My strong word for 2023 is strong. When God gave me that word, I began questioning what part of that word He wanted me to focus on. Most of us think of physical strength when we hear the word strong but that wasn’t what He was talking about.
Our nephew, Kalan, is a bodybuilder and competes in shows. In order to win those types of contests, he can’t just focus on the physical. In order to be dedicated to strengthening his body, he also has to be strong mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. If he isn’t every thought, feeling or decision will lead him farther from his goal. He has to be strong in all areas. This is the type of strong God wants me, and maybe you, to concentrate on this year.
God tells us in 1 Cor 6:19-20 MSG, “Didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.” In order for people to see God in our physical bodies, we have to be strong in all aspects of how He designed us.
Run Your Race
Hebrews 12:1 TLB says, “Since we have such a huge crowd of men of faith watching us from the grandstands, let us strip off anything that slows us down or holds us back, and especially those sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up; and let us run with patience the particular race that God has set before us.”
The race that God has set before us is to step into the purpose He has for our lives. The problem comes when we are carrying “the sins that wrap themselves so tightly around our feet and trip us up.” Or as it says in NKJV, carrying “every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us.”
In other words, to run the race God has for us we need to be strong in Him. Instead, we allow ourselves to be made weak because of the things we are doing that we know God doesn’t like, but we can’t seem to surrender.
Leave It Behind
We have to lay these things aside. We have to discard them. Or as the Amplified says, we must be “stripping off every unnecessary weight and the sin which so easily and cleverly entangles us.”
The Amplified also adds, “Let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, looking away from all that will distract us and focusing our eyes on Jesus.”
The phrase active persistence means to have “obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.” It means to have tenacity, determination, stamina, resolve, commitment and stick-to-it-ness!
Tap Into His Power
My word for this year is all about tapping into the power that dwells within us to withstand any kind of pressure exerted against our minds, wills, emotions, and spirits. It has to do with the Holy Spirit’s power to make us strong.
We have to be unwavering and resolute in our commitment to allow the Holy Spirit to lead our spirits. We have to be clear and unmistakable in our trust that God will be our strength. That means we have to be sure we are letting Him be our director and guide instead of our fleshly human spirits which can be just as determined to lead us away from God.
Even with God’s Holy Spirit leading us, we can rebel. We can become weak. When we made the decision to trust Jesus, our lives should have changed direction. However, because we are human, we can still be caught in going after our fleshly desires. We can still be weak.
His Grace Is Strong
In 2 Corinthians 12:9 TPT: “God said, ‘My grace is always more than enough for you, and My power finds its full expression through your weakness.’ So I will celebrate my weaknesses, for when I’m weak I sense more deeply the mighty power of Christ living in me.”
God’s power cannot be fully activated in our lives until we admit our weakness and even celebrate it. We can’t surrender to God until we understand the big thing God is asking us to do can’t be done in our strength. We need His mighty power at work in us. As long as we think, “No problem. I’ve got this. I can do this myself,” we will fail.
I was shocked to learn that my admission of weakness can actually jumpstart God’s power in my life. In Matthew 10:39 TPT, Jesus said, “Those who cling to their lives will give up true life. But those who let go of their lives for My sake and surrender it all to Me will discover true life!” Surrender really means embracing our weakness by accepting God’s strength. We can’t do this life on our own. We need the strength and power of God operating in our lives.
Stop Spinning Your Wheels
The scripture 2 Cor. 12:10 AMP is a foundational verse that helped me lose 250 pounds. “When I am weak in my human flesh, then I am strong, truly able, truly powerful, truly drawing from God’s strength.” Until then, I’m just spinning my wheels. I’m not even staying in one place. I’m going in reverse and getting farther and farther away from my goal.
God wants to give us His strength, but it is of no use when we are not operating according to His directions. I’m telling you this because I learned it the hard way after 30 years of trying to fix myself. I’m a doer. I thought going on a diet would fix my problem, but it didn’t. It made it worse.
When we admit our weakness, that’s when we will see His strength in abundance. Isaiah 40:29-31 NLT: “He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
Admit Your Weakness
God will help us when we are weak and powerless only if we trust in the Lord and not ourselves. Trusting Him is the same as embracing our weaknesses. We throw away our preconceived ideas and trust God to give us the strength to do what we couldn’t do one second before.
This is definitely my story. I could have never lost 250 pounds without God’s direction and leadership. I couldn’t do it on my own. Every step of the way, when God has called me to do something, He has provided everything I needed. In the past, I attempted to do everything myself. Now I know, I can’t do it all. I need God’s strength to keep going and I need His people to help me finish strong.
The Holy Spirit is a dynamic source of strength who lives within us. We need Him to be our power source. “’Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘You will succeed because of My Spirit, though you are few and weak’”( Zechariah 4:6 TLB ).
God to the Rescue
Throughout the generations of humanity, God has always come to the rescue of His people. His promises are true and never fail. His strength is our hope. God’s spiritual truth to combat our weakness is for us to trust Him to give us His dynamic, passionate, persistent strength to stand up to the evil one’s temptations.
We are weak. He is strong. Why do we attempt to do everything in our own strength?
For more on this subject, listen to podcast episode 165, From Weak to Strong. Go here: Https://Teresashieldsparker.com/podcast/
Teresa Shields Parker is a Christian weight loss author, coach, podcaster, and speaker, who has lost 250 pounds and kept it off since 2013. Her books include: “Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor,” “Sweet Grace Study Guide,” “Sweet Victory: Winning the Battle,” “Sweet Surrender: Breaking Strongholds,” “Sweet Journey to Transformation: Practical Steps to Lose Weight and Live Healthy”, “Sweet Freedom: Losing Weight and Keeping It Off With God’s Help,” “Sweet Freedom Study Guide,” “Sweet Change: True Stories of Transformation,” “Sweet Hunger: Developing an Appetite for God,” and “Sweet Excuses: Stop Lying to Yourself & Start Losing Weight.” She also offers Overcomers Christian Weight Loss Academy and VIP intensive coaching. Don’t miss her weekly podcast, Sweet Grace for Your Journey, where she shares tips from her personal journey of losing weight and discovering healthy living. Contact her at [email protected].