“And they said to him, ‘Thus says Hezekiah: “This day is a day of trouble, and rebuke, and blasphemy; for the children have come to birth, but there is no strength to bring them forth’"(2 Kings 19:3).
This verse paints a vivid picture as the nation of Israel is compared to a child who lacks the necessary strength to grow. This image is that of a struggle that many Christians face. We have trusted Christ, and as a result, have been born of God, but we lack the strength to let go of certain behaviors or effectively serve the Lord. This often leads to discouragement, and in some cases, to greater failure. Over the years, I have spoken with many people who have shared that a failure in their walk with God has often led to greater failure. A person who looks once at something they shouldn't will usually look several times before they find the strength to stop, and a person who is afraid to step out and serve Christ will often miss many opportunities before they find strength.
Just today I met a young man who staggered onto the church grounds. With his arm in a sling and a few exposed bruises, he shared with me how his life is falling apart due to his drinking. He stated that he had received the Lord, and that he loves Jesus, but that he struggles to find the strength to let go of the things that keep pulling him down. Fortunately, there is a remedy, not just for this young man, but for all of us. Those who have been born of God can find the strength necessary to grow out of their struggles and into their relationship with Jesus. This strength is found in several places.
There is strength found in community.
Each person must make an individual decision to follow Christ, but no one has to follow alone. Like a coal in a fire, we will find our greatest success when we are lumped together with others who want to live for Christ. The more effort we give to developing community with other believers, the more strength we will have to grow. Find a good church, get plugged into a connect group and invest in some Christian relationships. Beyond a doubt, you will find that there is strength in numbers.
There is strength found in the Bible.
The promises of God are so sure that no force in heaven or on earth is strong enough to break them. The Bible contains the ability to empower us. When we read its pages, we find that the words of the Bible act like spiritual food, strengthening our inner man. The more we ingest the promises of Scripture, the greater our strength will become. When Daniel was weakened by his circumstances, we read that he heard the word of God and was given the strength to rise to his feet. When Jeremiah felt that the obstacles to serving the Lord were too great to overcome, he decided he would no longer share the words of God with others, that is, until the word of God burned within him like a fire. Taking the word in empowered him to give it out.
There is strength found in the Spirit of God.
Jesus promised to give the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks. He also said that the Spirit would give us power and that power would help us to live a life that would be a good example to others. The Bible is filled with examples of ordinary men who received strength to do extraordinary things through the Spirit of God. Samson defeated enemies; Saul spoke for God; Peter engaged a hostile crowd and led thousands to Christ, and the same power is available to the child of God today. It is worth noting that the Spirit provides strength for us when we choose to obey God. It was when the crippled man allowed Peter to pull him to his feet that the Spirit of God gave strength to his legs to hold him and as Moses' staff hit the waters of the Red Sea that they actually parted. We will find the same thing to be true today. When you choose to do what God asks, the Spirit will always provide the power to do it.
There is strength in setting up a good defense.
Ancient cities built walls to ensure the safety of the inhabitants. Even Jerusalem, the city of God, had high walls erected around it for protection. When Nehemiah arrived and saw the walls broken down, he demanded that the people do more than pray for protection; they were to work hard to build solid defenses against attack. Strength will be found when we realize our weaknesses and take the time to erect safeguards in our lives that will make it more difficult to fail. A good filtering program for your computer or smart phone will do more for your spiritual health than simply trying to muster up more will power against temptation. The higher your walls of protection, the greater your strength will become. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 25:28, "A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls." There is strength in preparing in advance for the daily battles we face.
Those who have moved on from infancy in their walk with Jesus have not done so because they have a different constitution than the rest of us, but because they have found strength greater than themselves. Maybe it is time to approach your walk with Jesus a little bit differently. Perhaps it is time to see it as a team effort and get plugged in with others who will help you grow.