A Tower Of Strength

 

A Christian Should be a Tower of Strength

 

Do you believe that?  I do.  I believe that God intends for Christians, to be the strongest people on earth.  God doesn’t want us to be overcome by the world, He want US to overcome the WORLD!   God didn’t give the world dominion over us, He gave US dominion over the world!   That means that God intends for us, to be a tower of strength, in every situation that we face.

You’ve heard the saying, that “attitude affects altitude” haven’t you?  Well, here’s an attitude that God wants us to have;  “I can do all things in Him, who strengthens me!”   Philippians 4:13.   Of course the “Him” there, is Christ.   In CHRIST, I can do all things, because it’s CHRIST that gives us the strength to DO all things!  That attitude is going to take you higher, and farther, and make you stronger, than you could ever be, outside of Christ.

I believe that a Christian should exemplify strength, even in the face of adversity.  Isn’t that one of the blessings connected with being a Christian?  The ability to be strong, in the face of adversity!   “We KNOW that God causes all things to work for good, to those who love God, who are the called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28.

And we also know, that..  “No temptation has overtaken you, but such as is common to man.  And God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.  But with the temptation, will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.”   1 Corinthians 10:13.  

And what is that “way of escape” that God provides?  It’s NOT a specific verse of scripture, although there may well be some particular verse that seems to fit with a certain trial you’re going through.  No, the “way of escape” is more than that.  The “way of escape” that God provides is your FAITH !

That verse from  1 Corinthians,  is talking about enduring temptations.  “..But with the temptation, will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to ENDURE it.”   God is not talking about removing the temptation, or removing the trial that we’re facing, so that we don’t have to face it.  He’s talking about providing for us, a way of being strong enough, so that we can ENDURE the trial or temptation, as long as it may last, and to not sin, while that temptation or trial goes on.

We’re not escaping the trial, but rather, we’re escaping any SIN that might be the result of the ordeal.  And the way by which we escape sinning, is through our faith, which God supplies.  “Faith comes by hearing the word of God!”  Romans 10:17.   And therefore, the way that we remain strong, throughout ANY trial, is through our faith.  

When we overcome a trial or a temptation, we are overcoming the world.   And  1 John 5, verse 4,  makes it very clear how we overcome the world.  John says;  “..And this is the victory that overcomes the world..  Our Faith!”

So then, your faith is what overcomes the world;  And your faith is what enables you to not sin;  And your faith is what enables you to endure any trial that comes upon you;  And your faith is what gives you the strength that you need, to do all things in Christ!

Faith is power, isn’t it?  It must be, if it can overcome the world.  Ephesians 2, verse 8  tells us;  “For by grace you have been saved, through faith..”  So your faith is an integral part of what saves you.  When we face trials, and troubles, that’s not when our faith shuts down, that’s when our faith kicks in!

Jesus said, in  2 Corinthians 12, verse 9;  “..For power is perfected in weakness.”  Our faith is POWER;  It’s power from God to do what we otherwise wouldn’t be able to do.   That’s exactly why Jesus said; “power is perfected in weakness”,  because it’s in our times of weakness, that the power of our faith, kicks-in, and takes over. 

Sometimes we’re faced with difficulties;  And we pray to God, for Him to take the difficulties away. But many times He doesn’t.  God leaves the difficulties in place, and we’re forced to endure them.  But even though God doesn’t take the difficulties away, along with them, He has given us the power to deal with them.  And that power is our faith.

In that  12th chapter of 2 Corinthians,  the apostle Paul had said in  verse 7,  that he had been given “a thorn in the flesh”, that he was forced to deal with.  And Paul did just like we do, he prayed to God, that God would take away that “thorn”.  It was a physical ailment of some sort.  That “thorn” so to speak, was “in the flesh”.   And Paul says in  verse 8;  “Concerning this, I entreated the Lord, three times, that it might depart from me.”  And that’s when Jesus replied, and said;  “My grace is sufficient for you.  For power is perfected in weakness.”  

In other words, Jesus is telling us;  I’m not always going to take away your difficulties.  But I have given you the power to deal with them.  I have given you your faith, through My word.  And Jesus is saying;  That the faith that I have given you, will give you the strength to do ALL things, in Me.

God says;  “I WILL NOT, allow you to be tempted beyond that which you are able to bear!”  And;  “I WILL cause all things to work together for good to you, if you love Me!”

We as Christians are not weak!  We are strong!  We are the strongest people alive.  And God want us to show the world how strong we are, by enduring all things.  Do you love God?  1 Corinthians 13, verse 7  says;  “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and ENDURES all things.”  

God doesn’t want us to suffer, He wants us to endure.  There’s a difference!  When you suffer, it’s a fight!  It’s you fighting against the things of this world, and a lot of times, it’s you fighting against things that we can’t change.  But when you endure, you accept; There is no fighting.  Instead, there’s an acceptance of the way things are, because your faith has given you the STRENGTH to accept them, knowing, that some things cannot be changed.  At least they cannot be changed by us.  If we’ve asked God to change things, and He has chosen not to, then we accept them, and allow our faith to carry us through, knowing, that God knows best.

Think about your faith, as something that you have to USE, to conform to God’s will, and to accomplish God’s will.  Let’s use the example of Jesus here;  Jesus once prayed a very short prayer, but it’s one that we ourselves could very well pray when we’re faced with life’s burdens.  Jesus prayed in  Luke 22, verse 42;  “Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me.”  

Don’t we pray exactly that, many times in our lives?  We face some trial, or some temptation..  Some very difficult situation in life, and we go to God and say;  Father, if it’s possible, and if it’s within your will, would you relieve me of this trial, and of this burden that I have to bear.  And then we have to wait on God, to see if He’ll remove the cup from us.  The apostle Paul asked three times, but it wasn’t God’s will to remove Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”.   But God said that His grace was sufficient.  In other words;  God had given Paul enough faith to endure.

And when Jesus prayed;  “Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me”, it wasn’t God’s will to remove that cup either.  Jesus had to endure what He was facing.  But Jesus had the greatest faith of anyone, and so He was able to endure, even death on the cross.

We’ve sure got a lot to be thankful for don’t we?  Aren’t you thankful that we don’t have to endure death on a cross?  That Jesus has done it for us!  But we’ve still got to endure, don’t we?  “But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved.”  That’s what Jesus said in  Mathew 24, verse 13.  

God has given us our faith, so that we are strong enough to endure to the end, and be saved.  What if we feel like we can’t endure, like we can’t cope any longer?  That’s when our faith has to kick in.  “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  That’s when we have to go back to the bible, back to God’s word, and to His promises.  God “has granted to us everything that pertains to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.”  2 Peter 1, verse 3.

“I’ll never leave you nor forsake you.”  That’s what God says in  Hebrews 13, verse 5.   He never says it’ll be easy, but He promises, I’m here, and I’ll always be here. 

 

You know, sometimes just thinking about heaven, is all it takes to re-energize us.  Sometimes we’re just worn down by the world, and we just need to take a few minutes out and relax, and re-organize, and think about heaven.  Kind of like a “time out”.  I think we should take a “time out” right now, and think about the words to a very beautiful song, called “Sing To Me Of Heaven”.

As you read these words, let them relax you, and give you encouragement.

“Song to me of heaven, sing that song of peace.  From the toils that bind me, it will bring release.  Burdens will be lifted, that are pressing so, showers of great blessing, o’er my heart will flow.”  

“Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream, of it’s golden glory, of it’s pearly gleam.  Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall, sing to me of heaven, sweetest song of all.”  

 

 

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What do you think that God wants the world to see, when it looks at a Christian?  Doesn’t God want the world to see Christ, in every Christian?  Paul said in  Galatians 2, verse 20;  “..It is no longer I who lives, but Christ lives in me.  And the life I live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”  

That’s what God wants the world to see in all Christians, He wants the world to see Christ.  When you look at Christ, what do you see?   You see love, don’t you?  And you see compassion, and forgiveness, and humility.  But you also see strength!  You see a “tower of strength”.   And when the world looks at a Christian, that’s what God wants the world to see.  And He wants the world to say;  “That’s what I want for myself!  I want to be that strong!  I want to be so strong, that I can be humble, and kind, and loving, and forgiving, and compassionate, but yet not feel any weakness at all.

 

What do you think was the greatest trial that Jesus had to endure?  I think it was His crucifixion.  Do you think Jesus faced His crucifixion with faith and strength?  I do..  I think the bible indicates that Jesus faced it with great strength.  Remember how I mentioned that Jesus prayed, and said;  “Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me.”  Well, asking God to help you doesn’t mean you’re weak.  Do you remember what Jesus said immediately after that?  Jesus said;  “Yet not My will, but Thine be done.”  

Now, that takes a lot of strength!  Think about it.  Suppose you KNEW, that you were going to face the kind of ordeal that Jesus knew He was going to face.  You might pray, “Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup..”  But in reality, you know that God’s not going to remove it.  You know that’s not God’s will.  And so, knowing that fact, you say;  “..Not my will, but Thine be done.”  In other words, Father, I’ll do whatever you say I need to do.  That takes strength!

Sometimes we feel a lot of anxiety over the trials and stress that life brings.  I know that just recently, several families, of this congregation have suffered things that have brought about a lot of anxiety.  There’s been untimely deaths, and there’s been accidents, and there’s sickness.  And at some time or another, we’ll all be affected by those things.  And when they happen, we’re hurt, and we’re truly burdened, and sometimes we even feel overwhelmed.  But you know what?  When we feel like that, that doesn’t mean we’re not strong, it just means that we’re a lot like Christ was.

You want to know how overwhelmed Jesus felt?  Jesus had just prayed to His Father..  “If it’s possible, remove this cup”.  But He knew in His heart it wasn’t possible.  And so He says,  “Alright, not My will, but Thy will be done.”  And then it says in  Luke 22, verses 43 & 44;  “Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him.  And being in agony, He was praying very fervently, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling down upon the ground.”  

Have you ever felt such stress, and been in such fervent prayer, that you began to sweat, and your sweat became like drops of blood?   What happened when Jesus felt like that?  An angel of heaven came and strengthened Him.  When we feel overwhelmed, will an angel of heaven not strengthen us?  “Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?”   Hebrews 1:14.  

I’m not sure just how angels minister to us, but I think we can be sure, that somehow, they strengthen us.  They came and strengthened Jesus in the garden.  And after Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, we’re told in  Mathew 4, verse 11;  “Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.”  

We’re told in  Philippians 2, verse 8,  that Jesus, was  “found in appearance as a man”.   And angels came and ministered to that man.  And if angels ministered to Jesus, they will minister to us.  It’s that simple.

I could be, that angels may have already come and strengthened us.  But if we don’t put our strength to use, we’ll never know how strong we’ve become.

 

“I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.”   But you can’t do all things, if you’re not in Him.

If you haven’t heard His words, and if you haven’t repented of your sins, and if you haven’t been wiling to confess your faith in Christ, then you need to do so.  And if you’ve done all those things, but you haven’t been baptized for the forgiveness of your sins, then you need to do that.   Galatians 3:27  says;  “For all of you who were baptized INTO Christ, have put on Christ.”  

It doesn’t matter how strongly a person thinks he believes, if you haven’t been baptized into Christ, you’re not “in Him”.

And if you are in Him, then may you continue faithful unto death, and be the tower of strength that Jesus was.   The tower of strength that God wants the world to see.

 

 

 

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This article has 5 Comments

  1. Jim, this is a great post and as we have discussed before, this set me out to do some thoughtful studying and I came up with a post of my own. I include it here in the reply to your post. Thanks for making do additional thinking. The below is how Catholics teach about suffering.
    Why is there suffering? Why does God allow suffering?

    There is one person who stands out above all to give an answer to these deepest of questions, namely St. Paul. In St. Paul’s writings we find a greatly developed meaning of suffering. Pope John Paul II explains why St. Paul writes so much on suffering: “The Apostle shares his own discovery and rejoices in it because of all those whom it can help – just as it helped him – to understand the salvific meaning of suffering” (Salvifici Doloris, 1).
    Paul understands that the suffering he endures serves as a way to be like Christ, as well as it being for Christ’s sake. Paul says: “Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God depends on faith; that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his suffering, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:8-11)
    This passage follows a text where Paul speaks about all he had gained according to the flesh, being a Hebrew and a Pharisee. However, he now considers this gain to be loss and refuse, compared to gaining Christ through his sufferings. He gains righteousness not through his own power but through Christ’s.
    Suffering is a participation in the mystery of Christ and is the way Paul can become like Christ. Suffering is his way of “becoming like him (Christ) in his death” so that he “may attain the resurrection from the dead” (Philippians 3:10-11). Through his suffering, Paul sees himself as participating in the Passion of Christ. Because we are being saved through the death and resurrection of Christ we must participate in his Passion to obtain salvation.
    We see elsewhere in Philippians this notion of imitating Christ being gain for Paul, whether in death or life. He says: “For I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I shall not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (1:19-21).
    For Paul to live is gain because while he suffers in this life he is imitating Christ and becoming more Christ-like. Further, to live is gain because while Paul lives he can spread the faith and be an example for the Christian community. He says, “But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.” (Philippians 1:24) Also, to die is gain because if he were to die he would share in the resurrection of Christ. So whether he lives and suffers, leading to the resurrection for himself and others, or dies and shares in the resurrection himself alone, he will be united to Christ and be an example for all.
    Another dimension of Paul’s thought on the meaning of suffering is his conception of suffering as a means for sanctification, keeping pride at a minimum and trust in God at a maximum. He says: “And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’…For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
    It is in weakness that we are more apt to trust in Christ because we realize that what we accomplish is not of our own doing, but the grace of Christ is working in us. Furthermore, it is in our weakness and suffering that we grow in humility and cannot pride ourselves in our accomplishments. We suffer “to make us rely, not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” (2 Corinthians 1:9)
    We see in these verses of 2 Corinthians 12 that this suffering is once again “for the sake of Christ.” It is through grace that Paul can be content with suffering. We receive here an insight into the effectiveness of grace. Grace helps us to participate in the salvific act of suffering and to be content with it.
    This is why Paul can say in his letter to the Galatians that “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me…who loved me and gave himself up for me.” (2:20) Christ gave himself up for us in the salvific act of his Passion and death; Paul sees himself doing the same in participating in the Passion and death of Christ. Christ lives in him when he is “crucified with Christ.” John Paul II notes that “Christ also becomes in a particular way united to the man, Paul, through the cross” (SD, 20).
    Paul reveals to us the paradox of the cross. To be crucified usually means death, but for Paul it means Christ living in him. In suffering, when united to Christ, death now means life. This is why he says in 1 Corinthians: “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1:18)..
    There is this intimate bond between the cross, the epitome of the sufferings of Christ, and the suffering of the people which is a participation in the self-same cross. Thus participation in the cross through suffering is a way of obtaining grace, the power of God to participate in salvation. This is also why Paul can say elsewhere in Galatians: “Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world…Henceforth let no man trouble me, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus” (6:14, 17).

    https://howcatholicslive.com/how-catholics-live-true-meaning-of-suffering

    1. Bob, I thank you for a powerful, bible-based, illustration of the value of suffering. This is a great addition to my article, “A Tower Of strength”. Along with Jesus the Christ, the apostle Paul is the epitome of great faith, in the face of suffering. This is exactly the type of life-lessons that we need to bring to the world, so that the world may seek the salvation that is in Christ. Amen!

    2. One more thing I’d like to say about your reply to my post. Though we have differing interpretations, and thus beliefs, on some other bible subjects, our shared views on the bible’s teaching concerning suffering, and faithful endurance in the face of that suffering, is a powerful example of how Christ can, and does, bring us together in Him.

  2. Faith in Christ is a great strength.
    God answers our prayers by sending Angeles to strengthen us.
    Jesus is the strength of tower in our faith.
    Thanks for your strengthening article,

    1. Thank you Adam. It’s always good to hear from you. I really wanted to try to encourage several of our members who have had struggles recently, and of course brother Doug. I delivered this lesson last Sunday morning, and I think it was appreciated. May we always remember that our strength lies in our faith in Jesus. God be with you.

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