Stand Strong in Jesus

by | Jun 29, 2011 | Spirit-Led Living

womanpraisinggodWhether
or not you were taught as a child to walk by faith, you can learn how
to weather adversity and find courage and strength in the Lord.

When
I was growing up, I learned the meaning of standing strong in God by
watching my family. They were living examples I could observe every day.
I saw how faithful my parents were to God and to each other, and I
wanted to be like that, too.

My
mom was a deeply committed woman of God. I am convinced that every
demon and devil of hell knew her name—her first name. My grandmother was
so full of the power of the Holy Ghost that she could lay hands on the
sick and, believe me, they would recover.

My
daddy was a farmer, who started his day between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. But
every morning, he would get up an hour or so before work to pray for
everybody—12 kids and later, 50 grandkids.

When
my older sisters would come home from school each day, before they
changed their clothes and started dinner, they would go on their knees
and pray. Like our mom, they would fast for days at a time, too.

Growing
up in that kind of environment embedded in me a clear concept of what a
life lived for God should look like. Although I’ve missed the mark more
than once, I’ve always wanted to walk with God, work with Him, worship
Him and stand strong in Him. Now, I want you to enjoy those same things
too.

STRENGTH IN WEAKNESS
Standing
strong isn’t about having inner strength or being a tough person. It
doesn’t mean you’ve been hardened by life’s experiences or are a
graduate of the school of hard knocks.

You
don’t stand strong because your legs are sturdy or because you have
German, African or Native American blood. Nor is it because you happened
to grow up in New York City or on a ranch in Montana. Finally, it’s not
because your mean big brother used to beat you up.

You
stand strong because you are strong in your spirit. You are able to
stand tall (with confidence) and stand long (with perseverance) when
you’ve learned how to draw from a reservoir of spiritual strength that
comes from God.

You stand
strong in your spirit because you are filled with God’s Spirit. But you
are only strong in God because you are, in and of yourself, weak. Paul
said, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10, NKJV). You have
such limited power of your own that you need to keep asking for God’s
Spirit to fill you up continually.

Standing
strong means knowing who God is, and trusting Him to do what He says He
will do. You can’t become strong in your spirit overnight, and it
doesn’t happen automatically. It’s a lifelong process of growth, and you
have to cooperate with it. When the disciples wanted to see an example
of the kingdom of God, Jesus showed them a child. To become strong in
spirit, you must become childlike in your faith.

Sometimes
the only way to become strong in spirit is through trials. The
adversities of life can transform you and make you stronger in the
Spirit. Perhaps you’ve already seen this in your own walk with the Lord.
However, sometimes, you learn this lesson through watching the Lord
work in someone else’s life.

Because
of a medical error, author Bob Sorge has suffered with pain, both
physical and emotional, for more than a decade. Formerly a successful
and gifted worship leader and pastor, today he is unable to talk above a
whisper and can no longer pastor a church or lead worship.

But
there is one thing he can do, and by doing it, he has become a closer
companion of God and an inspiration to countless people. What can he do?
He can stand strong.

In his
book In His Face (Oasis House), he wrote: “Some victories are gained
not through an aggressive posturing of faith, but by simply standing.
God didn’t deliver Joseph from his prison because Joseph had a dynamic
stance of faith, but because he kept his gaze fixed upon God.

“Joseph
didn’t understand what was happening to him. He could get powerful
revelations for other people (the butler and the baker), but when it
came to his own life he could see nothing. But at the right time, God
came and delivered him.”

Far
from being a last resort or a compensation for repeated failures,
standing strong is the result of a life lived in and for God. Standing
strong keeps Bob—and you and me—right in the middle of the palm of God’s
hand, no matter what our circumstances are.

STRENGTH TO ENDURE
We
grow stronger when we put our roots down in Jesus. He is our perfect
example in all things. Throughout the years of His ministry, Jesus stood
firm. When He arose from the grave, He went on to stand for all
eternity in fullest authority and share His authority with those who
would believe in Him.

It’s
obvious that someone who stands strong in God has a different kind of
spirit inside. That kind of person does not go along with the crowd.
That kind of person does not yield to fear. That kind of person does not
compromise his or her faith, even when everybody else decides to do so.

Joshua and Caleb were two
members of the select group of 12 who got to sneak into the Promised
Land to spy it out for Moses and the people of Israel. The Bible
declares that these two men had a “different spirit” from the rest of
the leaders (Num. 14:24).

When
the spies returned with their report, 10 of them said: “This is
impossible. All of the armies of Israel’s tribes will not be strong
enough to prevail against those fearsome giants that we saw. The land of
milk and honey is occupied already—by giants. Just forget about it.
We’re stuck here in the wilderness now ” (see Num. 13:31-33).

But
Joshua and Caleb stood firm, even though the other 10 spies—and all the
people of Israel—disagreed with their wisdom and refused to believe
they could take the land (see Num. 13:30). This refusal on the part of
the people created a crisis of the highest magnitude. God threatened to
cancel His promise and start over with new people (see Num. 14:11-12).
But Moses persuaded the Lord to stay His hand. Now they would have to
endure a 40-year wilderness trek and the slow attrition of all of the
unwilling masses.

Joshua and
Caleb, to their everlasting credit, didn’t add insult to injury and
rebel against Moses’ leadership, even if they may have privately
disagreed with it. They just stuck to their original evaluation—”Yes, we
can conquer that land. It’s ours. God has given it to us.” They were
willing to stand firm for 40 long, dusty years in the wilderness without
wavering, despite negative opinions and many seeming setbacks.

In
the long run, after persevering, they won. Even Moses didn’t get to
possess the land. But Joshua and Caleb never gave up the idea that God
wanted them to conquer the Promised Land.

STRENGTH BEYOND OURSELVES
The
lives of Joshua and Caleb exemplify four key elements that are
necessary in order to know how to stand in the strength of the Lord and
take any promised land: Sight. You must have the vision for what God
wants to accomplish. The Word says, “Where there is no vision, the
people perish” (Prov. 29:18, KJV).

When
God plunked Ezekiel down above a whole valley of dry bones, and He
said, “Ezekiel, prophesy!” Ezekiel had a little trouble believing that
so much deadness could actually come back to life. But after he spoke to
those dead bones and decreed that they should live again, they did (see
Ezekiel 37).

Ezekiel had to
speak life to his vision. The whole thing was unreal before he did
that. It’s the same with you and me. Sometimes we need to speak life to
our dreams.

Don’t be afraid
to shout a proclamation and declare a decree over the vision you have.
God gave you that vision, and it needs to stand up and live. Your part
is to pray and believe—consistently, persistently.

Right.
You must have a grasp of why the vision is clearly yours to claim.
Because your vision is God’s idea and not yours, you don’t want your
prayers to reflect your limited viewpoint or opinions or desires. Your
vision must be nourished and kept alive with God’s own Word. Every time
you ask Him to fulfill your vision, you must base your request on His
Word, the Bible.

You need to
be in the Word every day. Read it, sing it, memorize it and pray it
back to Him. His Word declares His intentions and shows you how your
vision fits in with them. His Word prepares your heart for prayer and
furnishes you with the vocabulary you need when you pray.

It
is an irrefutable fact—God cannot lie (see Num. 23:19). When you stand
in prayer, you can be rock-solid sure of God’s integrity. Stand in
agreement with Him about your God-given vision, and continue to immerse
yourself in His Word. He will convict you and correct you, and His Word
will keep you on the path of faith so you can persist in your prayer
until the end.

Might.
It is extremely important that you comprehend the supernatural power
that is at your disposal. I would be remiss if I failed to mention the
importance of fasting. If you combine fasting with your prayers, you
will see greater results. In fact, there is no better way to underline
your prayers and put them in boldface print.

In
Matthew 6:16, Jesus said, “When you fast” not if you fast (emphasis
added). He assumes that you will do it, and He gives you suggestions for
doing it well. He wants you to fast in some way, usually in a variety
of ways, consistently. Don’t wait for Him to give you a big sign in the
sky to tell you to do it. Just do it. You will find that fasting helps
you stay right at His feet.

When
you are seeking God about something, you need to pursue Him
relentlessly, full of faith, until you feel a release in your spirit. I
can remember when I was a small child, being with my mom and older
sisters at all-night prayer meetings. I would fall asleep in the pew as
they tarried in prayer.

As I
grew older, I began to appreciate that tarrying meant persevering until
you broke through to an answer. It meant faithfully staying before God,
waiting until He assures you that you have prayed enough.

Your
adversary, the devil, will try to make you want to settle for less than
the full answer to your prayers. He will try to wear you down, but if
you hang on to the Word and God’s promises, you will outlast him.

Fight.
You must be willing to take on giants, and able to maintain that
willingness over the long haul, persevering in prayer until the chosen
day finally arrives. At first, Joshua and Caleb were the only ones who
were willing to tackle the impossible situation. They were ready to
fight those giants, the sooner the better.

As
it turned out, because they represented the minority opinion, they had
to wait to do their fighting. But amazingly, they kept the faith so well
that they were still primed to fight, and as strong in body and spirit
as they had been when they were fresh from their spying mission 40 years
before (see Josh. 14:7-12).

There
will always be opposition to your mission. But everything God has said
will come to pass. Your destiny is wrapped up in His plan. Your life has
eternal significance, and your prayers will bring your God-given
destiny to fruition.

Do not
grow weary. Stand strong against any temptation to give up the fight.
Stand before God, day in and day out. Ask Him to give you a different
spirit, as He did for Joshua and Caleb. He will do it!

Read a companion devotional.

Judy Jacobs
is known for her inspiring and anointed singing and preaching. She is
the author of
Stand Strong (Charisma House), from which this article was
adapted.

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