Pastor Nick Cleveland
Ever started strong but get to the place where you’re waffling and weak? Maybe spiritually stuck? You might have grown up around church but then stopped going. Maybe circumstances, fears, anxiety, negative attitudes, and what others have done, cause you to become weak and inconsistent.
A man in the Bible, named Timothy, struggled to stay strong. In a weak season in his life, his mentor, Paul, wrote to him. “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” – 2 Timothy 2:1
What Paul actually says here is “increase your strength.” He doesn’t mean close your eyes, clench your fists, bite your lip, and dig deep inside yourself. Actually, Paul says the strength comes from an outside source. He identifies it as grace. We, just like Timothy, need strength from God to stay strong in life.
Paul gives 3 examples of consistent strength. First, a soldier who puts aside daily distractions and suffers with his brothers for a vision of victory. Next, an athlete who competes and blocks out the audience and never quits. Finally, a farmer who puts in the sweat and work and is patient in the mundane.
But, how can you increase your strength? Strength increases as we grow in grace. God wants you to develop, grow, and increase in every facet of life.
Spiritual – our faith journey which grows as we listen to Him by reading His Word, talk to Him by praying, and obey Him by loving, serving, attending, and doing.
Intellectual – our personal and professional growth will transform not just our weekend but our weekday too. We must keep learning and stretching our minds.
Emotional – our emotions are poor guides, but powerful alerts. What captures our affection will control our direction. We must assess our emotions based on what is true. Then, decide if we should change them or channel them.
Relational –people problems zap our strength and cause us to be distant, defensive, or demanding. When we view relationships as people to be loved, not problems to be solved, we increase our capacity.
Physical – some of you are weak because your physical health is poor. Paul told Timothy that physical exercise has value. Eating well, sleeping enough, and exercise are key components to increasing your capacity. Physical strength affects overall strength and mindset.
Financial – our wallet is connected to our heart. Debt and financial stress can suck our strength from us quickly. You might need to increase your capacity for generosity by being disciplined to spend less than you make and invest in what matters most.
“Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.” – 2 Timothy 2:7
Ask yourself which of these areas is causing you to waffle, lose strength, and fizz out? Which of these areas represents your greatest opportunity? Why not breakthrough what is holding you back.