How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Even so, you have done well to share with me in my present difficulty. (Philippians 4:10-14 NLT)
I was on my way to my Exercise For Life connect group early on Saturday morning when the above verse came to life in my head. The key verse is about strength. I find it interesting that we quote this verse often, but probably fail to grasp its meaning. Paul was talking about how he was being taken care of by the Philippians. How he has been able to be very flexible in any situation that has been presented to him. With little or much, Paul was able to handle it because of the strength the Holy Spirit gives him. What an incredible attitude Paul had, he knew God would take care of his every need. There are three ways that God provides the strength we need to get through struggles and difficulties.
Strength first off through the Holy Spirit. God provides encouragement through the Holy Spirit, reading His word provides us that encouragement. Spending time in prayer provides that encouragement. In addition, if we pay attention to that little voice within us more often we will avoid some bad situations. A great example for me was I was pulling out of the gym parking lot a couple of weeks ago and my car made a load nasty noise and cut off the engine. I thought I had dropped my transmission. As I started it again, it would continue to do the same thing. Finally I listened to the little voice that said to turn off the blower fan. The car started without a problem. He saved me from having to be towed and I could use the car except for the heater or the air conditioner. That voice gets stronger as we continue in His word, I can’t stress this enough.
The next thing is we can encourage ourselves and give ourselves strength. This is achieved with our attitude. If we have a positive outlook on life, we can gain strength from that attitude. A bad attitude gets you nowhere fast. It keeps you bogged down in worries and things that you have no control over. I have had people tell me that I don’t live in reality when I have such a good attitude. I do live in the reality that God is always going to do something profound. That’s my driving attitude, I gain strength from knowing in my past God delivered me from something bad, and He is ever faithful and will continue to deliver me.
The final way we get strength is though loved ones and friends. There is nothing better you can do than to surround yourself with positive people. Actually if you surround yourself with positive people, either you will become a positive person or you will leave that group of people behind. You can’t be a negative person and stay around positive people, it just is not possible. That’s why it’s so important for our churches to be shame free environments, a positive nonjudgmental environment can change peoples lives. There is strength in numbers and a God given faithful friend is worth a lot in this life. We can never take for granted those that speak life into us. Always cherish those friends because they will be there if the bottom falls out.
You can gain strength from the Holy Spirit, yourself and others. We can go into the battlefield of this life and come out smelling of victory because the war has already been won. All we have to do is stand our ground, look at life as positive as we can and allow God to fight our battles for us. If we need someone to hold our arms up, then God will provide those people as long as we look for them. You have to have an open mind to find those friends. Life is as good or as bad as you make it, you just have to come at it with a positive attitude that gives strength to yourself and others.
© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.