Monday, July 10, 2017

True Virtue: Strength

According to Webster, strength is defined as: the state or quality of being strong (physically or mentally powerful, healthy, potent, intense), effectiveness, potency, intensity. It is an attribute that shows some form of greatness and influence. Today, strength has been used to describe people who are outside the norm, who take a stand against the flow. But do they really exude true strength or are they merely willful or selfish?

In order for an athlete to show their strength, they must be tested. Their physical strength is proven and evident only when they are required to do something physically demanding. The same is true for mental strength; a genius is only proven to be a genius after succeeding in some great academic endeavor. Strength requires testing. Without testing or exertion there is no strength.

The same is true for strength of morals or character. I have heard women described as strong because they are difficult for their husbands to handle. People are described as strong for being different, being the first to change gender or what-have-you. But those situations really don’t require strength, only a desire to be selfish. Frankly, it is easy to be the kind of wife that is hard for a husband to handle. It does not require self control, sacrifice or love, only a willful desire to serve self above others and be belligerent.

True, godly strength requires doing what is hard, being tested against self and not giving in. To be truly strong one must first strive for godliness. We cannot judge strength against the world’s morals because they are wrong. As we seek, pursue and acquire godly virtues, our strength will be put to the test because our own selfish nature wants its own way. It wants to serve self and do what is easy. But we must persevere and seek godliness in order to gain those virtues. And that requires strength.

Isaiah 40:29 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.

Exodus 15:2 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

 The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation;
This is my God, and I will praise Him;
My father’s God, and I will extol Him.

As with every virtue, strength ultimately comes from God. All other forms of strength are useless and possibly harmful. The Lord is our strength, as repeated many times throughout the Bible, and it is no less true now than it was then.

Luke 10:27 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

We are commanded to love God with all of our strength, or might; with everything we have and all that is within us. God gives us strength and we are to use it for Him. That is the greatest and most important rule that we should live by.

True strength requires standing for what is right, not what we want. It is shown in serving others, not ourselves. It demands following God’s will at all costs, not our own. Being a strong wife means serving one’s husband, submitting to him and loving him above herself. Being a strong citizen means standing up for the rights of others, not of self. Being a strong Christian means pursuing God with everything we have and sacrificing everything for the sake of His will.

Ephesians 6:10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. (emphasis added)

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