It doesn't take much for people to find reason to fear in today's world. There is precious little hope and security for anyone's future when you see the trouble governments all over the world, are in. We live in dangerous and uncertain times and it is affecting people everywhere, from every walk of life. Where do people find the strength to keep fortified and purposeful while the world around them is falling apart?
I believe a good place to start, is to realize and identify our enemy and strategically make a purposeful stand against it. Its name is fear and it is the enemy of our souls. As children of God, in this world, we have to deliberately stand against fear in our lives. It is a powerful, destructive force that will paralyse our faith and destroy all hope in us, should we give it any place. Dwelling on the negativity around us, until it becomes more dominant than the promises of God, will cause fear to overwhelm our thoughts, and allow despair to overpower us.
The wonderful news is, as children of God, we don't have to be a part of the fearful! We don't have to fret and lose sleep. Anxiety over our future and that of our children, does not have to enter our hearts or minds.
The apostle Paul knew all about the fight against fear and its destructive forces. I believe he became a first class soldier in his stand to oppose it. Paul understood how to live courageously and in Devine peace, in the midst of extreme pressure and trouble. One of my favourite scriptures is found in Philippians 4:13, when he declared what kept him in a place of supernatural victory, no matter how fearsome the turmoil around him or the attack against him. He said, "I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]." (Amplified)
So what is this inner strength that infused Paul and caused him to overcome fear and remain strong and purposeful in his life? Well, the scripture makes it pretty clear that Paul received supernatural, inner strength from being in Christ Jesus. Because the Spirit of God is alive and strong in every believer, His glorious overcoming power is alive in us too.
The power of God residing in every born again believer is an explosive power and it is demonstrated in our lives by a mighty supernatural inner strength. The very same strength Paul was speaking about in Philippians 4:13. In fact, Paul speaks about this power that produces inner strength, when he instructs us to be, "...strong in the Lord..." while we battle against fear and overcome it (Ephesians 6:10).
This strength producing power of God, residing in every believer, has the ability to supercharge us and fortify us from the inside, and has a remarkable effect on every area of our lives. Just like Romans 8:11 says: "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."
The word "quicken" is the Greek word zoopoieo, from the word zoe and poieo. The word zoe is the Greek word for life, and it often describes the life of God. The word poieo means to do. When these two words are compounded together, it means to make alive with life. It carries the idea to revitalize, to rejuvenate, or to refresh with new life!
This same inner strength had a profound effect on the life of Jesus, when He was facing extreme despair in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was faced with the reality of having to suffer for the sins of mankind in the most brutal, painful and shameful way and He would have to do it alone. The emotional pressure and strain caused His human strength and hope to drain from Him and He began to sweat blood. Then, in Luke 22:43, we read how an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened Him.
That word strengthened comes from a Greek word, enischuo. This is a compound of the words en and ischuos. The word en means in, and the word ischuos is the word for might or strength. Compounded together, the new word means to impart strength; to empower someone; to fill a person with heartiness; or to give someone a renewed vitality. A person may have been feeling exhausted and depleted, but he suddenly gets a blast of energy so robust that he is instantly recharged! Now he is ready to get up, get with it, and get going again! Enischuos power/strength reminds us of our purpose.
Now, since the power of God already resided in Jesus, we know the Angel didn't give Jesus that strength, instead, he must have said something to Jesus to cause that inner strength to be activated and rise up strong from the power inside of Him. I believe that Angel must have reminded Jesus of His purpose! Could it be that Jesus' mind was so distracted and overwhelmed by the pressure of what He would have to endure without His Father's presence, that He lost focus of the promise of victory that was already proclaimed over Him? And when He was reminded of that victory, that power of God that was alive inside of Him, rose up strong and began to recharge and rejuvenate His Spirit and quicken His mind and body. I can just imagine how He must have stood up, strong and purposeful, shaking off his discouragement and calling His disciples, walked towards the very purpose that he was shrinking from moments before.
Then, when the temple guards and Pharisees came to arrest Him, and asked which one was Jesus. The Bible describes how, with a sure strength of conviction, Jesus deliberately declared, "I am He". At the mention of His words, that demonstrative power of God that was activated and alive inside of Him, came forth from those words with such force that the entire army of men fell flat on their backs.
Because of the mighty inner strength that was pulsating through Him, from the power of God, alive in His Spirit; Jesus made it very clear that no person, army or principality, would ever have the power to take His life from Him. Rather, it was by His own will to obey His Father and lay His life down for mankind, that would cause Him to die on purpose that day. His love and devotion for His Father and each one of us, caused a joyful strength to rise up and fortify Him every step to the cross. Mighty, inner strength had overpowered despair that day, as purpose overshadowed fear.
Just the same, each child of God, has within us the power of God that produces the inner strength to rejuvenate, endure and victoriously overcome anything we face in this life.
When God's promises of purpose dominate our thinking, they overshadow all fear and activate the power of God inside us to rise up and infuse us with inner strength. So that we too, like Paul, can say, "I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency]." (Amplified)
ANDRÉ AND JENNY ROEBERT are the pastors and co-founders of River Ministries situated in East London, South Africa, incorporating various ministries, each geared to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the nations of this world. For more info visit: myriver.com