Joshua chapter one is often quoted and preached at the start of a new year or new venture, but God’s command to Joshua to be strong, courageous & careful seems more apt than ever as we cross the threshold into 2012. The instruction to “Be strong” seems of huge import, and yet so many Christians seem determined to make weakness fashionable. We are experts at it! The command to BE STRONG almost intimidates some of us.
But in our obvious weakness there must be a determination to find God’s good strength to lift us to better days. Here are 7 ways to stay strong:
1. Keep Smiling. Nehemiah 8:10 “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” is as true as ever. I find it soooo easy to get miserable, intense, disappointed, impatient = weak. But really you should enjoy the moment you are in. Be present. Suck the juice out of life and SMILE. If you get like me and wonder who the miserable old git in the mirror is, purposefully slap a smile on that face. It’s an act of immense faith. And it’s so good for your health.
2. Stay in Grace. So many genuinely, lovely Christians spend way too much time feeling guilty, shameful, wishing they were so much more. But “there is a river whose streams make glad the city of God”, a river of grace for you and me. Psalms 30:7 states “When you favoured me, my mountain stood firm”. LET HIM favour you; it’ll make you strong. Stop feeling like you wear God’s grace out. Have a conscience, but don’t be exhausted by an oversensitive one, that will not forgive you for things done or left undone, even after repentance. Stay in the place where grace is exalted. Let mercy triumph over judgement.
3. Be Confident! Isaiah 30:15 says “in quietness & confidence (trust) is your strength”. Sometimes we need to not give in to the feeling of insecurity. We need to instruct our soul “be confident in God”. Stand a little taller. Smile a little broader. Whisper some good Bible promises to ourselves in our low moments, to posture our lives with godly confidence. God likes it (Heb 11:6).
4. Get your God moments. “Those who wait upon the Lord shall exchange strengths with Him” states Isaiah 40:29. Even Jesus needed His God-moments, disappearing up mountains to find intimate, prayerful, minutes of divine exchange. Where and when are your moments? Plan them. Guard them. God isn’t disappointed in you when you miss prayer – He is disappointed FOR you. You’ve missed a moment that will cause you to be strong, today. And don’t compete with others in prayer – Just find what works for you and stick to it!
5. Be Filled with Power. Ephesians 6:10 “Be strong in the power of His might”. God loves to clothe us in divine energy, authority and ability. Without His divine presence in our lives, we really have nothing to give. To a generation of church goers to whom Pentecost is a distant memory, I would emplore you to become hungry again to be awash with His glory, as was the early church. The result? A small handful of weakling disciples turned the world upside down!
6. Be authentic. God loves you, made you, designed you before the world began. And His power rests most fully on you being you – never you impersonating anyone else. So discover the divine blueprint God has for you and start to be comfortable in the skin you’re in. It brings such strength. Psalm 139 shows us all your days were written before any of them came to be: That means God was an author before He was a Creator. His favourite subject? YOU. Meditate on the joy of being you – and be thankful.
7. Be weak to be strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 makes it clear that our pathway to strength is in weakness. The authentic vulnerability of honesty regarding our weakness, draws God into our lives. Humility is a magnet to grace (He gives grace to the humble), pride a rejection of His help. We don’t revel in sinfulness, but we laugh about our vulnerable inabilities. Then it gives God such glory when we succeed!
Let’s make this year of the STRONG. Weakness is sooo last year.