When I was a little boy I wanted to be strong like Superman or Batman. When I arrived at Roosevelt Junior High I wanted to be strong like Vikings players Allan Page and Carl Eller. As an adult I have had many times where I wanted to be recognized as “strong” in various ways. Being strong is not a bad thing in itself, but the dangers come in what motivates our desire for strength and what we do with it when we have it.
Another common problem with the way we often view strength is that we exalt certain people over other people based on physical or intellectual “strength” as we define it. Our society is exceedingly addicted to people looking a certain way, excelling in a specific set of activities and bragging about their kids’ grades. This really isn’t a new phenomenon. All through Scripture we see this taking a variety of forms in which people are claiming glory and trying to make a name for themselves. Another way to view this would be that the people are attempting to be strong or top dog in the “Human Hierarchy” that occurs when people buy into the fallacy that some people are of greater value than other people.
Built into the Human Hierarchy way of viewing things is an unhealthy competition and a personal rising up by having others below you. This goes directly against our theme this past week of surrender or lifting others up. We are continually invited in the Gospels to see Jesus live freely and powerfully serving others and trusting God the Father. Jesus’ strength was manifested in giving to others and never for personal ego inflation.
The good news for us today is that God wants us to be strong. But the source of this strength is God Himself and the gifts that come as we walk with Him in trust for all that we need. God is far more aware than any of us of the ways we truly need strength. He knows the enemies that are trying to destroy our souls, our hope and our joy. He provides all that is needed for us to have full lives in the here and now, as well as a confidence in our eternal home through Jesus.
Our text for this Sunday expresses the way that our God equips us and cares for us so that we can stand against all opposition. Our all-powerful God also wants us to know that we are not intended to go through life on the defensive or in a posture of fear or trepidation. We possess the power of Jesus’ resurrection, as well as the light that the world needs to live in truth. The past seven weeks have brought us to celebrate ONE… in many of the ways it is expressed in the book of Ephesians – source, life, family, revelation, body, example, surrender and this week we conclude with strength. Paul brings it to a magnificent conclusion as he invites us to join him:
Pastor Nick Mundis