KEYWORDS: god, lord, strength, saul, glory, strengths

What Is Strong?

David Berg

Comp. 9/89 DO 2559

1. While reading through the Letters in this series on Strengths & Weaknesses, you may have asked yourself, "Well, what is strong?" In fact, you may have even wondered or felt like, "Oh my!—I was just learning to understand & appreciate the advantages of being weak, but now I'm supposed to be strong!"

2. Well, to refresh your memory of what Mama has already said regarding spiritual strengths & weaknesses, an excellent Letter to read again is "What is Weak?", which can be found in Daily Bread 3. In this Letter, Mama clearly states:

3. "Some people are only strong or talented in their own strength. They have a strong personality, or they have strong drive, or they're strong in the flesh.—That doesn't mean that they're strong in the Lord. Your strength actually depends on how desperate you are with the Lord, & how much of you you have given to Him!

4. "The Lord made us all different: Some are strong in character & personality, but they're not really that strong in the Lord. Others seem weak in personality & character, but they may be very strong in the Lord. It's not even how much Word you know that counts. It's what you do with it, & how it affects you that counts! What is spiritual strength but being obedient & yielded to the Lord & His Word!"

5. So thank the Lord, it's already been made very clear to us that our spiritual strength is dependent solely on the Lord & our yieldedness to Him. However, the thing that could raise some questions in your mind is the realisation—or revelation—that even our "natural" strengths & abilities are something that God has given us to use for His glory.

6. To make it easier to understand & grasp exactly what Mama is talking about in these Letters on "Being Strong in the Lord," an FSM of Sara D.'s personal reactions to the "Strength/ Weakness" series was published earlier. Sara's story provides a clear example & illustration of the spiritual principles brought out in these Letters.—So don't miss reading FSM #153, as it shows very clearly how "natural" God-given strengths‚ gifts & abilities should be used for God's glory, regardless of how "weak" & incapable you may feel! PTL!

7. But even if you are endowed with many strengths, talents, abilities & gifts—whether they appear to be "natural" or not—what Jesus said still holds true, "Without Me ye can do nothing!"—Jn.15:5. Despite any strengths & abilities you may have‚ your usefulness to the Lord & His Kingdom still depends utterly upon your yieldedness to Him & His Will! To be truly "strong in the Lord," to have the kind of strength that God can & will use, you've got to be submitted to Him & led & inspired by His Spirit! PTL! (The following "mini-comp" from Dad's Letters confirms & makes this principle very evident:)

+ +

8. If you don't stay close to the Lord, God can't use your gifts‚ your genius. If you don't dedicate it all to God & have it absolutely bathed in prayer & the Holy Spirit, God can't even use your talents!

9. "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom‚ neither let the mighty man glory in his might‚ let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this‚ that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord! He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord!"—Jer.9:23, 24; 1Cor.1:31.

10. This was the main difference between David & Saul: David relied on the Lord & gave Him all the glory. He knew he was nothing, & that if it weren't for God he'd just be a shepherd boy out in the fields somewhere. It was God Who made him what he was‚ & he knew it.

11. In the beginning, Saul knew that too, that he was nothing. He was very shy. When Samuel came to anoint him, the Bible says he was so shy that he went & "hid himself amongst the stuff," even though he was head & shoulders above his brethren. (See 1Sam.10:21-23)

12. The trouble was that he soon forgot that it was only the Lord, & it went to his head & he thought it was Saul who put him where he was. He got to thinking it was his own arm that had saved him, that it was his own brilliance that had made him king. So God said to him, "When thou wast little in thine own eyes I did highly exalt thee."—1Sam.15:17. But when he became exalted & lifted up in his own eyes, God had to greatly abase him.

13. Saul is a good example of someone with a lot of "natural" strength & ability: He was a big man, head & shoulders above his brethren, a man of talents, a man of ability, a great leader, a good organiser, a tremendous king.—And God was with him & God blessed him as long as he was yielded & obedient to the Lord. But when the day came that Saul thought he could get along without obeying the Lord, without heeding God's Word or obeying His Prophet, that he could do things his own way, that was the beginning of his end!

14. Saul got so smart, he became a smart–aleck. He thought he knew better than God, that he knew better than the Prophet!—And he became rebellious & disobedient & went his own way & wrecked everything!—Including smashing his own career & destroying his own family.

15. Saul's problem was that he began to trust in his own strength & his own wisdom & his own arm instead of the Lord. Look where it got him!—He lost the kingdom & his place in it, & the whole thing had to be given to somebody else who was led of the Spirit & the Lord & not just his own mind & own wisdom. What a sad, sad story!—But what a good reminder to all of us that none of us are smart enough or strong enough in ourselves. We need to constantly cling to the Lord & continually seek His guidance.

16. Although he was called, ordained, designed & gifted by the Lord, because of his unyieldedness & disobedience, God was through with Saul, & had to toss him on the scrapheap of history!—A brittle, unbending, unyielded, unusable tool who kept going his own way & kept going further & further astray till God had to choose a little shepherd boy out of the field, a little nobody, to take his place.

17. To be truly "strong in the Lord," you've got to be strong in faith—which Saul obviously wasn't. It was his lack of faith in God & God's Word that caused him to disobey & go ahead in his own strength. He lacked faith because he didn't heed the Word of God, & as a result he completely came to nought! (See 1Sam.13:8-14.)

18. No matter how talented you are, how great you are, how terrific you are, what great ideas you have, if they're not God's ideas, you'll fail‚ & fall flat on your face like Saul did!—You'll go the way of all flesh instead of the way of the Spirit!—The way of Saul instead of the way of David. Saul tried to do things in his own strength, & he found he wasn't strong enough. David learned you have to let God do everything!

19. "It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing!"—Jn.6:63. Regardless of all of your gifts‚ talents & strengths, without the Lord's anointing & inspiration, you'll never be as greatly used by God as He wants you to be!—What makes you & your accomplishments really great is the greatness God gives—His Spirit, His inspiration.

20. Like Saul, the churches today are another example of seeming strength & might.—They appear to have everything. But they're one Hell of a failure because they've lost the Spirit!—They have no anointing or power, no real emotion.—The fire's gone!

21. What good is a furnace when its fire goes out? It's cold & dark & useless! It's still all there—just no fire. Regardless of all of its intricate parts & wonderful abilities & marvelous design‚ without the fire, it's dead, cold & dark!

22. So all that to say, whether your talents & strengths are many or few, to truly be used of the Lord to bring His life, light & warmth to others‚ you must be yielded & obedient to Him!—That's the key!

23. So what is strength?—True strength, Godly strength, strength that God can use for His glory?—It's the result of believing God's Word, yielding to God's Will & obeying His plan & humbly fulfilling the role He has for you! GBY as you yield to Him & let Him have His way in your life! PTL!