Virtue 8: Strength

No king is saved by the size of his army; no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength, it cannot save. But the eyes of the Love are on those who fear him, on
those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine. We wait in hope for the LOVE; He is our help and our shield. —Psalm 33:16-20
Scripture and the world alike define knightly traits like honesty almost identically. Honesty just is what it is. Money is not so, however, with the knightly trait of strength. In fact, Scripture and the world define strength in quite opposite ways. Let me explain.
If we are “full of ourselves,” we are usually not “full of God.”
Being empowered and acting out of our own self-will and drive will usually not get us very far, at least not in God’s eyes. God prefers us to be emptied of our own strength and ready to be filled with His strength. When wrestling with the issue of strength, the apostle Paul asked God three times to remove a thorn in his side that was sapping him of his energy and stamina. God refused to remove it, however, and instead said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Paul goes on to write, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10). There we have it—our weakness clears the way for God’s strength to rest on us. Next, let’s turn to just how we can be filled with such strength.
Christ says that if we drink from the waters of this world, we will continue to thirst. In other words, if we draw our strength from the wells of the world, we will continue to need this source for our strength. The world offers many such wells—wealth, fame, hobbies, and many interests that, when out of balance in our lives, can become wells that leave us thirsty.
But if we drink from the water that Christ gives, we will not only plug the hole in the bottom of our souls, Christ Himself will cause a new spring of living water to well up from within us. When Jesus was speaking with a Samaritan woman at a well, He asked her for a drink of water. She replied, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” His response to her was amazing:
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?” Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will
be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:10-14).
This concept of sourcing your well of inner strength with the Lord is also mentioned in the Old Testament:
As they make music they will sing, “All my fountains are in you” (Psalms 87:7).
They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light, we see light (Psalm 36:8-9).
My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water (Jeremiah 2:13).
The verse from Jeremiah above shows what can happen to our strength if our hearts are not tapped into the Lord. If we dig our own cisterns—our own sources of encouragement, support, and strength—they will eventually leak, leaving us emptier than when we started relying on them. What is sapping your strength? Are you digging any empty, broken wells in your life? Let God redirect you to the living well.

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