“The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.” (Habakkuk 3:19 KJV)
I heard a song on the radio recently that caught my ear. It was Stronger by Mandisa. Good catchy tune. Good lyrics too. It is funny how despite the hundreds of years that has expired since the penning of this verse that the idea is still current. When we think of strength, what do we mean? Stronger in what way? What do we think we will be able to do after receiving strength that we can not at present do? The issue at hand when you consider becoming stronger is that you are not presently in control. It is almost like that job interview where they cannot offer the salary you request, but with time and experience they can get you there. The concept of strength divides into at least two considerations. First is the issue of control. Second is a better understanding of what strength is and how it works.
Have you ever seen this proverb? “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17 KJV) Iron is not particularly gentle. Nor is it particularly flexible. It takes a great deal of effort to shape and sharpen. There is a grinding of one difficult will against an even more solid one. Like our will against God's. As the slivers are removed from our will as it comes in contact with God we become stronger and sharper in our new shape. We must come to the conclusion that we are not self shaping, but are shaped by the hand of God. Sometimes by the friends He gives us too. We only look for strength when we think the shape is misshaped or foresee a shaping that we are not likely to withstand. What we hope to do after receiving an increased strength is plain. We want control back. It is during the strengthening and sharpening process that our new shape reveals to us the simple truth that it is God's hand that will always be in control. Our strength is found in the present tense in surrender to Him. Allowing Him to shape us is our present strength, and by allowing that we receive even more strength in a shape more wonderful than we could have forged ourselves.
Next we need to understand something about how strength is built. God is our foundation (see Ephesians 2:20). You are strong not necessarily because of your intrinsic strength, but because of the rock you stand on. The reason the house built on the sand fell is simply because sand is not a strong foundation. It offers little to no support. You can only be as confident as the support structure underneath you. Even those in upper levels of management have at least some understanding that their company stands because of the quality of the work force that drives it. Notice that selflessness better adheres you to your foundation where selfishness separates you from it. When God strengthens us, it is not merely lifting us from where we are to something yet higher. He is giving you a firm foundation to stand on. Be humble enough to reflect on the cost it took to have such a foundation.
“And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?” (2 Kings 5:13 KJV)