Going Through Trials, Here Are Three Ways To Be Strong In The Lord

strength in God
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.” In the Bible, strength is mentioned by Paul. He 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).
1. To be strong in the Lord, you must be in the Lord.
I won’t belabor the point, but I need to say that Paul’s command to be strong in the Lord rests on his first two chapters, where he makes it clear what it means to be in the Lord. To sum up his treatment, he wrote (2:8-9), “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” To be in the Lord means that He has saved you from God’s judgment by His grace alone through faith in Christ alone. Salvation is not based on anything that you have done or deserved. As we have seen, one of Paul’s frequent expressions in Ephesians is the phrase, “in Christ,” or “in Him” (1:3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 13). You cannot begin to understand what it means to be strong in the Lord unless you truly are in the Lord through saving faith in Jesus Christ.
2. To be strong in the Lord, you must know your own weakness.
This is a continual, lifelong process that begins at salvation. We cannot trust completely in Christ to save us until we come to some awareness that we are helplessly, hopelessly lost and unable to save ourselves by our own good works. As Spurgeon put it, we must see that we are convicted and condemned, with the rope around our neck, before we will weep for joy when Christ pardons us (C. H. Spurgeon Autobiography [Banner of Truth], 1:54).
But then we must go on to grow to know practically our own weakness so that we take refuge in the Lord’s strength. Jesus taught this by using the analogy of the branches abiding in the vine, and said (John 15:5b), “for apart from Me you can do nothing.” Peter needed to learn this lesson. He boasted that although everyone else would desert Christ, he would remain true. But the Lord allowed Peter to go through his terrible denials so that he might not trust in himself, but in Christ alone. The apostle Paul had an amazing experience of being caught up into heaven itself. Because of this, to keep Paul from exalting himself, the Lord sent a messenger of Satan to torment him. The lesson that Paul learned was (2 Cor. 12:10b), “for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Our pride blinds us to our true condition. It makes us think that we have some measure of strength in ourselves. Pride makes us think that the longer we are Christians, the stronger we become. But we never become stronger in ourselves. In reality, the strong Christian is one who has come to see more and more of his own weakness and propensity towards sin. That awareness drives him to depend all the more on the Lord’s strength. To be strong in the Lord, you must know your own weakness.
3. To be strong in the Lord, you must know the Lord’s strength.
Satan is a powerful foe, but he is only a created being, whereas God is the eternal, almighty Creator of the universe. If the Lord so willed, He could annihilate Satan in an instant. He has already defeated him at the cross and resurrection of Jesus (Col. 2:15). In His perfect timing and plan, He will throw Satan into the Lake of Fire, where he will be tormented forever and ever (Rev. 20:10).
From start to finish, the Bible proclaims the mighty power of God. He spoke the heavens and earth into existence out of nothing. He delivered His people from Pharaoh’s clutches through the miraculous plagues and the parting of the Red Sea. He sustained them in one of the world’s harshest environments through the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night, where He provided daily manna and water from the rock. When fierce enemies threatened to annihilate His chosen people, time and again the Lord provided deliverance. In one of the most dramatic instances, Sennacherib’s army had Jerusalem surrounded. It looked like Israel was doomed. But in response to Hezekiah’s prayer, the Lord sent His angel who killed 185,000 enemy troops in one night (2 Kings 19:35).
Often throughout Scripture, the Lord reminds His people of the obvious, that nothing is too difficult for Him (Gen. 18:14; Jer. 32:17, 27; Zech. 8:6; Matt. 19:26; Luke 1:37; Rom. 4:21). Paul has already spoken of God’s great power towards us, as seen in His raising Jesus from the dead and enthroning Him at His right hand (Eph. 1:19-20). Paul has prayed that we would know the power of the Holy Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ might dwell in our hearts through faith (Eph. 3:17). Proverbs 18:10 declares, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.” To be strong in the Lord, you must know His strength in a practical way, because you have repeatedly taken refuge in Him and seen His great deliverance in your life.
So to be strong in the Lord, you must be in the Lord through faith in Jesus Christ. You must know your own weakness and you must know His mighty strength. Then Paul adds,