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More than physical strength

It is easy to sit up and take notice. What is difficult is getting up and taking action. 
(Honore de Balzac)

Strength comes in many forms, doesn't it? Some develop strength because they spend hour after hour 'working out' - honing the strength within their muscles. I am not much of a 'work out' kind of gal, as is probably quite evident by the extra inches I carry here and there. I do have some strength still left in these muscles of mine, as I am still able to wield open that jar of pickles with a tight grip and a little 'elbow-grease'! I know a good many who have a strength that comes from down deep inside of them, allowing them to face some pretty fearful things day after day, like the nurses who have taken care of hundreds and hundreds of COVID-19 patients, enduring the long hours and grueling work of being 'suited up' in all that protective gear. They may go home at nights absolutely exhausted, faces swollen and broken down from the hours and hours of wearing N-95 masks, bodies fatigued by the hours of standing at those bedsides, monitoring every breath, heartbeat, and flicker of the eye. Yet they exhibit the strength to return the next day to do it all over again. Where does this type of 'inner strength' come from? I think the 'resolve' to do something that is onerous comes from having made a choice to serve others - despite the cost. There are times in life when we need to focus a little bit more on the 'inner resolve' than the physical endurance - the physical isn't going to cut it because what we face will require a 'stamina' that isn't humanly possible.

Are you strong because you belong to Christ? Does His love comfort you? Do you have joy by being as one in sharing the Holy Spirit? Do you have loving-kindness and pity for each other? Then give me true joy by thinking the same thoughts. Keep having the same love. Be as one in thoughts and actions. (Philippians 2:1-2)

We belong to Christ, making a strength that is not our own available to us. That strength is sometimes referred to as 'inner strength' or 'supernatural strength'. Not to get all mystical here, but there is something that seems to inhabit us with inner 'resolve' that we clearly know is not there by our own doing. We have spent our reserve and somehow there is more that seems to come from within. This isn't our reserve - it is the fresh infilling of the strength of Christ within! There is nothing more powerful than to be operating in this realm. We are strong because we belong to Christ, but do we use that strength in ways that bring him honor? We are comforted when things seem too hard to handle, but does that comfort move us into action once again? The inner 'resolve' that Christ gives to us isn't just to 'build us up' so we are feeling 'good' again. It is given to us so we will turn again to the task at hand and continue on. 

As a child of God, we are asked to do some pretty tough things - like loving those who may not seem all that lovely at times. I know there are a lot of people who just get on our 'wrong side' in life - it is a fact of life that we won't always agree. As a matter of fact, there are some pretty awesome people I can think of right now who I don't agree with for one reason or another, but that doesn't keep me from loving them. As we examine our passage today, we are given clear instruction to 'think the same thoughts, have the same love, and be as one in thoughts and actions'. That is a pretty tall order for us humans, isn't it? To think the same thoughts is maybe the hardest of all. We all have opinions and truth be told, not all of our opinions are really 'right' or definitely 'wrong'. That is why they are called opinions! An opinion is a belief or thought that rests on ground INSUFFICIENT to produce complete certainty. So, why do we differ over things that are merely opinion?

If we want to be as one in thoughts and actions, we need to allow our 'oneness' to be built upon the things in our lives that are not built upon truth, not opinion. If we commit first to be undivided in our beliefs, with those beliefs being based upon the truths proclaimed in God's Word, then perhaps we will find ourselves a little less focused on the 'opinion' that would otherwise divide us. We would get a little closer to being ONE in thoughts and actions - developing an inner resolve and strength that brings us back time and time again to thinking and doing the right things, in the right way, for the right reasons, in the right timing. Just sayin!

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