Monday, February 08, 2021

How strong are you?

All photos courtesy of Unsplash 

At some point, all of us will have experienced weakness in some shape or form. Often, those that are younger, fit and healthy feel like they can take on the world, but something as simple as a stomach bug or a touch of flu can be enough to sap the strength altogether. Some who have passed through many struggles speak of an inner strength that has helped them through.

There is, however, a matter in which no amount of physical strength or willpower is of any help. The Bible says, ‘When we were yet without strength (that is, having none at all), in due time (just at the right time) Christ died for the ungodly’.

An occasion recorded in the Bible illustrates this. Near one of the gates of the ancient city of Jerusalem was the pool of Bethesda. At certain times, a great crowd gathered that were all ‘without strength’. Among them were the infirm, blind and others were partially incapacitated somehow, and they could do nothing to make themselves better. When the water was stirred by an angel, each hoped to be the first to get into the water to be healed.

The Lord Jesus arrived, His eyes falling on a man who had been affected by his condition for 38 years. Turning to him, Jesus asked a question which apparently had an obvious answer: ‘Do you want to be made well?’. The man told his sad story and explained his predicament. Whilst he wanted to be made better by being first into the pool, someone else with a lesser condition was bound to get there before him. On this confession, Jesus’ word of power came to him: ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’. The man did just as he had been told.

Our verse said: ‘When we were yet without strength, … (just at the right time) Christ died for the ungodly’.

We too are affected by an infirmity that we have had since our birth; an inward, spiritual condition by which we were bound. We are powerless to overcome this problem of sin that leads ultimately to death. Like the man in our story, we do well to recognise our inability, but just when we recognise our lack of strength, Jesus would draw near and ask, ‘Do you want to be made whole?’ — because we can be. 

Each of us has a differing, but limited measure of physical and emotional strength and God may allow a sense of weakness in those to point us to our greater need and its deadly consequences to which there is only one answer. In love, the Saviour draws near and invites us to confess our problem and express our desire to be made whole. This has been made possible through His suffering and death for sin, and through the power of His resurrection. Immediate release is available from the bondage of sin.

Though there will be times when we still make mistakes, we have the power to say ‘no’ to sin through the power of the Spirit of God within us. It is no longer our master, and the penalty we were due has been paid, for Christ has died.

The key to this release is to recognise our own helplessness and ask the Saviour to make us whole. Times of weakness will still come over us, but a Christian can join with the apostle Paul and say, ‘when I am weak... [through Christ] I am strong’. God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.

Messages with Meaning Written by Tom Merriman for Your542Day

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