not be of his only limited strength, but “the Lord of host”, literal meaning “the Lord of our extremities.”
As we exercise those areas of the Christian life, such as prayer, faith, devotion, commitment, trust and knowledge; we will begin to grow stronger in the Lord. Adam Clarke notes, “You must have strength, and strength of a spiritual kind, and such strength too as the Lord himself can furnish; and you must have this strength through an indwelling God, the power of his might working in you.” In Ephesians 1:19-20, the apostle identifies this mighty power that is needed in the Christian warfare as the same power that God exhibited when He raised Christ from the dead. This power is also exhibited in the Christian as we fight the good fight of faith.
It is with this confidence that we can go against the enemies of truth and righteousness. We, as believers, have the assurance that the same God that has never lost a battle, will strengthen us and give us the power to overcome the evil one. Today, we are no different than those early Christians, who “wrestled not with flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Today our Christian views are under attack. Our Christian beliefs are under scrutiny. Our Christian values are being obscured. Our Christian privileges are being questioned. Just today, I read a news headline that said, “Couple ordered to stop holding a Bible Study at home without a permit.” This was not in a communist country, but in San Diego, California, USA. It is situations such as this, that should drive us, who are followers of Christ, to our knees and beg for God to make us strong and use us in this battle for righteousness.
Church of God, today is our day! We have the message of hope and holiness. “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might!”