If you’ve just faced tragedy, if you fight chronic illness, or if your life has been one trial after another lately, I’m guessing you would really like to take this quote and stomp on it. Go ahead. Stomp on it. Write it on a piece of paper, throw the paper on the ground, and stomp!
This saying may have some truth, but when I say it, I don’t feel encouraged. All I envision is a hardened person. I don’t want my trials to make my heart one of stone. I want a heart of flesh. I don’t want to struggle through this life; I want to bring life and light to others despite hardship. Strength might get me through another day, but it is a miserable day if I’m hardened.
Man’s words are empty and trite, but God’s words bring life. Can you hear the difference between the scripture and our culture’s quote?
“…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance character, and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” (Romans 5:3).
How do we make it through the trials without hardened hearts? We don’t make it through according to the size of our muscles; we make it through clinging to HOPE! Where do we get such hope? We get it through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The scripture explains we can bank on the hope of better days (heavenly days) because of the presence of the Spirit now.
We must stand on this promise. Christ has sent His Spirit.
Jesus fills me up when I let Him. But just as I have to go to the gas station to fill up my car, so I need to park myself next to the Holy Spirit pump (the Word of God) and request to be filled up as I read. Just as I trust that the gasoline going into my tank is good, so I must trust that the Word and the Holy Spirit are good, and they are filling my heart for the day.
I’m also filled with His Spirit as I worship Him. There’s nothing like a good dance (in my kitchen when nobody is around) to fill me with Hope. Once in awhile this comes naturally, but most days I have to intentionally turn on the music, raise my hands, and begin my praise. Dancing might not be your thing- the point is, worship empties us of ourselves- our weaknesses- and fills us with Him.
I’ve always wanted to be strong. My dad used to tell me to “get a backbone!” But I’m ready to turn in my t-shirt and jeans of strife for a beautiful gown of trust. Paul wrote, “…I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (Romans 12:10).
His strength didn’t come from his muscles, it came from Christ’s Spirit within him.
I think I need to go to the Holy Spirit filling station today. I pray this post will encourage you to do so too.
Can you tell when you need to “fill ‘er up?” What are the signs in your life that warn you of the need for more of the Holy Spirit?
“But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. O my Strength, I sing praise to you; you ,O God, are my fortress, my loving God.” Psalm 59:16,17