I was thinking over the weekend about all the new places, people and activities that I have had to pursue since we began the various tests and doctor’s appointments for my wife beginning in Tulsa in 2007. You talk about stretching one’s comfort zone!
Through it all I have come to realize that it takes all kinds of strength to do all the things that we face and/or are called to do in this life. The word ‘strength’ is defined in Dictionary.com as “The quality or state of being strong; bodily or muscular power or vigor; mental power, force or vigor; moral power, firmness or courage; the power of resisting force, strain, wear, etc.” From that definition you can see that it covers a whole spectrum of human expression from the physical to the mental and into the spiritual part of man.
And speaking of strength… I discovered this weekend that it also takes strength to consistently live within the parameters of God’s love. This truth was opened up to me as I continued to look at Paul’s prayer about Christian love in Ephesians chapter three. You might not realize it from reading verse 18 out of the King James Version where it talks about us being “able to comprehend with all the saints” but when you look at other translations you’ll notice a subtle change. Most other versions talk about having the strength to experience “the extravagant dimensions of God’s love” (Ephesians 3:18 The Message Bible)
The Literal Translation of the Holy Bible (LITV) states concerning the previous verse where Paul spoke of being “rooted and founded in love,” (Ephesians 3:17 LITV) “that we may be given strength to grasp with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and depth and height and to know the surpassing knowledge and love of Christ that you may be filled to all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-18)
Upon further examination I found out that the word translated “able” in the KJV actually refers to the ability “to have full strength and/or be entirely competent.” (Strong’s) I guess if we were living in 1611 we most likely would have understood that, but with the changes that have occurred in the English language over the years, I find it good to have a multiplicity of modern translations around when I study with the KJV.
But… think about that for a moment. Paul was telling us that it takes strength to walk in the God kind of love! How do you feel about that? I have mentioned the struggles I have had over this journey with my wife’s health concerning some of the negative things that have happened to us over the years and how surprising and tough it has been to witness my own inner feelings of anger and unforgiveness.
A friend of mine posted something on Facebook last night that said in effect, that to forgive an individual for a wrong is easy, but to trust them again takes a long time… and my personal experience agrees whole heartedly with that statement! But I guess that is where the strength that Paul talks about comes in… wouldn’t you agree? It takes strength to forgive and maybe even greater strength to cautiously open up the doors to trust again.
My recent experience says that the forgiveness AND the reestablishment of trust are all part of the process of walking in God’s love… and let me say… it ain’t easy folks! That’s what I think Paul meant when he implied that it takes the kind of strength that affects the whole man to walk the path toward the accomplishment of this task… the task that is assigned to all of us Christians… THE TASK OF WALKING IN GOD’S LOVE!
We’ll explore this kind of strength some more throughout this week, so stay tuned! I’d also be interested to hear about some of your actual experiences concerning this subject. So… have a great week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Am I expecting to have the strength it takes to walk in God’s love today?”