It is easy to feel weak when we fight against temptations in our lives – sometimes temptations can be very strong. When we think of the evil about us and the many falsehoods that we encounter, we may also feel weak – how can they be overcome? We need to understand that our strength comes from God. Ephesians 6:10-11 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” This armor includes the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the preparation of the gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the Spirit (the word of God), and prayer. Although we certainly have a part to play in putting on the armor and using it, we need to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” In the spiritual battles that we face, we need to trust in the power of God and not in our own strength.
The apostle Paul was made weak by a thorn in the flesh from Satan. He didn’t tell us what it was; there have been various theories as to what it could be. Whatever it was, God wouldn’t take it away. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” When Paul accepted his weaknesses and trusted in God, He was able to make Paul spiritually strong. The power came from Christ. God wants us to humbly acknowledge our weaknesses and instead trust in Him for strength.
Consider two prayers that the Apostle Paul made. The first was for the Ephesians, recorded in Ephesians 3:13-16 “Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.” Only God can give us strength in our inner person through His Spirit.
The second prayer was for the Colossians, recorded in Colossians 1:9-11 “For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy.” Again, notice the prayer for strength from God’s power.
If the Apostle Paul could pray for God’s strength for the Ephesians and for the Colossians, we too should pray for each other to have strength from God. And while you are at it, pray for yourself that you will be strong – strong against temptation and strong in your service for God. Don’t depend just upon your own strength, but also on the power of God. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”