…the joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10
Patrick, my pastor, and my son Chris are two of the best examples I know of holistic fitness. They work out regularly, stay in and practice the Word, and have healthy diets. I also exercise and eat a generally healthy diet, but I’ve never, ever, in my wildest imagination considered myself physically strong or to be emulated in any physical sense.
However: I’ve discovered the keys to another kind of persevering strength, and they always work. Our minds, bodies, and spirits are integrated making us a whole person fit to do and be what God has for us each day. I am not speaking here of emotional or medical “highs” that are completely dependent on circumstances or chemicals. God has given us important principles that can be activated for practical results.
Here are a few reminders. Reader, be aware: They take time, and they move the focus from ourselves to him. “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 Have you ever noticed how depression, anger, or negative emotions sap your energy and block your aspirations? Put those aside and persist in moving back into God’s presence that’s described as “fullness of joy.” Take time to access his joy and find yourself strengthened for whatever your task may be.
“…be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might.” Ephesians 6:10 If we recognize our lack of strength for any trial or need, we can humbly call on the Lord for his strength that never fails and is always adequate for the day or situation.
One of my favorite verses comes from Deuteronomy 33:25—“As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” Have you ever felt like pulling the covers over your head and declaring time out? The night was too short or the day will be too unpleasant. Think about this wonderful word. Whatever the challenges of the day, no matter the difficulty of the assignment or heat of the trial, God will give us the strength we need for that day. Not tomorrow’s needs or yesterday’s; God gives us what we need for the day (daily bread).
In Isaiah (41:10) we read, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” There’s no need for us to ever be weaklings in God’s strength if we rely in him and not in ourselves.
I could go on: Philippians 4:13, Isaiah 40:31, I Chronicles 16:11, Isaiah 40:29, Habakkuk 3:19, and even more. God is everything we need and gives us what we need to serve and follow him, so let’s cast off weakness and be strong—in him.
Kind Father, it’s so easy to fall into the temptation of being weak when we look at our human frailty. Shake us to remember whose we are and cause us to access our strength in you. In Jesus’ name. AMEN.