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The Measure of Real Strength

Psalms, proverbs, and bible stories witness over and over again to the wisdom that none of the elements of the physical world are your strength. Good looks are not your strength. Physical strength is not your strength. Intelligence is not your strength. Social connections are not your strength. Economic status is not your strength. Education is not your strength. Where you went to school is not your strength. Your position at your work is not your strength. According to the Bible, nothing in the world that is normally viewed by the world as strong is your strength. In fact, while all of the above may bring good things to your life, all of them may also become a terrible, achilles heel kind of weakness. Any of them can fall prey to the twistings of temptation, the fear of loss, or the crushing self-centered, soul stealing, image distorting force of pride.

The one thing that truly is your strength, however, is the Lord himself. He is your rock, your fortress, your strength, your deliverer, your shield, your stronghold, and the power of your salvation (Psalm 18:1-2). But this doesn’t mean that God will rescue you from every discomfort or terrible thing in this world. Instead, it means something far more potent than escaping the temporal nature of a corrupted world. Consider David’s praise in Psalm 28:7 where he expresses his strength as a function of total trust in God.

It is this kind of trust in the sheer power, goodness, and reliability of God that empowers three men to stand in a fiery furnace knowing that God may choose not to save them in that moment (Daniel 3:16-18). Their trust in him, and their reverence for him, was so great that they told Nebuchadnezzar that they would not bow down to anyone else but the one true God, even if they had to suffer the furnace. It is this kind of strength that enables all of the great bible heroes and heroines.

That kind of strength is stronger than any worldly element that you can possess or wield. Is your strength in hay, wood, and stubble? Or is it in divine steel, spiritual muscle, and the good God that is in charge of everything?

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