Have you ever run a marathon – and finished first? Those who do rejoice greatly, like a strong man to run his race, as we read in Psalm 19:5 Oh, there is much joy and satisfaction in moral and physical strength, but the man that is perfect in physical strength depends on many things: nourishing food to replenish and build up the power of sinews and muscles; sufficient sleep and a carefully constructed workout, to maintain peak fitness – and how we love to look fit and sleek and how we love to confidently complete the race, and how we wish we were even fitter, fleeter, and faster!
God’s Eternal Strength
The Psalms abound with references to strength and do we not rejoice with Joshua who cried, Be strong and of good courage … Be strong and very courageous, have I not commanded you – be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Yet in his wisdom, Paul admonishes us that:- bodily “exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things. 1 Timothy 4:8 And in the leading of the Spirit, he again reminds us – My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in your weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Oh my! What a total paradox – what a contradiction – what an oxymoron. And soon we discover that the references to strength are not quite what they seem. In Revelation, we read: Now is come salvation and strength… the power of His Christ has come Revelation 12:10 while in Joshua we read: Be strong and very courageous, for the LORD your God is with you. Oh yes, we are reminded that – God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness.
The power of every David and Deborah – the strength of every Samson and Joshua, is all and only and fully and completely dependent on the strength of the Lord – not on their own strength. The sweet Psalmist of Israel reminds us that God is our strength, and in Psalm 28:8 we read: The LORD is their strength, and He is the saving refuge of His anointed, while Nehemiah rejoices to remind us that.. the joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10
God’s Strength Made Perfect
It is not the brawn of the mighty man nor the speed of the marathon runner, that is the thing that we should desire to develop.. the discipline we chase after – but God’s strength is perfected in and through me. His strength and power is being demonstrated through my weakness and helplessness. The fit and healthy athlete is a physical picture of our spiritual endeavour. And as we run this earthly race, we need to obtain a prize; and as we live in the spot where God has placed us, we must be spiritually disciplined.
Man’s Weakness Made Strong
It is utter dependence and total trust in Him that God desires from you and me – for He desires that it is HIM and not our own strength that is our supply and our stay. And the widow’s mite is an economic picture of His strength being made perfect in me. She has nothing – so that He could provide everything. But this is one of the most difficult lessons for any Christian to learn, for we thrive on independence and feel all the responsibility is on our head. But only as we submit to His training and instruction, will His strength be made perfect in our weakness.
The spiritual muscle and might that He desires to be built up in our hearts..is love, joy, patient endurance, gentleness and goodness, meekness and mercy.
Run the straight race through God’s good grace,
Lift up thine eyes, and seek His face;
Life with its way before us lies,
Christ is the Path, and Christ the Prize.
Cast care aside, upon thy Guide,
His boundless mercy will provide;
Lean, and the trusting soul shall prove
Christ is its Life, and Christ its Love.
Faint not nor fear, His arms are near,
He changes not, and thou art dear.
Only believe, and thou shalt see
That Christ is all in all to thee.
10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
9 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
8 For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
8 The Lord is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.
10 Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
4 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.
7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.