On The Subject of Strength

This word.

It is so misused, so misapplied. I really think it’s one of the most misunderstood words we have… right up there with ‘love’…

I think that what we typically call strength is really thinly(or not so thinly)-veiled selfishness. We make it all pretty and palateable with euphemisms like ‘independent’, ‘self-aware’, ‘confident’, ‘secure’… you know how we do. All those words that sound good, and that in and of themselves have some very positive implications, but that when it comes right down to it are just undercover selfishness.

I am discovering that real strength is something heavenly. And it has nothing to do with being independent or secure or any of that stuff. It has everything to do with knowing who we are in our spirits, and at the end of the day being willing to live and die by that knowledge and that standard.

Strong people aren’t just born. They have to be developed. Cultivated. Tested, tried and proven in the fire of God’s steadfast grace.

And like wise, weak people aren’t just born. They have to be developed. Cultivated. Coddled, spoiled, and catered to under the ever watchful eye of a society that teaches easiest is best and feel-good is right…

I am coming to believe that strength is so difficult to live out, in large part, because we’ve never really had to learn what it truly is to be strong. And that is due, almost in full, to the fact that as a society (and even some of us as believers) don’t take the time to train our children to know what it is to build an intimate, personal relationship with God.

Faith.

That’s the training ground for strength. Strength of conviction, strength of heart, strength of character, strength of mind. It starts with faith. Choosing to believe in what is not necessarily quanitfiable or qualifiable by any visible, physical standard. And then choosing to own it openly – in our language, in our thinking, and in our lifestyle.

And the only possible way that can ever be accomplished is grace. Grace to stand and hold on to what looks like a blithering calamity of the most enormous proportions (because everyone who walks in faith, will have a crisis of said faith… it just comes with the territory). Grace to experience faith in a visible,physical way. Grace to see the experience through to the end. Grace to stand under the pressure of those around who don’t have faith, who don’t live in the light of the gift of relationship. A lot a lot a lot of grace.

Strength is just not something that we happen upon, or that we discover because life happens. It is something that we uncover in ourselves as God works in our spirit to bring to the forefront of our minds & hearts just how human, just how fragile we really are without Him as our Source and our Power…. and then once we recognize those two pivotal truths, something inside us is free to truly experience what it is to be strong as God sees strength…

It is then that we learn the truth of the fact that sometimes the willingness to be weak is exactly the moment we become strong beyond our comprehension…

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