Have you ever wondered if there is a difference between God giving us strength and God strengthening us? It could just be semantics, but I have sometimes felt that the first one communicates independence and the second communicates intimacy and His presence.
I love thinking about these sorts of things and they encourage me to dig into the Bible and also my own perceptions. First we will look at what the Bible says:
The Greek word used in Philippians 4:13; I can do all things through God who strengthens me, is the verb endunamoo (pronounced en-doo-nam-o’-o). It consists of two words; en – which means in, by, with, through. (See post) and dunamoo which means to make strong, confirm, strengthen.
Together they mean “to empower:–enable, (increase in) strength(-en), be (make) strong.”
This same word is used in the following Scriptures;
Ephesians 6:10: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in”
1 Timothy 1:12: “Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted”
2 Timothy 2:1: “therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that”
2 Timothy 4:17: “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear”
Hebrews 11:34: “of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight,”
God is actively doing something inside of us. A friend said the other night in a meeting about God’s strength, “yes, it is an inside job.” So what would make me think anything other than that? Why would I think that God gives me resources and leaves me on my own to use them?
When I was growing up I was given many resources but not the physical presence of people. I took this into my psyche and into my faith later on as, “I have been given something I better make good use of it.” “It’s up to me now.” As a child I didn’t understand how to use the resources and became very performance driven as that was the only time I got the physical presence was when I did well with the resources. I was thankful for the resources, but I was on my own to use them.
So for me, I need to be continually reminded that God not only gives me strength but He is my strength. This has changed how I do life. When I pray for others I join in Paul’s prayer that “God would empower them in their inner being by His Spirit” – Ephesians 3:14 I want everyone to experience His love, “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge– that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16