Becoming a Stronger You
by Cheri Strange, PhD.
Are you getting outside to get fresh air, with a mask or otherwise? Chances are you are not doing a lot of in-person shopping, ride airplanes or doing the normal summer stuff you have done in the past. But are you taking the time to take in the scenery and exercise?
This is something I have been doing by myself, sometimes with my main man, and often with a friend of mine. Due to some health issues and medicine adjustments, neither she nor I are moving at our normal paces. I feel like my body has gone to the dogs. So much so, I took more aggressive measures by committing Hebrews 12:11-13 to memory to get me back on track.
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.
There are many days, I will admit, I don’t want to engage, even though my hands feel more drooping than ever, and my knees are clearly weak. But out the door we go. My friend and I get moving, even when we don’t feel like it, and when the going is painful. Boy, do I need these verses to be true for me PHYSICALLY.
Not so. These words hold more meaning than an example for attaining physical vigor. They are focused on a person becoming a stronger version of themselves, from the inside out. More than a lesson in how to cowgirl up, this is a work of the Holy Spirit moving in and through our lives. In fact, there are at least five reasons the Bible offers for you becoming a stronger you.
A Stronger You Reason #1 – Your eyes Must Remain on the Prize
Sometimes, our hands are drooping and our knees are weak because of discouragement, possibly disappointments, or losses. It could even be the season we are going through, or our personality.
There is a tendency in these situations and seasons to question God’s faithfulness. We wonder if He will really come through? Those myriad “What if?” questions begin to surface and we tend to shrink back. This causes our hands to stop working. And our prayers suffer. I mean, if we are not really sure God is going to come through, then what’s the point, right?
Until you and I decide we are going to trust God with everything, taking it all before Him in prayer, we will remain weak. Unless we keep our eyes on the prize, believing the righteousness of Jesus has been given us through his work of justification making us heirs to go before the throne in confidence our hands will continue to droop and our knees crumble beneath us. But if we can lift our hands and strengthen our knees in believing prayer, we will become a stronger version of us.
A Stronger You Reason #2 – The Christian Must Exercise
Just like in our physical lives, the message here is that the Christian is expected to be about doing. We serve. It’s not how we are justified–forgiven from our sin, nor can we earn more of God’s affection based on what we do. But you and I will remain weak in our faith if we do not exercise it—by not taking God at his Word and doing what He asks. We will remain feeble if we fear the unknown and refuse to trust Him. All of these issues need to be put aside when it comes to becoming stronger.
What should you do? What action should you take next? Those are questions for you to pray over and seek out His leadership in your life. But there will be actions to come. Your faith will be exercised. That is for certain.
A Stronger You Reason #3 – You are needed for Hand-Lifting
Helping you become a stronger you in God’s economy is not simply about you. It about Them. You are needed to help those around you. This particular passage was written to believers in Christ. The writer has been encouraging them over and over throughout the book of Hebrews NOT to neglect their faith. He has encouraged them to embrace the truth of Jesus Christ rather than return to the traditions that had weighted them down before the gospel. You having an exercised faith–a faith that is working out regularly, with knees that are bent in prayer, presenting a stronger you, is necessary to help lift up the hands of those around you.
What about You?
How can your faith become strengthened and at the same time, help someone else? Talk to someone about something God has done that was an answer to your prayer. George Mueller, was an English preacher in the 1800’s who started an orphanage because he believe God asked him to do it. But Mueller didn’t want it to be a sponsored effort. He didn’t want anyone to pay him a salary and he never wanted to ask anyone for money. Instead he committed himself to a stronger George. Every day, he went before the Lord with specifics. Sometimes there was nothing for breakfast and someone would either show up with the food or the money or the supplies. Every time, God provided for what grew to over 750 children and multiple orphanages. God helped George Mueller become a stronger Mueller to help lift up the hands of those he served, as well as those who have heard his testimony of God’s faithfulness.
When we moved to Houston three years ago, we looked at over forty houses. It was an act of God that landed us where we reside, and it has provided a domino effect of how He was clearly bringing us to this exactly place. One specific impact was to meeting a young teen girl who befriended my daughter, devastated by the move. They became fast friends and the girl ended up at our house many afternoons. Over time we grew to love her and see her come to believe that Jesus could be her Savior, forgiving her and loving her. She’s even in many of our family pictures.
That’s the kind of work God does. There is a greater agenda at steak. He strengthens you and me so that we can help others lift their hands.
A Stronger You Reason #4 – You Must Make the Path Straight
Not only are we to lift our drooping hands and strengthen our weak knees, but there is a word about our feet and the path we take.
and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed
According to the Greek language, it’s not really a difference between straight and crooked, but rather conveying the idea of making a path that is easy for someone behind you to follow, Think wagon-ruts or when you are walking down a road in the snow. The only way you might be able to see the path is to follow the person’s trail in front of you. There is no room for you to go off trying weird off-road wanderings.
Do not miss the point. God is not saying the straight path has no thrills. I assure you it does. But you are needed to lead. Allow this very important point to settle all over you. You are needed to become a stronger version of you because you are needed here. Make the path straight. See that it is understandable. Make it so that others can follow. Be helpful. Don’t make it all about you. And you will find your stronger you.
A Stronger You Reason #5 – A Stronger You Finishes with a Team
A stronger you doesn’t quit. The stronger you encourages others not to give up, either. Honestly, at first glance, these verses appear to be about the individual. I just thought the writer of Hebrews was being very specific, addressing personal believers. (I should have known better because that is not the message of Hebrews as a whole, at all.)
Instead, the message is that we are in this together. I am responsible for you. That’s the message if you go back to Chapter 10. So, it makes perfect sense when you look closely to find how much this message speaks to the individual AND their impact as they move out to those entrusted to them.
so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed
What does that even mean?
It means that when there are those around us who have fallen away, or maybe are wavering on matters of faith, they should not be FURTHER confused or led astray by us. We should not do or say anything that would make it worse, but rather bring clarity, bring wholeness, and help draw them closer rather than push them away from Jesus “so that what is lame may be healed.”
This is why your strength of faith, your devotion to prayer, is so essential. Who you are matters. What you do matters. Your life, in the yada, yada, yada daily grind that you don’t believe has much significance, can impact a life in a way you may never know. You and I are not always privileged to see the Big Picture. We must take God at His Word. His Word to you is that you are essential. And a stronger version of you is what He so desires. He want nothing less than to know you more intimately because He loves you more deeply than I can articulate.
I encourage you to memorize these three verses. (Find these and more like it on my Insta Page Under Lock Screens. Download for personal use.)
Pray sincerely. Get outside. Grab a friend. Have some good conversation. Encourage each other in the deeper things of life. Become a stronger you so that they can become a stronger them.
If you would like to LISTEN to a version of this blog, you can try The Stirring Faith Podcast, HERE.
Thanks for coming along,
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