Summary: A Strong or weak believer, what’s the difference and what am I?
The Life of a Strong Believer
* If you are given a choice, which would you choose, to be weak or to be strong? It’s kind of a useless question because everyone desires to be strong and for good reason. In the matter of our health we know that if our body gets weak we become susceptible to disease and an untimely death. We also know that we function better if we are strong; our minds think more clearly, our hearts have less stress, and our bodies hurt less. Candidly, it is just more enjoyable to be strong than weak. We could spend quite a while talking about this “strong-weak” issue and discuss subjects ranging from war to sports to marriage to relationships and always come back to the sincere conclusion that in anything we prefer to be strong instead of weak.
* This is also true in our Spiritual life. What person would say, “I want to be weak spiritually?” Yet Paul brings to light that there are those who are weak in their faith. Back in first 2 verses of Chapter 14 he uses the word picture of being feeble, diseased, impotent, and sick.
* When I physically see that Greek word translated to English, I think of “asthma.” This is a disease of the airways. In simple terms, the airways become inflamed and narrow which is followed by a production of excess mucus which makes it difficult to breath. The causes of this condition are generally a hypersensitivity to certain triggers. The result of asthma is that the individual is seemingly weak, fragile, and susceptible to illness.
* When Jonathon was a kid, he suffered from asthma. He wanted to play soccer. Though he did play some, we always had the inhaler close at hand because his body was so weak.
* Without hesitation I would offer that weakness is not a desired trait because it can be dangerous. Spiritual weakness can be deadly. Yet, were I to give you a quiz this morning asking you to rate your spiritual life on a 1-10 scale, how high would you score? Better yet, if God were scoring, how would you do? Would you give yourself an 8 because you’re as good as the next person? (which seems to be our mode of operation today) Or would you give yourself a 3 because you know that, compared to the expectations of our Lord, you fall short?
* As I read the Bible, it seems that we are expected to be strong in the Lord and the power of His might, that we are not to walk like the world in the futility of their minds, but rather in the love, spirit, and power of God. How do we live as a strong believer? Before I offer us the 3 helps which I see in this scripture, let me begin with a disclaimer. The life of a strong believer is not an easy life. Because of who you are, you have responsibilities, expectations, and OBLIGATIONS!! Verse one is clear, the strong are responsible for the weak. The strong are required to take the high ground. The strong are required to be selfless. It’s not for the faint of heart.
1. The Powerful Filling – VS 13 – As I read verse 13 it becomes obvious to me that Paul is offering this wish to his readers so that ALL of them may become strong in the faith. He begins with the “God of Hope” which is a great place, if not the only place, to start. Here is Paul’s prayer for us;
a. Fill Up – Look at what Paul knows that all believers need to be filled with, “Peace and Joy.” I’ll submit that these two things are in short supply in today’s culture. People want both peace and joy and cannot seem to find either. Paul says, “I want God to come in and just fill you up with what you need.” So this begs the question, “Since God has this and wants me to have it, how do I go about getting this peace and joy?” The answer is right here; we get it by believing! When God nudges our heart to offer us His great salvation and we respond to Him, He begins the filling process. Not a person here who has received Jesus in a personal way can say that they have NOT sensed and felt God’s love for them. Peace and Joy follow this sensation of knowing God’s love and God has more to give us than we could ever hold. We are finite vessels and He is an infinite God. He starts the filling process and just like your car at the gas pump, you’ll fill us but there is plenty more available. In fact, we can follow this picture.