Strengthening Yourself in the Lord
Scripture says: “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) Most of us try to take care of our bodies. But do we – do you - take care of your heart? By heart –we mean the part of you that is “you”. Your soul – your mind, emotions and will? You are a spiritual being as well as a physical being. And taking care of your heart – which is another word for your soul- is all important. Scripture says: “from your soul flows the springs of life”. (Proverbs 4:23)
As Christians, taking care of our hearts means learning to receive our comfort and strength from God. Trusting and obeying God. Meditating on God’s Word, the Bible. Living a life of thankfulness and praise to God. And building our lives on the solid Rock. (which is Jesus Christ)
To strengthen our faith in God and to take care of our heart we can start by: (1) Pursuing God with all our hearts. Cry out to God and pursue His will for ourselves and others. Fast and pray. (Mark 9:14-29) Ask God for more faith and more love. For more of His Spirit. Scripture says: “He who comes to God in prayer must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Faith pursues God and believes that God rewards those who come to Him. Scripture says: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (1 John 5:14)
Jacob wrestled all night with God and told God that he would not let God go until God blessed him. God blessed him and changed his name from “Jacob” to “Israel” which means: (You have wrestled with God and have prevailed). (Genesis 26: 24-29) God was very pleased that Jacob ran after Him and would not let Him go. In order to strengthen ourselves in the Lord we must be more like Jacob and pursue God with all our hearts!
The second thing we can do to watch over our hearts and strengthen ourselves in the Lord is this: (2) Study the Bible and meditate on God’s Word. Let God speak to you through His Word. Do not feed your soul junk food or even worse do not feed on Satan’s lies, hatreds, heresies and poisons. Get a good concordance and go to a Bible believing church. Fellowship with other believers. Stand on the promises of your faithful God. All through Scripture God has given His children wonderful promises. He promises us His peace so let us take it and hold onto it. God’s Word is food for your soul, and you cannot be joyful and strong in the Lord if you do not feed on His Word.
The third thing we can do in taking care of our heart is this: (3) Obey God and obey His Word. Live a life of obedience to God. Remember that God is good. The goodness of God is the cornerstone of our faith. Everything God does is good and loving, joyful and merciful. Scripture says that He can do no evil. He is a righteous Judge. His commandments and laws are just. They are there to lead us in the ways of eternal life.
Confess your sins and ask for His forgiveness, which He promises to give. If you have bitterness, hatred or unforgiveness in your heart, confess it and give it to God. He will take care of it. Your soul will not prosper if you carry around unforgiveness or bitterness or hatred. Also, Jesus calls us to have a servant’s heart. He will give us joy as we serve others. Followers of Christ are to be humble. Scripture says: “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16;18)
If there is a commandment in Scripture that you are disobeying, confess it to God and turn from it. Honor your parents. Do not steal from others or take advantage of others or be greedy or bear false witness against others. Do not covet what others have. And do not commit adultery. Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. Live a life of love to God and to other humans. Do not take God’s Name in vain. Set aside time to rest and worship God. And do not kill another person. Human life is sacred. God calls on us to trust Him. Ask Him to help you trust Him more. Ask Him to guide your steps and listen for His leading.
The fourth thing we can do to build ourselves up in God is: (4) Be thankful to Him. Scripture tells us to give God thanks in every situation. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) Live a life of praise and thanksgiving. Rejoice in the Lord always! Live in the romance of a loving and good and faithful God. Scripture says that God lives in the praises of His people. Spend time praising God. Give Him your heart in worship. Scripture says: “Therefore, they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, Streaming in to the goodness of the Lord, for wheat and new wine and oil, for the young of the flock and the herd: Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden,” (Jeremiah 31:12) Is your soul a “well-watered garden”?
The fifth thing we can do to take care of our souls is: (5) Feed our hearts on what God is doing. Do not stumble over what He does not seem to be doing. And do not dwell on your disappointments, or on the people that tried or are trying to hurt you. Scripture instructs us to fill our minds with the helpful people in our lives, the beauty of creation, and all the good things around us. (James 1:17) And, to remember that God is the source of everything good. Scripture says: Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father…” (Philippians 4:8)
The sixth thing is: (6) Learn to trust God and live with the unexplainable. That doesn’t mean that you don’t try to find explanations. But give up your right to understand everything that happens that doesn’t seem to make sense. Learn to trust God with the unexplainable.
We read in the Bible (in the book of Job) where Job, a good man of God, struggled to understand why God would allow him to lose all of his children and all of his wealth and covered him with boils when he had been such a good man and had tried to serve God. Job insisted that God should come and give an answer to him. God was the defendant and he was the prosecutor! Do we ever do that with God?
So, God showed up and assured Job that his terrible loses did not happen to him because he wasn’t a good and faithful man. That there were realms in the universe that he, Job, could not understand. And that the God who knows everything and has all power and who created the world and makes it all work together, could also be trusted to take care of us, even when it doesn’t look like He is taking care of us. That we don’t see the whole picture and still we are called to trust God. Job fell on his face and worshipped God and promised that even if God killed him, he would trust Him. God blessed Job and healed his boils and gave him more children and gave him back twice the wealth that he had had before.
And last but not least, to build up our hearts, we need to: (7) Do good deeds. Be good stewards of our time and money. Help the poor. Pray for others and share the gospel. Take care of our family and be faithful to our spouse. Ask God to lead you. When Jesus comes again to judge the world and when He divides the sheep from the goats, the sheep are the ones who fed the hungry and who took care of the sick. (Matthew 25:35-40). Jesus tells them that when they fed the hungry it was the same as feeding Him. And when they helped others it was the same as helping Him. While we are on this earth let’s be Jesus’ sheep and help others.
Scripture says that Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches. (John 15:51) We get all of our strength from Him. We can do nothing without Him. Let’s go out and walk in His Ways and His Holy Spirit will go with us to guide us Then our souls will be like well- watered gardens.
I took much of this blog from Bill Johnson and Randy Clark’s book “The Essential Guide to Healing” .