What’s with all this stress! I’m sure you’ve noticed that people are so tired and tense, you and me included, that we’re living on the edge of burnout. Everywhere I look, I see people caught in a dust storm of duties, running to and fro with more errands than energy, anxious, exhausted, a bit blank. I’m trying hard to edge away from the pressures of life, but they have a diabolical way of reaching out and pulling me back.
Maybe the problem isn’t an increase in stress but a decrease in strength. Life has always been hard; and arguably, it’s easier now than ever. Unlike prior generations, we live longer and employ more conveniences. Most of us have drinking water from a tap, climate-controlled homes, medicine for every ailment, and instant access to the world. Yet somehow we’ve lost the stamina that sustains our good spirits amid a busy schedule.
I have twelve ideas to help. Twelve Bible verses. Recently I looked up every occurrence of the word “strength” in Scripture and I selected twelve verses to memorize and claim as my own. I’m happy to share them with you too, for I’m certain God wants to impart The Strength You Need for each day. Here’s what I found.
1. God’s strength is lifelong strength
Deuteronomy 33:25 says, “Your strength will equal your days.” God has a plan for each day of our lives (Psalm 139:16), and He has promised we’ll never face a task or bear a burden without needed strength from Him.
2. God’s strength is lasting strength
The writer of Psalm 84:5-7 compares us to pilgrims trekking to glory, going through arid valleys and difficult terrain; but we travel “from strength to strength” until we arrive in God’s presence. Too many of us lurch “from weakness to weakness” because we’ve never studied and applied Psalm 84.
3. God’s strength is imparted strength
According to 2 Chronicles 16:9, “The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” Could our weakness be connected with a poor connection with Christ? Imagine the eyes of the Lord scanning the globe right now, sweeping over your city, searching for a heart committed to Him. When he finds that person, He imparts heaven’s strength into their souls. Are you tapping into supernatural strength in this way?
4. God’s strength is joyful strength
One of my favorite Bible verses, Nehemiah 8:10, says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” Joy and strength go together like flame and heat. When we’re joyful we’re strong, but when we lose our joy we lose strength. I try to keep an enthusiastic spirit because, like an old book once said, “Enthusiasm makes the difference.”
5. God’s Strength is Timely Strength
Last year I spent quite a bit of time memorizing Psalm 46, and now I dwell on it when I awaken in the middle of the night. It’s one of our sturdiest Psalms, right from its opening words: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (NKJV).
6. God’s Strength is Tranquil Strength
We draw energy from moments of quietness in our lives, which requires time each day for stillness, prayer, and biblical meditation. My verse for this? Isaiah 30:15: “In quietness and trust is your strength.”
7. God’s Strength is Renewed Strength
When the whole world is searching for renewable sources of energy, how does it miss Isaiah 40:31: “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength”?
8. God’s Strength is Recurring Strength
In Isaiah 58, the Lord told the people to care for the widows, orphans, and needy souls, and to treat others ethically and generously. According to verse 11, doing so results in a promise: “The Lord will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden.”
9. God’s Strength is Durable Strength
If you’ve never studied the Old Testament book of Habakkuk, let me summarize it for you. In chapters 1 and 2, the prophet Habakkuk had a conversation with God about such things as violence, confusion, weakness, and stress. After God’s probing set of answers, Habakkuk wrote a hymn, which makes up the third and last chapter of the book. It ends this way: “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer. He enables me to tread on the heights” (Habakkuk 3:13).
10. God’s Strength is Unwavering Strength
The biblical hero, Abraham, lived a long and difficult life, but he had sufficient strength for each day because he trusted God with his load. Romans 4:20 says, “Abraham did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God.” Our hearts find a surge of strength whenever we focus on God’s promises rather than on our problems; so acknowledge your problems, but keep your eyes on the Lord.
11. God’s Strength is Innermost Strength
The apostle Paul suggested funneling God’s strength into your life through prayer. Ephesians 3:16 says: “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being.” That’s a great petition to personalize and offer for yourself or another, so why not try it right now? Lord, out of Your glorious riches please strengthen me with power through Your Spirit in my inner being.
12. God’s Strength is Riveting Strength
I remember hearing Billy Graham say he often grew frightened before preaching in great open-air stadiums and sports arenas, but he learned to close his eyes and repeat Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (NKJV). This verse is just as available to you and me. It’s available now. He will give you strength for whatever He assigns.
I’ve only touched on these verses, but they’re all in your own Bible, along with many others. The word “strength” occurs 232 times in Scripture. Maybe if we discover these lines of Scripture, we’ll be able to grasp some high voltage lines from the Bible.
We all need to work on stress-reduction. But our greater need is strength-improvement. In days like these when the world is on edge and the pressures are crippling, look to the Lord and His strength. Look to Him always. Tap into His strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.
Robert J. Morgan is teaching pastor at The Donelson Fellowship in Nashville, TN. His recent book is The Strength You Need.
Publication date: October 7, 2016
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