I think about strength a lot. Whether it’s because I’m a man or whether it’s simply because I desire to be strong, I toss the idea of strength, its definition, and its implications in my head pretty often.
What do you think it means to have strength, or to be strong?
We don’t have to look very far to discover what our culture defines strength as: the power suit, strong man competitions, triathlons, having great influence, never showing weakness, rising to the top of your industry, going undefeated, and many other examples. Our lives and the things we feed ourselves with are constantly telling us that strength is either muscular, an element of willpower, or the ability to never settle for less than you want. Some may argue with this claim, and of course there are other definitions and connotations, but I believe it’s at least 80% true.
We can also talk about strength in opposition to weakness. We really love to do this. I love to do this. I’ll look at what I’m good at, and what I’m not so good at, and try to do more of the first kind. I think it’s beneficial, important, and necessary. But is that really all strength is? What we’re good at?
I could go on and on about the definitions or connotations of the word, but I’d rather not.
I would simply like to say this:
Strength is the ability to let yourself be known. Strength is the ability to not allow culture, or your past or others’ views of you define you. Strength is being honest, loving, and transparent when we live in a world full of lies, evil, and walls. Strength is allowing yourself to cry. Strength is extending mercy and grace to those who don’t deserve it.
Strength is laying down your pride, sacrificing for someone else, and forsaking your rights for the good of others. Strength is being open-handed to God, no matter where that might lead.
There is only one person from whom we can take an accurate representation of true strength. That person gave up everything He had in order that we might experience freedom. His name is Jesus.
He is stronger than our strength and wiser than our wisdom. His cross speaks a stronger word than any that could ever be spoken. And His resurrection speaks of eternal strength that could not and will not be put to death.
We have a Savior who not only empathizes in our weaknesses and our troubles, but also fights for us and conquers our greatest enemies. Even when those enemies are within us.
Real strength is found in Jesus, and He is more committed to you than you are to yourself.
This means we can get rid of our façades, our masks that declare to the world that we don’t need anyone, we’re strong enough on our own. That’s just not true. It means we can live without comparing ourselves to others. It means we don’t have to search and strain and burn calories to gain strength. You and I need to be strengthened inside. We need strength to be healed and delivered and set free from all the crap in our hearts and our minds. We need strength that doesn’t fade away and die.
What better source of strength than the one who gave up His life for us, rose from the dead three days later, and is still alive today, willing and able and desiring to breathe life and strength into our bones?