“Now all glory to God, who is able to make your strong, just as my Good News says.” (Romans 16:25a NLT)
There have been times in my life as a believer that I was so burdened by my inability to be strong enough, in the sense of being able to keep my focus on Jesus, and my thoughts and motives pure, that I literally didn’t know what to do. I’ve begged God to help me but was still unable to see any significant change.
The word that Paul uses in the above verse that is translated “make you strong” is from the Greek word “sterizo.” I don’t know with certainty, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it’s the word from which comes our word for “steroids.” I’ve taken prescribed steroids, and I can’t be sure I got stronger, except for my appetite.
The Holy Spirit has many roles in our lives as Jesus followers, one of which is to give us strength/power. I do know that the word in the above verse that is translated “able” is the Greek word “dunamai,” from which comes our English word “dynamite.” What’s my point? God is very capable of making us stronger.
It’s like Paul is reinforcing the fact that God has all power to do whatever He chooses to do, whenever He chooses to do it. Of course, the kicker for us is – “then why doesn’t He do something more quickly when I pray?” That’s a good and legitimate question. Thanks for asking 😊.
In John 11 we find the story of a man named Lazarus. He’s the brother of Mary and Martha who were Jesus’ close friends. You’d think when Jesus got word that His good friend Lazarus was sick, He’d go right away to check on him. But John 11:5 says: “So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, He stayed where He was for the next two days.”
Of course, Jesus later raised Lazarus from the dead, and He will do the same for those of us who love and trust Him. But in our journey to strength and endurance as God’s child, there are some things we need to understand. First, God is not our spiritual “Genie.” We don’t “rub” the proverbial “prayer lamp” and expect God to come immediately to do our bidding. He works on His time, which is always perfect, not on ours.
Additionally, as Pastor Rick Warren is fond of saying: “God never wastes a problem.” Strength and spiritual power come incrementally, not all at once. In much the same way as we build muscle in our body over time, God grows our heart muscles as we learn to trust Him. And when do we tend to need Him most? In difficult seasons! So, that’s when our strength and power are developed most effectively.
We may not always realize it, but God is developing and building our strong foundation in Him. The word translated “make you strong,” implies a period of time, not unlike the time it takes to pour the foundation of a large building. It means “to make stable, to place firmly, to set fast, to make firm, to render constant.”
It takes time to lay a foundation and it takes time for the concrete to dry before it’s fully useable. While God is our firm foundation, we come to Him as spiritual “infants” when we’re born again. It takes time for us to grow and develop our spiritual “muscles,” but once we begin to form godly habits like reading, studying, and memorizing God’s Word; when prayer becomes our constant companion; when worship, gratitude, and praise become our reflex actions in and through our daily activities; we’re going to see in increasing measure, our hearts, minds, spirits, and body, fall in step with the activity of God’s Spirit in and on our behalf.
My sense is, you’re probably a lot stronger than you realize.
Blessings, Ed 😊