Summary: Knowledge and spiritual understanding of Gods will gives strength to endure lifes trials with joy.
If you remember, a couple of weeks ago, I pointed out that there where 5 things that Paul outlines in verses 10-11 that inevitably result from the knowledge that we receive from scripture when the Holy spirit enlightens our understanding of it and we apply it in wisdom. We’ve already looked at the first three as outlined in verse 10. Those where: 1) a worthy walk. That is a life that reflects the character of Christ. It is not a lifestyle that makes us worthy of Gods grace, but, an attitude of the heart that results from knowing God for who he is. This is the only way to please Him. 2) Knowing God for who He is inevitably results in service to Him that reflects His desires and will. When your works result from a full knowledge of who God is, they cannot be anything but fruitful. 3) As you serve God through fruitful works borne out of a full knowledge of Him and His will, He will reward you by revealing Himself to you in an ever growing, intimate way. This is what the writer of Hebrews meant when he wrote in chapter 11 verse 6 “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Because faith is believing that God is who he says he is and responding accordingly.
Today we are going to look at two more things that result from a heart that is dedicated to knowing God as Paul outlines in verse 11. These are 1) Strength and 2) Joyful endurance.
Paul begins verse 11 with the words “strengthened with all might.” This is a concept we tend to lose sight of as we progress through our Christian lives. I believe there are two reasons for this loss of vision.
1) The first is self reliance. We’ve talked a little recently about self confidence and God has taught me a lesson or two about this myself. Sometimes we tend to forget that little lesson that Christ taught us when he said in John 15:5 “without me you can do nothing.” It’s sometimes easy to forget that all the tasks and spiritual growth that have been accomplished in our lives are, in no way shape or form, of our own doing. If you are feeling a great deal of conviction on this matter just remember, you’re in some pretty good company because we find in scripture that Paul himself had to continually remind himself of this.
2) The second is lack of nourishment. We’ve all seen those commercials for the “Feed the Children” organization. It’s so sad to see those poor little children suffering from malnutrition. Their week, broken little bodies draped over their mother’s laps. I praise God for those individuals who get involved to help. But there is a greater tragedy of malnourishment taking place all over the world and especially, I believe, right here in our own country. And, because of it, God is weeping as he says “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” So many get a little tid- bit of Gods word from time to time, if any, and spiritually, they look like those poor, little, malnourished children. What makes all this such a tragedy is the fact that those little children are malnourished because they don’t have food, we’re malnourished because we don’t seem to see the urgent need for nourishment even though we have it right at our fingertips.
So this is what Paul is saying here, if we feast on God’s Holy Word, (by the way, this is one form of gluttony God does condone, in fact, He encourages it) if we crave the knowledge from God’s word and we feast on it, we will continuously be growing in Spiritual strength.
Now, what is this Spiritual strength? What exactly does it mean to be strengthened with all might? This word “might” can be translated several different ways. It can refer to our natural or inherent power. That energy that we exert in performing a task. Or it can refer to the power needed to perform miracles. It can be a reference to power or influence resulting from riches or wealth. Or it can be a reference to the cumulative power of an army or military might. In any case, it depends greatly on the context in which it is written. Here Paul is talking about growing in our knowledge of God and, as a result our hearts being transformed into the image of Christ. This word can also refer to moral power and excellence of soul which fits perfectly in the context of this passage. What Paul is saying is that the more we grow in our knowledge of who God is and the more The Holy Spirit enlightens our hearts to understand that knowledge the more we will be strengthened to apply it and live godly lives. Notice what Paul says next, it is “according to His glorious power.” This spiritual strength is not our own, but His. It takes a lot to be disciplined in our walk with Christ, doesn’t it? Sometimes it takes a lot to muster up the strength to just pick up the Bible and read it. Sometimes it takes more than we can do to fight off the sin that so easily entangles us. Sometimes it seems virtually impossible, doesn’t it? I believe this is where that nasty little thing that we discussed earlier, self reliance, get us. Satan is sneaky here to. How many times have you been told, or had someone tell you, in regard to your spiritual walk, “You’re doing great!” When the truth is you haven’t done anything because you can’t do anything. The reality is, God’s doing a great work in you. Not only are we incapable of saving ourselves, we are also incapable of changing ourselves. All we can do is trust what He has revealed to be true and, in that knowledge, understanding and wisdom he gives us strength to be obedient. As we walk in obedience to Christ, trusting His word and leaning on the Holy Spirit for strength and direction, our lives will bear, in increasing abundance, the fruit of the Spirit. It’s all about FAITH! And true FAITH brings transformation!