Welcome to Welling. This is for your spiritual well-being and your ministry overflowing. When our four-year-old granddaughter comes over to the house, on occasion she will ask, “Abbu,” that’s how they refer to me, “can you help me?” What do you think Abbu will do? He will go to any extent to help his granddaughter. That is kind of where we are as we conclude the session and the series on “The Strong Weak.”
Built around two verses in the book of Hebrews, a single sermon, long one, of pastoral exhortation to a house church, a group of believers gathering together feeling the burden of having confessed faith in the Lord Jesus. During a time of disruption and isolation where the inner fortitude is being depleted. To them, he exhorted in these two verses of Hebrews 12 that we’ve been considering, verses 12 and 13. He said, “Therefore strengthen your feeble arms and your weak knees. Make level paths for your feet so that the lame may not be disabled, but healed.”
He was saying that all of us are weak. But there are stronger among the weak. When the stronger among the weak strengthen themselves, guess what? Then the weak can become stronger for the race. That for the weak to become stronger for the race and calling on you to help them, you will be willing because you’ve strengthened yourself.
Those two verses beautifully divide in two. The first one is
Strengthen Your Will. Individually strengthen your will. Strengthen yourself. But also to a plural imperative. Strengthen yourselves together. Together, run this race. The second part is Straighten Your Walk. Make level paths for your feet so that those who are weak can follow you into the future. May not be at the same pace, but in the same race.
So in conclusion, let me give you a couple of applications. All of us are weak and many are weaker. If the weak become stronger, then the weaker will become stronger too. Since this is an imperative, I encourage you to strengthen yourself in God’s spirit. “Can you help me?” You can ask God, the Spirit, to do just that for you right now. I prayed that prayer before I recorded this talk.
In Ephesians 3:16, the Apostle Paul prays just that. “I pray that you will be strengthened in the inner man by God’s Spirit.” Inner fortitude by God’s Spirit. Also strengthen yourself in God’s Word. It’s the only stable reality in everything that is changing. There is a whole theology of strength in the Bible. For example, in 1 Samuel 30, it says, “David strengthened himself in the LORD.” That’s the source of our strength and the supply of our strength. We are not a source of strength.
Remember that great famous verse in Philippians 4:13. I hope to be addressing that at a future “Welling” series. Rehearse it with me. “I can do all things”, full stop? Period? No. “I can do all things”, say it, “through Christ who strengthens me.” He’s the source. He’s the supplier.
Also strengthen yourself in God’s people. I know it’s been difficult to get together with God’s people, gathering, but there are many other ways we do that, don’t we? Even at this very point. When I reach into you, I’m strengthened. And when you write back to me, I will be strengthened. And I hope that by coming to you, you are strengthened.
Sometimes my family and I are in two different cars. If they know the destination, I support them from the back. I follow them. If they don’t know the destination, I take the lead. They follow me. It’s the similar way with God’s people. If you’re the strong weak, then you go from the front and lead them. If they know where they’re going, you support them from the back.
The arms for the load, the knees for the road. I want you to take responsibility for it. Identify what your role and your responsibilities are. And even if there is a lack of inspiration and motivation at this time, write down your responsibility, pray over it, ask for God’s Spirit, and God’s Word to strengthen you. And make paths. Strategize. Of course with flexibility. But keep running the race.
I’m grateful to have brought this series on the strong weak. I finish with a story I heard from a small book called The Parables Of Jesus, written in 1884. That’s nearly 150 years ago. James Wells, a pastor moderator in Scotland tells the story of a little girl who is carrying a big baby boy. He looks at her struggling and says, “Are you tired?” With surprise, she says, “No! He’s not heavy. He’s my brother.”
About 100 years ago, an organization called Boystown was founded to help little boys who are struggling with life. The founder saw Howard who had polio attempting to maneuver life with his leg braces. And often, those who are stronger would carry Howard up and down the stairs. One such boy was Ruben. And Ruben carried Howard, the founder asked Ruben, “Is it hard to carry Howard?” And Ruben said, “He ain’t heavy. He’s my brother.”
This is a season of where we strengthen ourselves so we can carry the weak. All of us are weak. Some of us are stronger among the weak. When we strengthen ourselves, then the weaker among us can strengthen themselves to run the race together. You are “The Strong Weak.”