WHY DO BELIEVERS IN CHRIST NEED TO BE STRONG?
In the third chapter of Ephesians, Paul prayed inner strength for the Gentiles (non-Jews) who had become believers in Christ. Paul, who was appointed as an apostle of Jesus Christ, knew all too well that inner strength was vital for Christians. During this era, men, like Paul, faced much persecution. Paul detailed some of his suffering in II Corinthians 11:23-27 (New Living Translation):
“23 Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served Him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. 24 Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. 26 I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. 27 I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.”
Today, most specifically here in the United States, we, as believers, are not threatened with physical persecution, like the apostle Paul. Nevertheless, we are persecuted. For instance, perhaps you have endured lies, ridicule, and, even, rejection for believing in Jesus. Whatever the case may be, through it all, you must be strong!
HOW DO BELIEVERS WITHSTAND OPPOSING VIEWS?
Besides persecution, we need inner strength to withstand the opposing views of non-believers:
Jesus isn’t real!
Jesus isn’t the Son of God!
Jesus isn’t God!
Jesus was only a prophet!
Jesus didn’t die for our sins!
Jesus didn’t rise from the dead!
If you’re not strong in your faith, you can be easily led astray by those who don’t follow Christ. Therefore, you have to be strengthened daily through prayer, worship, and God’s Word. You will then know how to “[cast] down imaginations, and every high thing that [exalts] itself against the knowledge of God, and [bring] into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,” (II Corinthians 10:5, King James Version). In other words, in time we learn how to dismiss words of doubt from naysayers with God’s Word, just as Jesus did when He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness (Matthew 4, Mark 1, Luke 4).
WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT FOR BELIEVERS?
As Paul prayed inner strength for the Gentile believers, he said in Ephesians 3:16-17, NLT):
“I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.”
Once we invite Jesus Christ to live in our hearts, through our faith in Him—believing He died for our sins and rose from the dead—we should also invite the Holy Spirit to fill us. At our church Power and Faith Ministries in Fairifield, Ohio, while we believe in accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, we also believe in being filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues, as the believers did on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.
Each time we pray in our heavenly language (as we also like to call it since it comes from God), our spirits are strengthened.
In Ephesians 3:18-19 (NLT) Paul then said:
“18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”
Overtime, we recognize more and more just how great God’s love is, and His love becomes strong in us.
WHY IS LOVE SO IMPORTANT IN THE BODY OF CHRIST?
Love is important in the body of Christ because GOD IS LOVE (I John 4:16). Since God is love, His love strengthens us. Please recognize that it’s GOD’S love we need, not worldly love. What do I mean? Worldly love is conditional, which says, “I love you IF…” On the other hand, the love of God says, “I love you IN SPITE OF….”
If we’re full of GOD, then we’re full of LOVE; if we’re full of LOVE, then we’re full of GOD, thereby being strengthened.
When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment by some of the Pharisees or religious leaders in Matthew 22:37b-40 (KJV), He replied:
“37…..Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
When we’re full of love—GOD—we won’t do anything to hurt God and each other.
DO WE LOVE AUTOMATICALLY?
Once we are saved, do we possess unconditional love automatically? No, not necessarily. Thus, we must follow the example of Jesus which is displayed so vividly in the Bible. What was His biggest demonstration of love? Absolutely! His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection! Naturally, we are not expected to follow in His footsteps and sacrifice our lives for all mankind on a rugged cross. Nevertheless, we can show the love of God in other ways. Just as Jesus exemplified, while He lived as a man here on Earth, we can love through our kindness, encouragement, helping hand, generosity, and selfless prayers. In a nutshell, we must CHOOSE to love!
A RECIPE FOR INNER STRENGTH
Again, how do we gain inner strength, so we may be able to stand up against persecution, the views of non-believers, and sin?
- Repent of our sins and receive Jesus into our hearts as Savior and Lord
- Be filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues
- Spend time praying to and worshiping God
- Study and obey the Scriptures
- Walk in God’s love
THE PRAYER OF SALVATION
If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you can do so right now. I then encourage you to find a good Bible-believing church that will help you grow in your relationship with the Lord.
Romans 10:9 (New International Version) says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Please pray the following prayer:
Dear Jesus, I come to You confessing I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I believe You shed Your blood on the cross and died for my sins, were buried and rose again so I could be free! Please forgive me for my sins and the life I have lived. I confess You Jesus as Lord and accept You as my own personal Savior. According to the Word of God, I am now saved! Hallelujah! I AM FREE!
WELCOME TO THE FAMILY OF GOD!!!!!
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