The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe...
When God called Joshua to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land after the death of Moses, He commanded him three times to "be strong" (Joshua 1:6; 9; 18).
We find an interesting corollary in the New Testament, which on three occasions also commands God's children to "be strong" (I Corinthians 16:13; Ephesians 6:10; II Timothy 2:1).
How do we obey this command? The mere determination to think and act in terms of strength, especially according to our Lord's standard, does not simply happen because we make a decision. Indeed, Joshua did not obey God and fulfill his calling by his own dedication and determination. The ship of his resolution would have crashed on the rocks and sank before ever leaving the harbor had Joshua attempted to "be strong" in and of himself.
The Apostle Paul reveals the answer to the question of strength in one of the New Testament mandates: "Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might" (Ephesians 6:10; emphasis added). As always, obedience to Biblical commands must be preceded by faith in the Biblical Commander. God's requirements are always preceded by His promises. Thus, He calls us to be strong in Him, and in His power.
Note the two-fold provision: "in the Lord and in His power," or rather first Himself, and then His ability. We personally relate to Him through Christ, which then leads to our access of the enabling to be strong. This results in our living for God by our living from God. Indeed, what if we had awoken to this new day to discover the New Testament commanded our obedience as a matter of our own ability? What if it were required that we fulfill the responsibilities of life according to human capability? Home life, the workplace, the neighborhood, the roadways, and every venue would be far more than we could begin to handle. "Without Me, ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).
Conversely, what if our Lord calls us to be strong in Him and His ability? He does. Thus, we set forth from our particular harbor by prayerfully "looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). We raise our sails to the "rushing, mighty wind" of the Holy Spirit, trusting the heart of God and the hand of God to enable successful passage to wherever He leads us (Acts 2:2). We live of Him, by Him, through Him, and unto Him as we obey the command to "be strong" by relying on "the power of His might." Or as Paul testified of the grace that led him to begin and complete the journey of faith, obedience, and ministry to which God called him…
"We had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead."
(II Corinthians 1:9)
"LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am."