Lean on Christ’s strength and you’ll get through this.
Confession: Though I know the statement to be true, there can be a disconnect between the head and the heart on this one. I KNOW we have to turn to Him in times of weakness. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. But I’ve got to be real when I tell you that I had no idea how to put action to leaning on Christ in my daily life — when times are good instead of bad.
I’m an action-oriented person and I just didn’t know how to flip that switch to turn the lights on that one.
Usually, we tap into His strength when we’re at the bottom of a life-trench. When we’re wounded. Beaten-down and waiting on something (anything) good to break. It’s expected that when big-time pain hits, we need a Savior who’s bigger. I’ve been there. As a first-time (and oh-so-weary) new mom. A stressed-out career woman. When the bills stack up. When marriage takes some serious work. When standing at a graveside… In those moments, He’s going to be our rock. But what about when we’re moving through life day-to-day? I’ve felt guilty when I haven’t trusted Him. When I don’t know how to authentically connect to a Savior who’s not sitting in a chair in front of me.
Well, friends — here’s what the Bible has to say about that. We’ve got (7) sure-fire ways to grow strong in Him:
The first thing that probably comes to mind is: I need to go to church to become closer to Christ. Yes — we can. That’s a good thing to keep us from connected to our faith. Spending time in fellowship with other believers will bolster our strength no matter the season of life we’re in. (I can’t tell you how my Bible study sisters or close author friends have blessed my heart in the day-to-day.) But true FELLOWSHIP is not exclusive to our relationships with other believers. The first way to lean in to His strength is to go directly to the source. We must have authentic, daily fellowship with Christ.
Bottom line: Strength takes trust. We won’t trust Him if we don’t know Him. (1 John 1:3)
We don’t have to become Susie Service in order to grow strong in Christ. If signing up to volunteer at every event on the church calendar would only dig another stress-trench in our lives, we should consider before saying yes across the board. This one isn’t necessarily about our time. It’s not even about our money. And it sure isn’t about works saving us. (Only Christ’s sacrifice can do that.) SERVICE here is a change of mindset. It’s all about focusing on others — meeting them right where they are — and seeking to love with a servant’s heart. Does it take much to smile at a co-worker? What about to buy a latte for the next person in the coffee shop line? How about cutting our neighbor’s grass? Service may take us to dishing out Thanksgiving dinner in a soup kitchen (and that’s a great thing), but it doesn’t have to start there to be effective. It starts with the heart.
I’m all about this one. Why? Because it’s one of the areas in which I’ve struggled most. I’d always thought that a follower of Christ, I should do those daily devotions. But here’s the sticker… most of the time I couldn’t understand what I was reading. (Sorry, NIV. I still don’t always get you.) I’ve learned that if I want to lean in to His strength in the day-to-day, I’ve got to get serious about learning who He is. The way to do that is to STUDY the WORD. For me, it’s been daily verse mapping. For you, it could be reading a Bible app on your phone. Or listening to preaching while you drive to the office. Regardless of what the method is, the Bible can’t remain a dust-covered coaster on the coffee table. The only way to lean on His strength is to flex those faith-muscles on a steady diet of Scripture.
Bottom line: Hungry? Get serious about getting fed. (2 Timothy 3:16)
Alas, none of us like this one. There’s just something cringe-worthy in having to admit that we sin. And in a culture that tells us to just “do what feels good”, the “as long as ‘we’re happy” status-quo seems okay. If I’m not hurting anyone, what’s the problem? The shot-of-water-to-the-face answer: it draws us away from Him. Habitual sin is a slow fade that weakens our faith, demolishes our witness, and renders our service without impact. I’m writing this blog, so I’ll be the first one to stand up and say that it’s not fun to admit sin. I fall in and out of it like I’ve tripped over the kiddie pool in the backyard. I can’t and won’t ever be perfect. I wish I could change things in my past too. But what I can tell you is that once we come to Christ, He radically changes our hearts — and that’s going to include cleaning out those areas of sin that have become strongholds.
Bottom line: We’re forgiven. Once the heart changeth, the life will follow. (Romans 8:13)
I just knew this one was going to come up. And I’m soooooo bad at it. There’s always laundry, ironing, closet organizing, baseboard scrubbing, (you name it) to be done. Why would I sit down to rest when I’ve got so much work to do? Because muscle recovery is real. We can’t expect to keep building our strength if we never allow ourselves to recover from the previous fight. Paul had to rest and gain strength to begin his ministry. (Acts 9) So did the disciples. (Acts 13:2-3) Even Jesus encouraged rest in the midst of some serious ministry business. (Mark 6:30-32) REST gives us time to fast, to pray, and to recharge for our next assignment. In our house, we have “Unplug Saturdays”, where we turn off all smart devices and spend time together. For you, rest might be a vacation. Maybe reading a book. You could take a nap or just have some leisure time with those you love. Whatever it is, recognizing our need for rest will make us stronger to tackle the next task.
As Christians, we trust Jesus with our eternity. That’s a pretty big thing. Shouldn’t we talk to the one person with whom we’re trusting everything about everything? PRAYER is the ability for us to tap into His limitless strength stores. Prayer is a weapon in the Christian’s toolbox. When we pray, God responds. God’s response builds our faith. And strong faith — you guessed it — helps us to lean on Him when we’re weak.
Oh yeah. This one makes a lot of sense. (My thoughts when I first began digging through Scripture on the subject.) How in the world can we gain strength by becoming weaker? That contradicts basic laws of physics, right? But the GET WEAK part that matters here is all about surrender. For every part of ourselves that we give up, Christ fills in that deficit (and more) with grace. For every trip-and-fall moment, He’s there to pick us up. He’s faithful, and He’ll prove it in the moments we lean in to His strength instead of our own.
Bottom line: We can’t make it through the weak moments – large or small – without His grace. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
If you’re like me, you may find that faith doesn’t always require a light bulb moment. Sometimes it grows in quiet — in the every day. And if we have practical things we can do to stay connected to Christ, we’ll grow in Him in each one of those.
In His strength,