The times we’re living in presently, can validly be called the end-times. The apostle Paul described those times, in 2 Timothy 3:1 (AMP) as, “perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear].” There’s therefore no time like now, that we would need to develop inner strength! We must understand that this isn’t about brute force or having a strong will, but having a strong spirit. A strong spirit would, however, impact every other aspect of our lives. For instance, a believer who has developed a strong spirit, will also be strong in their will and emotions! Hence Paul prayed for the Ephesians, to be empowered by God, with inner strength through His Spirit (Eph. 3:14-16 NLT). We must also make it a point of utmost necessity, to pray the same for ourselves regularly.
Let’s now look at some reasons why we should develop inner strength:
- To rise above challenges:
“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles,” (Isaiah 40:31a). To mount up also means to soar; which is “to go above normal level or to coast through the air.”
It isn’t God’s will or plan, for His people to be overwhelmed or subdued by challenges; but to always be on top of them. The Bible says, “You shall laugh at destruction and famine, (Job 5:22a); and “When they make [you] low, you will say, [There is] a lifting up;” (Job 22:29a AMPC).
- For endurance:
“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength …. they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31).
The race we’ve been called to participate in, as Christians, requires endurance; because it is a lifelong race! We are told to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith; who endured the cross and such hostility from sinners (Hebrews 12:1-3). Jesus said it is those who endure to the end that shall be saved (Matthew 24:13)!
We need endurance when our faith is being tried and tested; so that our trials can produce the best in us and accomplish the best for us (James 1:2-4)!
When we don’t see immediate answers to our prayers; endurance is needed to stay on course, so we may receive, in the end, what God has promised us (Hebrews 10:36). According to the Message Bible, “But you need to stick it out, staying with God’s plan so you’ll be there for the promised completion.” Abraham obtained the promise, “after he had patiently endured.” (Hebrews 6:15).
Jesus told a parable to the effect that people ought to pray, and not faint or lose heart or give up (Luke 18:1). After Elijah declared, “there is the sound of abundance of rain,” he
persisted in prayer until the cloud appeared (1 Kings 18:41-44)!
iii. To overcome adversity:
It has been said, “tough times don’t last, but tough people do!” This is very much in line with the scriptures; “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” (Prov. 24:10). Times of adversity or crisis might not be avoidable, but you can avoid falling into pieces. According to the Message Bible, “If you fall to pieces in a crisis, there wasn’t much to you in the first place.” Also, it doesn’t matter how many times you fall, as long as you get up again- “for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,” (Prov. 24:16a NIV).
We need inner strength, not only to withstand in the evil times; but also to remain standing when it’s all over (Eph. 6:13)! The Amplified Bible says, “and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].” The times of sickness, is an example of evil or adverse times; and we’re told, “The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness,” (Proverbs 18:14). We must remember that God made man in His image and after His likeness (Gen. 1:27); and since God is Spirit (John 4:24), man is also a spirit! Man is not a mind or a physical body; though he has a mind and a body. Proverbs 18:14 clearly separates the spirit from the body; the NLT says, “The human spirit can endure a sick body,”. There has been instances where doctors had given up on a sick patient, only for them to survive the sickness- owing to a strong spirit. It takes more than ‘will power’ to conquer adversity; you need a healthy spirit! Therefore, we mustn’t develop our minds and our bodies, at expense of our spirit.
iv. To endure and overcome testing and temptations:
“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12 NLT).
So much has been said about ‘overcoming’, to the point where many believers haven’t learnt to endure testing and temptations! We often hear words like, “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen;” but the Bible has a lot more to say about enduring temptations! The Bible says God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear; but will make way of escape, so “that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:12-13). Until I read this over and over again; I used to interpret God making a way of escape, to mean, ‘getting out of the situation!’ I then realised it actually says, “that you may be able to bear it.” Remember, love “bears all things,” and “endures all things.” (1 Corinthians 13:7). The Bible also says the trying of our faith works patience, and we should allow patience to finish its work (in us)- “So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well–developed, not deficient in any way.” (James 1:2-4). Imagine if Joseph had gotten out of the prison before Pharaoh sent for him? Faith isn’t just about receiving, but also refusing! Remember, “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,” (Hebrews 11:24); and some folks didn’t accept deliverance, “that they might obtain a better resurrection.” (Hebrews 11:35c). This, however, isn’t talking about accepting sickness or diseases, or what Christ has already borne for you and redeemed you from! Rather, you’re to resist the devil and to give him no room at all (James 4:7; Eph. 4:27).
Also, note it says, God won’t allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear or to “be pushed past your limit;” (1 Cor. 10:13 MSG). That tells me, firstly, there’s a divine ‘filter’ in heaven, and the enemy can’t just throw anything he wishes at us. Remember the temptation of Job; God repeatedly warned satan not to touch his life (Job 1:12; 2:6)!
Satan isn’t allowed to tempt you beyond what you can bear or “your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure.” (AMP).
This suggests that what we can bear varies from one person to another, which is
determined by how much inner strength you had developed before the testing or temptation. The wise man had already built his house on the rock, before the storms came (Luke 6:47-48)! “He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established; He will not be afraid,” (Psalms 112:7-8a). Our hearts must have been established before the evil tidings come; or else we would be afraid!
We encourage you to purchase this sermon series by contacting us : firstname.lastname@example.org.