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Be Strong in the Lord

February 2007

Dear Friend:

God wants us to know and understand Him. He is not hard to find…unless we look for Him in a box. In actuality, if there is a game of hide-and-seek, God is doing the looking and we are doing the hiding.

When we begin talking about spiritual matters, especially understanding the heart of God, we must remember: The enemy of God will work overtime to undermine our relationship with our Heavenly Father. The truth is, any endeavor that seeks to know or exalt our Father will be met with spiritual conflict.

While this is the case, there is nothing to fear! We must respect the adversary’s tactics, but we must never forget he is a defeated, desperate soul who has fallen out of eternal favor with God. He is fighting a losing battle for his professional life. He is in subjection to Jesus Christ, who reigns in our hearts and lives.

Nothing can touch us unless it comes through our Father and Jesus. And whatever finds its way to us, finds us filled with the Holy Spirit. Rest in Him! There is nothing to fear! (Ref. Jn. 14:20.) But this doesn’t mean the enemy won’t try his best to convince us otherwise. He is unscrupulous and desperately relentless.

In the great passage on spiritual warfare from Ephesians 6, Paul begins his thoughts, “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might” (6:10). His point being: Our confidence must not be in the church, our pastor, this ministry, our spouse, our Bible-study group, or the godly person who discipled us. We are strong—not in these—but in the Lord’s strength!

You don’t necessarily feel God’s strength come over you. You don’t gain God’s strength. You don’t get it. You have it. Your strength is Christ in you. Notice the Scripture doesn’t say you become strong. It says, “…be strong.” In other words, strong is something you are, not something you become!

It is when you are least aware of God’s strength that you need His strength most. When everything is degenerating around you and life’s warning lights are flashing, you need the surging strength of the Spirit. You need to hear the comforting, encouraging voice of God while He directs fire down on the enemy bastion. These you have, but there are consistently two, opposing opinions offered.

If you listen to the enemy, he will confidently intone that God is elsewhere: “Indeed, God’s strength is great! But it appears He’s stopped just short of where you are. I’m certain He cares, but I gather He’s letting the answering machine screen His calls. Doggone. It is reminiscent of hide-and-seek, isn’t it?”

On the other hand, if you listen to God, you might not hear much at all. There isn’t really anything to discuss from this vantage point. No need left unmet, no concern unattended, no inherent weakness, no crisis necessitating an emergency declaration from heaven’s throne. Nothing. What more do you need?

It isn’t that God is distant or indifferent. When He says, “be strong,” it isn’t the same as being told as a child, “Be strong. Big boys don’t cry.” It is a loving reminder—an exhortation, really—of the facts: “Be strong in My strength.”

When it appears you are caught in a game of hide-and-seek with God, first, check to see if you are the one hiding or trying to cram God into a box of your own making. If so, you know what to do. Second, if you aren’t hiding from God, then look close by. He is consistently in the same place: in you!

What more do you need?

In His love,

Preston H. Gillham

President, Lifetime Guarantee Ministries

PS            Remember that, “Perfect love casts out all fear” (1 Jn. 4:18)—and Perfect Love lives in you. If you haven’t visited us at www.lifetime.org lately, stop by. We would love to hear from you.

If this letter has encouraged you, and you believe it would encourage someone else, please feel free to make a copy of it in its entirety and place it in their hands with our blessing.

Preston Gillham

About the Author

As a co-founder, Preston Gillham led Lifetime for 30 years. Preston is a writer, speaker, and leadership guide. He has authored numerous articles and several books including No Mercy and Battle for the Round Tower. He blogs on “Life and Leadership”. More about Preston, his writings, speaking, and his consulting practice can be located at PrestonGillham.com.