Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. (Lao Tzu)
Tzu really described what it is like to come to the revelation of how deeply we are loved by God and then in turn, we begin to draw strength way beyond whatever is resident within us - building and growing until we are able to overcome obstacles that once stood squarely in our way. To be deeply loved by God and to realize even a tenth of what that love is like is to begin the journey of walking with a strength not your own. We will never fully comprehend the love of God in this lifetime, but we have an eternity to enjoy it!
15 Every family in heaven and on earth gets its true name from him. 16 I ask the Father with his great glory to give you the power to be strong in your spirits. He will give you that strength through his Spirit. 17 I pray that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith. I pray that your life will be strong in love and be built on love. 18 And I pray that you and all God’s holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ’s love—how wide, how long, how high, and how deep that love is. 19 Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with everything God has for you. (Ephesians 3:15-19 ERV)
Strength comes through God's Spirit residing within us - his presence is an assurance we shall see all he has promised to us as his children (our full inheritance in Christ Jesus). We can be strong, but unless it is a strength that begins and grows in our spirit under the tutelage of the Spirit of God within us, that strength will falter and fail. The more we begin to grow in God's love, the more we realize courage in places where we once felt only fear or anxiety or mistrust. It is an amazing truth of the gospel - faith brings love into our lives with an intensity and integrity that overcomes all fear, displaces all anxiety, and exposes truth in ways it could never have been known before.
A life strong in love is so because it is a life enveloped in God's love. There is no greater way to overcome a life-debilitating habit than to be immersed in the love of God. It is the beginning of all victories and the end point will require a courage not our own, but one which grows out of the realization of how deeply we are loved. There is no lack of trying on our parts in this thing we call life. We try this, that, and the next thing. We often face the "new thing" we must do with a little anxiety - simply because it is a "new thing". Yet, as long as the love of God is there to guide us through, we can walk with a strength not our own. There is no greater way to invest ourselves in others than to share that love which envelopes our lives. In so sharing, we might just help to create the courage in others that they need to take their first step toward God, or something he has been impressing on their hearts to do.
The strength we find in Christ is something somewhat different than, or contrary to human strength. It is a supernatural strength that is rooted and grounded in the assurance of God's love. Down through the ages, man has stood wanting in many areas of his life. In each place of "wanting", there is a need for a little courage to realize the fulfillment of that longing. Human strength would call out how much we "cannot do", while supernatural strength that comes through the love of God resident within us points out how much he has "already done" and "continues to do" in and through us. It is this revelation that actually gives us the courage to take that next step even when it may seem harder than we might imagine. In essence, when we say courage comes from within, it is true - but it is there because of "who" is there, not because of anything we possess ourselves. Just sayin!
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