Am I Strong Enough?

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You are strong…much stronger than you think! Why are you strong? Because you have a special talent, extraordinary intelligence, or a lot of muscles? No! (Though I don’t doubt that you are talented, intelligent, and athletic!)

Six critical lessons that might help you to develop inner strength.

1. Don’t be afraid to let God examine you.

In Psalm 26:2-3 we read that David was not afraid to invite God to examine his deepest longings and his every thought. Out of fear and emotional laziness, I often do not want God to uncover and show me what is going on deep inside. In these moments, I settle for superficial and religious quiet time with God.

These unsubstantial times with God accrue over time and lead to internal weakness—an inability to handle the truth (as Jack Nicholson would say, “You can’t handle the truth!”).

Honest conversations with other people like your wife/husband, kids, friends, or coworkers become harder to handle emotionally—especially if they involve weaknesses of mine or areas you need to grow.

When we keep God’s unfailing love constantly in view, we are free to journey down the path of truth unafraid, knowing no matter what we discover, God can use it to make us stronger. Discovery then becomes something to welcome, not to avoid both in our relationship with God and each other.

Take Action

  • Ask God to show you truths you have been avoiding.
  • Ask your spouse or a friend to help you in the process of uncovering the deep parts of your heart.

2. Tackle the areas you have been avoiding

We all have areas of our character that we tend to avoid. It is “unplowed” because we don’t like to talk about it, bring it up, or explore it. We would rather leave it alone.

This “unplowed ground” quickly hardens our hearts. It prevents God’s Word and truth from taking root and growing in those parts of our lives. This is why our spiritual growth can stagnate, leaving us underdeveloped and immature. We can  only experience spiritual growth and renewed strength when we deliberately and daily tackle areas like anger and irritation that we tend to neglect.

Take Action

  • List 1-3 areas of your life where your spiritual growth has stagnated.
  • Find Deep Spirituality devotionals or podcasts that can help you learn how to tackle those areas of your life.

3. Break up the rocks that block your depth

Once we start digging up the areas of our character and heart that have been neglected, we will uncover rocks. Jesus teaches that rocks in our hearts create a problem because they prevent God’s Word from developing deep roots in our lives.

This superficiality leads to us quitting and giving up when things are difficult because we lack the depth and the ability to mature. So, inner power eludes us. It is possible to start out strong even when you have rocks in your heart, but this initial strength will give out as soon as the going gets tough.

Ignoring the rocks in our hearts seems easier initially, but the process of dealing with them is actually what makes us develop internally.

What are your rocks?

Here are some of the rocks I have to excavate regularly:

  • Insecurity – A preoccupation with negative thoughts of myself and consumption with my image and how others view me.
  • Bitterness – Disappointment and hurt I have not worked through that lead me to blame, feel victimized, and unwilling to listen to others.
  • Anxiety –  A gnawing fear of the future, failure, and rejection that makes my thoughts and emotions race uncontrollably.
  • Pride – A refusal to acknowledge my weaknesses and need for God and friends.

You might relate to some of these rocks, or you might have a list of your own. Either way, doing the work to identify our rocks is an important step in developing deep roots and internal strength.

Take Action

  • Using a digital Bible, look up all the Bible verses you can find about one of your biggest rocks.
  • From your Bible study, find two or three actions you can do every day to remove that rock.

4. Lean into weaknesses. They unlock new strengths 

As we read in this passage 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV of the Bible, God has a very different view of our weaknesses. They are the necessary parts of our lives; he uses them to unlock our strengths that would otherwise remain underdeveloped.

Without suffering, difficulty, and failure, we will never develop compassion, resilience, or humility. These are the qualities that make powerful leaders and that give us the ability not only to be internally strong but also to help others grow.

Take Action

  • Make a list of strengths God has developed in you over the years and consider how you can use them to help others.

5. Keep it simple with obedience

In these often-read verses, Luke 6:46-48 NIV,  Jesus describes the simple key to developing depth: obedience. He says it is only when we put his words into practice that we dig down deep and lay our life foundation on the rock.

There is something about the process of trying to live out what Jesus says that makes us dig down and get stronger internally. Theories and theology don’t make us internally strong, but living out his teachings fortifies us as nothing else can.

Take Action

  • Find a verse of the Bible to obey today.

6. Focus on giving. It leads to growing

Finally, it is giving that makes us grow. Nancy Koehn, a professor at Harvard Business school, wrote about this in an article for Harvard Business Review called Real Leaders Are Forged In Crisis” at the beginning of the pandemic.

This piece gives leaders valuable advice about how to find the internal strength to lead in a time of unprecedented crisis and includes a powerful description of the way giving to others makes us stronger.

While we often feel that circling the wagons and focusing on ourselves are what we need to do to get stronger, the opposite is true. We grow stronger when we give, and we give when we live for a purpose bigger than and beyond ourselves.

And it doesn’t take much. When we give, even in the smallest ways, the magic of growing inner strength takes place.

By Scott Colvin

Take Action

  • What are ways, big or small, that you can meet someone else’s needs today?

 

 

 

 

 

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