Question: "What does the Bible say about strength?"
Answer: The word strength and its derivatives are mentioned over 360 times in the Bible, applying to both natural and supernatural strength. The Greek word katei means “power, strength, might.” Paul tells us to “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power” (Ephesians 6:10). Paul is telling us that the unlimited power and strength of Christ are the source of strength for those who belong to Him.
As Christians, we are to be strong in the mighty power of God. This means that our strength is not our own; it is not human or fleshly. Our strength is not of the world, but our strength is found in Christ—in our having a vibrant, dynamic relationship with Him. As Paul tells us in Philippians, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). In other words, there is no other source that gives man the strength to overcome the world with its trials, its temptations, and death. It is through submission to God’s strength that we overcome the power of Satan: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). It is by first aligning ourselves with the strength of God through our total submission to Him that we are able to withstand the wiles of the evil one: “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-11).
Bound up in the idea of finite man relying on the strength of God to overcome, to press on and to persevere, is the reality that man can in no way save himself. Only God does that. Paul makes this abundantly clear in his letter to the Ephesians: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). These two verses are the most forceful summary of the dynamics of salvation found anywhere in the Bible. They help us to understand the contrast of man’s total helplessness with that of God’s insuperable strength.
It is a gross fallacy to believe that in our own strength we can save ourselves. The Bible makes it clear that we’re not saved by our works, by our own volition, or by the number of good things we do. But the chief reason that our salvation is not by our strength, but from God, is the utter sinfulness of man as compared with the transcending standard of the righteousness and excellence of God. It is essentially a contrast which we cannot comprehend. God’s righteousness is beyond us. His is radical.
God has taken upon Himself the responsibility for our salvation because only He has the strength to do so. He has promised to reveal to the world His power and His might. This is what happens whenever the Spirit of God comes into the heart of a sinner. When we finally come to acknowledge Him as our Savior and admit our total helplessness and dependency upon Him, then will we come to know of His strength, His power, and His might.
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