Do You Have a Strong Spirit? One day when I was explaining my considerable difficulties with the process of relocating our church, my father gave me this advice: “Son, it's time to toughen up.” It hit me that I had been hoping life would get easier, when the answer was simply for me to be stronger. God the Father also wants us to BE STRONG, and if we allow God to make us strong, we will live a more abundant lives.
This month we began a short series on one of Scripture’s most important commands: the command to BE STRONG. Today let’s explore what that looks like and why it’s important.
Joshua 1:7, 9 (NIV) - “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go…Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Ephesians 6:10 (NKJV) - Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
WHY ARE WE COMMANDED TO BE STRONG?
Paul directs the people at Ephesus to be strong in the Lord. He’s taught them about marriage, church unity, employer/employee relations, holiness—and now he drives home the final point: Let God fill you with supernatural power in your spirits. He said BE STRONG several times in the New Testament because it’s so important…
1 Corinthians 16:13 (NKJV) – “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”
Why do we need to have a strong spirit? Having a strong spirit makes all the difference in life. God created us with a spirit, a soul and a body. Our spirit is the part of us that directly engages God and draws from God.
Our spirit is the power plant of our lives.
When that part of our life is strong, we have the energy to live, laugh, love and lead. A strong spirit leads to a strong life; a weak spirit leads to a weak life. Being strong affects literally everything we do!
- We need to be strong because of the days we are living in. We’re facing financial problems, family problems, addictions, illness, wars, injustice and increasing deception. If we have a strong spirit, we can get through the pressures of life without falling apart.
Proverbs 24:10 (NLT) - “If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.”
- We need to be strong because the enemy is at work. Paul mentions spiritual warfare, and most of the people I know are in battles. A strong spirit will resist troubles, temptations and spiritual attacks. I’m grateful to be a part of a ministry where so many people are becoming strong in the Lord every single day in 4 cities!
A man who bragged that he had cut off the tail of a man-eating lion with his pocket knife. Asked why he hadn’t cut off the lion’s head, the man replied: “Someone already did that.” Today we are not talking about PRETENDING to be strong, which is what many in our day do. We are seeking TRUE victory over the enemy!
- We need to be strong because it makes our life better. A strong spirit helps us to accomplish more, rejoice more, receive more, overcome bigger problems, and even enjoy better physical health.
Proverbs 18:14 (NET) - “A person’s spirit sustains him through sickness—but who can bear a crushed spirit?”
Strengthening each other becomes very important in light of all this.
Isaiah 35:3-4 (NKJV) – “Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will…come and save you.”
I would say that one of our primary purposes as a church is to encourage the weak and say, BE STRONG!
HOW BELIEVERS BECOME STRONG
The weakest person can follow God’s Word and discover how to be strong.
Just as we can develop physical strength through exercise, we can improve our spiritual strength. There is no limit to how God can strengthen us. How do we begin to develop a strong spirit?
1. We have to know who God is.
Daniel 11:32 (NKJV) – “…The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.”
Would you say you know God? May I ask, is it by reputation (what you’ve heard) or through your own personal relationship (what you have experienced)? We were created for a close, personal relationship with Father God.
How do you get to know God? God the Father sent His Son Jesus to die so you could be forgiven of your sins and brought into close relationship with God. It’s a process of faith and accepting Christ. You can do that today.
John 14:6 (NLT) - Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
If you know Him, you understand His unconditional love for you. You know Him and what He wants. This relationship gives you strength and enables you to live a life of great exploits that would otherwise be impossible.
2. We have to believe God is with us.
One summer evening, during a violent thunderstorm, a mother was tucking her small boy into bed. She was about to turn off the light when he asked with a tremor in his voice, “Mommy, I’m scared. Will you sleep with me tonight?” The mother smiled and gave him a reassuring hug. “I can’t dear,” she said, “I have to sleep with Daddy.” A long silence a shaken little voice quietly said, “The big sissy.”
When you know that God is with you, the storm isn’t as scary. God’s presence will make you strong. Believing He is with you is the key to living a life that crosses over and conquers like Joshua:
Joshua 1:9 (NLT) – “This is my command—be strong and courageous!…For the Lord your God is with you wherever
3. We have to deal with our dismay.
Joshua 10:25 (NLT) - Then Joshua said to them, “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage, for thus the LORD will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.”
Dismay is a loss of courage in the face of trouble—and it’ll take your strength away. I have faced seasons of feeling what I’m doing is not working, my efforts are all for nothing—it’s a lost cause, no one appreciates it, I’m the wrong guy and there is no way to win. We all face these times.
To those in dismay today, God says:
1 Corinthians 15:58 (NLT) – “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”
The Lord God commands us to BE STRONG! He says, I’m with you…You can be free from your fears and your dismay. This divine strength is coming into your spirit by the Holy Spirit right now, and it is releasing abundant life!