Why do we need to be strong?
“The devil made me do it” was popularized many years ago by comedian Flip Wilson. The truth of the matter is that as a follower of Jesus Christ, the devil did not make you do it. You chose to do it! In the same way, it is apparent to me that many times we give the devil to much credit. It is as if we give him a position of being equal to God. Yet, the truth of the Scripture is very different.
We need to be strong because our enemy is strong.
It is at this point that we need to get our theology straight. While the enemy is strong he is not equal to God.
- God is everywhere present, Satan is not. Satan is a powerful enemy. But, he is limited to one place at a time. He is roaming the earth looking for people to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
- God is all-knowing, Satan is not. There are only three ways in which the devil can gain information about you. One is what he hears and observes personally from you. Secondly, is his demons that he has dispersed as an extension of himself. They report back to him what they hear and observe from you. Lastly, God may give him information. An example of this is Job. God pointed Satan to Job.
- God is all-powerful, Satan is not. The very idea of God is that He is the most powerful being in the universe. Therefore, Satan cannot be as powerful as God. Otherwise, Satan would be God. It is important for us to remember that Satan can only work under the restraint of God. For example, God restricted Satan in what he could do to Job.
We need to be strong because our flesh is weak.
Our flesh is weak because of the presence of sin. Jesus declared that our flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41). Paul understood that his flesh was weak. He acknowledged that he had to discipline his body to bring it into submission (1 Corinthians 9:27).
Be Strong in Christ
Paul gives us two prepositional phrases to identify where our strength comes from. Being in Christ is the first statement.
- Realize who you are in Christ. Throughout this letter to the Ephesians, Paul used phrases like “in Him”, “in Christ”, “in the Lord” because he wants his readers to know who they are in Christ. Paul is calling his readers to live according to the position and possessions we have in Christ. Ephesians 1:3 states that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing. So what are those blessings? Paul identifies them throughout the first three chapters. All of the following are listed in only the first thirteen verses of chapter one!
- You are elect in Christ (Ephesians 1:4)
- You are adopted in Christ into the family of God (Ephesians 1:5)
- You are accepted in Christ (Ephesians 1:6)
- You are redeemed in Christ (Ephesians 1:7)
- You have an inheritance in Christ (Ephesians 1:11)
- You have the Holy Spirit living in you (Ephesians 1:13)
- Realize that you are saved for a purpose. Ephesians 2:4-10 describes this best. You were a walking dead man who was willfully disobedient because of worldly desires. however, once you surrendered your life to Christ you are no longer a dead man walking, you are alive in Christ. You are no longer willfully disobedient to God, you are joyfully obedient to Him. You no longer have worldly desires, you have Godly desires!
Be Strong In The Power of Christ’s Strength
- His power is seen in the Creation of the universe (John 1:3). God created the vast, yet intricate universe by the power of His spoken word out of nothing. This type of power is unequaled in all of the universe. Therefore, if He is powerful enough to speak into existence something out of nothing, isn’t He strong enough to take care of your problems?
- His power is seen in the miracles (John 21:24). Jesus displayed the power He possessed in the miracles. The miracles are the suspension of natural law or the acceleration of natural law to produce the intended result. Jesus alone has the power to control nature. This is good news. He has power over nature. So, there is nothing that Satan may try to do to us physically that Jesus can’t overcome!
- His power is seen in the Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-11). The greatest display of power that the world has ever known is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Death had a hold on Him. The devil thought that he had finally overcome God by putting Christ on the cross. But, on Sunday morning, after two days of silence, the stone was rolled away and Christ came forth alive and victoriously! When you surrender your life to Jesus Christ you experience the miracle of being born again (John 3:1-15). The new birth is made possible by Jesus resurrection from the dead. Just as He was resurrected physically, you are resurrected spiritually! The call upon your life is to walk in that resurrection power!