Wednesday, February 25, 2009

BEING STRENGTHENED - Spiritual Warfare 5

Eph 6 v 10 says ‘be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might’. The word ‘strong’ here basically means to increase in strength or to be made strong. At any point in our lives we are at a level spiritually, we have a measure of authority. We operate our lives day to day with a certain amount of strength. One of the important secrets of spiritual warfare is to be continually strengthened, to be increasing our personal level of authority. One of my friends in ministry uses the term “he didn’t have enough power to blow the fuzz of a peanut”. If I was to borrow that term I’d apply it to Peter. Peter was, a lot of the time all talk, his view of Jesus was all about his personal approval rating. For example if the story of Jesus was a reality television show, it would go a little like this – vote now, which of the disciples will be going home this week. Peter this week you walked on water, Thomas said, he doubted it, Luke said, there must be some scientific explanation, Judas said, he was interested in forming an alliance with you, Jesus said you are a rock and on this rock I will build my church. Peter your safe for now. Wow, bonus hey guys did you hear that, I’m “the rock” - there’s got to be a movie deal in this for me. The thing to note is that at that point Peter was not the rock. He had to become that rock, he had to grow in strength. His original name was Simon which means, reed something that will stand upright but is prone to bend when the wind blows against it. In John 21 Jesus asks Peter in verses 15 & 16 if his love for him was a love strong enough to be unconditional (agape love) a love prepared to go even as far as death. Peter repeatedly answered him with this response, look my love for you is really not that strong it really is just (phileo love) or affection I’m attached to you, fond of you. Jesus responds to him with this, in verse 17. Peter right now you basically do as you please but the day is coming when your love will be strong enough to stretch out your arms and die for me. Peter did not leave that day as Jesus pronounced him, “the rock” strong enough to deserve that title. He had to become that rock that person who would not be moved who would become stable and dependable. He would need to grow in strength to become the person, Jesus knew he could become. Jesus had no doubt that one day Peter would grow to a level of character able to deny himself, take up his cross and follow Him, no matter what personal sacrifice that meant. The key to strength is to be constantly growing, we all need to identify those areas in our lives we need to be growing in. Everyone of us has areas of lack and weakness we need to be deal with. The question we all need to be asking our selves, where do our lives - need to be growing and strengthened. I love babies up to about 18 months, I love toddlers up to about 5, I love children up to the age of about 13, I love teenagers up to the age of about 19, I love young adults up to the age of about 25 to 30, I love adults up to the age of about 45 but after that it is no longer about the age groups. It’s about the level of maturity and wisdom we have developed over those years. The qualities and areas of real growth and development that identify and define us. Things like our influence and significance, the wisdom and honor we display. In other words we must be constantly becoming stronger every year of our lives, so that when the surface indicators we are addicted to using to define growth are no longer as recognizable. The things that characterize us then are the qualities and values we have developed. These things become the indicators of our strength of character and the authority we carry. What I love about the church is it’s constantly urging and encouraging this growth, change and development in us, I love the thought that the best in our lives is always yet to come. We can always be getting better in our love and benevolence toward others, in our propensity toward evangelism or reaching out to others, in our family values or the way we connect to each other, in our generosity and prosperity, in our sense of personal peace and wellbeing. We should be better than we where before, being strengthened, its powerful. Be strong in the Lord and grow in the power of His Might. If your growing you’ll become stronger, if you don’t grow ever year you’ll be weakened and struggle to achieve any spiritual outcomes. Not moving forward is actually moving backward. Be strengthened or you’ll be weak in your spiritual strength and authority in other words you’ll be spiritually unfit.

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