â€œThou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.â€ (2 Timothy 2:1)
As with so many other character attributes, a Christian cannot measure strength as the world does. True strength is not military might or athletic skill or purchasing power. â€œFor . . . not many mighty . . . are called: But God hath chosen . . . the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mightyâ€ (1 Corinthians 1:26-27).
A Christian is strong when he or she is a person of gracious character, strong in the grace manifested by Christ in word and deed. â€œMy strength is made perfect in weakness,â€ the Lord told the apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 12:9), who then prayed that we would also be â€œstrengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulnessâ€ (Colossians 1:11).
But how does one acquire such strength in grace? First of all, it is by the working of the indwelling Holy Spirit in the believerâ€™s lifeâ€”â€œstrengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner manâ€ (Ephesians 3:16).
Then it is by spending times of quietness before the Lord in prayer and study. â€œTheir strength is to sit still. . . . in quietness and in confidence shall be your strengthâ€ (Isaiah 30:7, 15). Frantic efforts to acquire, by human methods, the power one needs to accomplish a task or to reach a goal will be futile in the end, â€œbut they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strengthâ€ (Isaiah 40:31).
After the people had spent a day before the Lord and His written Word, Nehemiah could assure them that â€œthe joy of the LORD is your strengthâ€ (Nehemiah 8:10). â€œBlessed is the man whose strength is in thee,â€ the psalmist could say (Psalm 84:5). When we acquire our strength from Him, we can confidently claim the ancient promise: â€œAnd as thy days, so shall thy strength beâ€ (Deuteronomy 33:25). HMM