Let’s talk about strength.
Strength gets defined a lot of different ways.
- the quality or state of being strong; bodily or muscular power; vigor.
- mental power, force, or vigor.
- moral power, firmness, or courage.
- power by reason of influence, authority, resources, numbers, etc.
- number, as of personnel or ships in a force or body:a regiment with a strength of 3000.
- effective force, potency, or cogency, as of inducements or arguments:the strength of his plea.
It can be physical, mental, soulful, numerical, conviction, willpower (maybe synonymous with mental,) and spiritual even.
So which of these is true strength?
That’s a tricky question. Typically, we philosophical people (and politically correct) classify true strength as strength of will (tenacity) and soul (having heart, compassion, etc.)
It’s more popular in some genres to include forgiveness, mercy, and hope as examples of true strength, while the darker mediums usually just use some vaguely defined will power.
I’m reminded of one of my favorite shows RWBY, in vol 5, where one character whose whole theme is strength confronts her mom who abandoned her and ditched her friends and family in favor of survival. The girl, Yang, declares “You run away… You may be powerful, but that doesn’t make you strong.
Her mom defined strength as surviving, by spitting in the face of death, and being strong enough to do what had to be done. (if you can’t guess from what you know of her so far, what had to be done was usually wrong.)
Yang defines it as doing the right thing to protect your loved ones, no matter what cost to yourself.
That’s a good definition of soulful strength, in my book, but I don’t think it encompasses what strength is.
You may have the conviction to do something, but lack the emotional strength to see it through, as Yang soon discovers in the following Volume ( no spoilers here though.)
The converse is also true, you might be emotionally strong, but lack direction…I’d say that’s rare, but if you live a complacent life because you simply haven’t been challenged yet, it could be the case.
And you will be challenged, sooner or later.
I’ve come to see that in life, you need more than just emotional strength and conviction to see you through. Physical strength may be optional (not for everyone) but we need more than what we feel and believe.
That sounds a little backwards coming from a very obviously christian writer, but it’s because of that I say this.
I believe we are a war in our lives, against darkness, and to win that war, whether on a personal or community level, we need to have power in it.
You don’t go to war without weapons. Even if it’s a stone, or a tent peg, (people who’ve read Judges get it.)
Heck Judges is actually the perfect example for what I’m talking about, that book is full of examples of God giving people power by anointing whatever they had handy, whether it was a tent peg, a pitcher and torch, or a jawbone of a donkey. IT could just be their bare hands.
That’s an encouraging thing and it leads into my next point, that God will turn whatever we have handy into our power and strength. Whatever experiences you’ve had, whatever medium you prefer to get your ideas and inspiration from, God can use that. God can use that even if you don’t know Him, because truth always speaks for itself.
I don’t know if all of you have noticed how I write differently than many people, it’s not that I write so very well, perhaps, but I write with authority. I don’t hesitate to declare things.
I wasn’t always so confident, but time and again God has shown my that writing is one of my strengths, and I should not be ashamed to treat it as such, I won’t apologize for being assured of what I say.
If I wasn’t sure, why would I say it to the internet where anyone can read it?
However, if I take a page from the Bible (and luckily, unlike some believers, I have more than one; nod to those brave souls who survive with just a tiny bit of scripture in countries where it’s illegal,) and look in 2 Corinthians 12, I’ll see Paul declaring that he does not need to boast in anything but his weaknesses. Because “When I am weak, then I am strong.” (Vs 10.)
God told Paul that His strength is made perfect in weakness (vs 9.) Telling us that true power and strength is indeed something more than physical or emotional.
Where Paul was weak and miserable, he discovered Christ’s strength to keep going in, some might call it will-power, some might call it insanity, Paul didn’t care, for him to live was Christ.
You might find, if you ever meet persecuted Christians, that we get more insanely radical the more hostile people are to us. I’ve never had a harder time being on fire for God than when the people around me just didn’t care. I’d rather be hated than ignored.
I really think more Christians in the USA would be radical if more people hated us. But careful what you wish for, I do not want this country to turn on us to the point of death. (Though one day, it will happen, and I only hope we’ll be ready when it does.)
What did Paul have? Because it’s easy to just quote scripture to answer people, and to not show any real understanding of it.
But I think I am beginning to understand where he was coming from. The real strength we have is inside, but it’s not emotional, it’s spiritual.
God’s spirit is of Power, Love, and a Sound mind, meaning it effects our emotions, thoughts, and actions.
Ideally, all the other aspects of ourselves ought to come under our spiritual authority. If most of us realized we had that…
Yeah, it sounds nuts to non-believers…at least, some of them. Actually, it’s odd how many people have seen things that make them question if spiritual stuff is really just a superstition. I know folks who know nothing at all about God and still believe magic is real…they aren’t wrong.
“Let the weak say I am strong,” Joel 3:10.
The fact that strength has so any layers and sides means that we need to start at the top and work our way down if we want to really understand it. And then even he areas we are weak in become our strengths. God is in the transformation business.
Until next time, stay strong–Natasha.