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FIRST-PERSON: Strength training

EL CAJON, Calif. (BP)–In the late 1880s, you would have been astounded to see a small Canadian man lift a platform holding 18 men and weighing 4,337 pounds. Louis Cyr became known as the strongest man in North America and Europe. Strongmen spend their lives conditioning their bodies, so their strength shouldn’t surprise us.

What should surprise us is the strength of a different kind of strongman who never worked out with weights. Yet, he fasted and fought the devil and won in the desert. And after 40 days, power like the world had never seen exploded from Him: “Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit … and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region” (Luke 4:14).

News spread so fast because Jesus was “healing all kinds of sickness … torments … demon-possessed” (Matthew 4:23-24) with “the power of the Spirit,” the same Holy Spirit who lives in each and every Christian today.

The gift of God is for us to live with a power greater than that of human strongmen. No believer in Christ should be a spiritual “90-pound weakling.” Christians need to flex the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the Christian’s “muscle” waiting to be flexed, exercised and employed in every moment of the believer’s life. Scripture shows us that “the power of the Spirit” is the strength behind God’s strongmen and strongwomen through the ages:

— Micah the prophet was “full of power by the Spirit of the Lord, and of justice and might” (Micah 3:8).

— Mary was overshadowed by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35).

— The disciples turned the world upside down after being told, “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8).

— God anointed Jesus “with the Holy Spirit and with power” (Acts 10:38).

— Paul performed “mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God” (Romans 15:19).

You may think, “The Holy Spirit would never give me that kind of power and strength. Who am I?” Who you are is exactly the point: a person indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. In fact, if you do not have the Holy Spirit within you, you are not a Christian to begin with (Romans 8:9-11). But if you are a believer, you have the strength of God in you just waiting to be made manifest in your life.

Your battles are no less serious than the battles fought and won by Scripture’s strongmen. Your need for power and strength is the same: “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10).

Bodybuilders strengthen the muscles in their bodies. But what about spiritual muscles? You become stronger spiritually as you allow the Holy Spirit more control in your life. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). If your heart, soul and mind “muscles” are strong, then you will be strong.

You can love God with your mind by thinking on pure and praiseworthy things (Philippians 4:8); with your soul by obedience (Psalm 119:167); with your heart by keeping it pure (Matthew 12:35; 1 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:22). When you love God with all your mind, soul and heart, you will also love Him with all your strength — which will no longer be your strength but His.

You don’t have to lift 18 men to demonstrate the power of the Spirit. The only requirement is to acknowledge your own weakness, “for [His] strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

God stands ready to grant you His strength through the Holy Spirit. But, you must seek it (1 Chronicles 16:11). The greater your faith, the faster fear is replaced by strength (Psalm 27:1; 2 Timothy 1:7). Strength takes time and courage (Psalm 27:14; 31:24). But….

“Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength…mount up with wings like eagles…run and not be weary … walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). So “mount up with wings like eagles” because God’s “righteous right hand” upholds you (Isaiah 41:10).
David Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point ministries, senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif., and chancellor of Christian Heritage College. For more information on Turning Point, go to www.TurningPointOnline.org.

    About the Author

  • David Jeremiah

    David Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, Calif. For more information on Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org.

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