Romans 15:1-13; 1 Samuel 27-28; Psalm 70
Strength is an interesting word. We usually use it to compare our strength with someone else’s usually favorably. (Otherwise, why bring it up?) Paul uses it to talk about the quality of our faith – but even then reminds us to be careful in how we look at it. Sometimes he’s sarcastic about those who claim to be spiritually strong, and use that as an excuse to continue sinning. At other times, strength is not seen as a quality to be admired so much as a burden to be used to help others. “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.” (Romans 15:1) Paul didn’t know the people of the Roman Church, except by reputation. I can’t help but wonder if there wasn’t a bit of sarcasm there. He definitely reminds them, and us, that our strength has a purpose. Our job is not to enter a spiritual strongman contest, flex our spiritual muscles, and go for the gold. The purpose of our strength is to bear with the failings of others who aren’t so strong and, in the end, help them grow in Christ. Romans 14 deals with the question of spiritual strength and how people exercising their strengths could end up hurting a brother or sister in Christ. If we truly our spiritually strong, we ought to be able to put up with others who are weaker than us and gently lead them into strength without harming their faith. Our ultimate goal is not to make others like us; our ultimate goal is to be more like Christ and help others to be more like Christ. Are we strong enough to do that each and every day?
Oh Lord, how often do I consider myself strong in the faith because I focus on myself instead of You. Let me realize how weak I am and how much I need You. Let my life reflect Your strength and draw others to You.