How Strong Are You? 15 (of the many) Lessons On Strength From The Life Of Christ

I watched Brian Shaw win the 2013 Strongman competition.  Impressed by his colossal strength that staggered the boundaries of human possibilities, I listened to sportscasters describe his life and career:

“Brian Shaw. Six feet, eight inches. Four hundred and fifteen pounds. Massive hands. Size-16 feet. Thirty one years old. Perhaps the strongest man in the world. Placed in the top four in The Strongman Competition every year since 2008. He won the competition in 2011 and will win 2013.”

I was sitting at the bedside of my daughter, Amy, five foot three, ninety pounds, tiny hands, size five and a half feet, three years younger than Brian, and barely clinging to life. The previous two years Amy and I had been in and out of hospitals and clinics and rehab centers playing hide and seek with answers to the decline in her lung capacity.

Amy probably couldn’t bench press ten pounds. Most of those two years, she was not strong enough to walk the distances to appointments, tests, and procedures so I pushed her in a wheel chair or she balanced against a walker or a cane. There was a time when her breathing was so weak that she required a home ventilator; a time when she needed oxygen; and some good months, when she could breathe without assistance, yet was weakened in other ways.

But, what indomitable strength! Where did she get the iron will, the peace and contentment, the calm and serenity, the gentleness, the humor, the hope, the joy, the grace, the smile?

Amy’s strength came from a deep, supernatural joy that emanated from her faith in Christ. I ponder Amy’s strength and glean from it many, many behaviors consistent with the life that Christ modeled for us while He was on earth. I mention just fifteen of the dozens that I have listed in my journal.
Christ, fully God and fully human, displayed astounding strength. I would not suggest you model your life after another human being, even one as inspiring as Amy, but to model Christ is not a bad idea:

1. Realize That Only God’s Approval Matters. 
2. Do Difficult Things.
3. Be Thankful.
4. Celebrate Life.
5. Recognize That All You Have is a Loan, Even Your Life.
6. Don’t Waste Your Energy Being Critical or Judgmental of Others.
7. Ask for What You Need.
8. Be Passionate for What You Care About.
9.  Face Your Fears.
10. Don’t Take Your Frustrations Out on Others.
11. Pray For Things That Matter.
12.  Don’t Panic About Tomorrow, Focus on the Issues You Can Take Care of Today.

13. Love God and Love People…”See” People. 

14.  Know God Through His Word. This Is How He Helps You Respond to the Daily Problems in Life.

15. Recognize God’s Plan For Your Life Might Be Different From Your Plan. Be Assured His Plan Will Make The Greatest Impact On The World.

Most of us can never aspire to the title of World’s Strongest Man or Woman. Even a fraction of the weight lifted by Brian Shaw would crush and crumble our calcium frames. But, the joy of the LORD renders to us supreme spiritual strength and the ability to find rest in our circumstances. He dispenses the peaceful, calm wisdom, and commitment to make it through each day’s challenges and to accomplish the purposes He designed for our lives.

This is the day that the LORD has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it. PS 118:24

The joy of the LORD is my strength. Nehemiah 8:10b

I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

I will not die but live, and proclaim what God has done. PS 118:17

About Tommye Lambert

Tommye Lambert is the founder and President of Live and Proclaim Ministries Tommye is a teacher, speaker, writer, and minister. Tommye has written and edited devotional journals, articles, small group Bible studies, church-wide curricula, and is a regular blogger. She speaks at retreats, workshops, worship services, and teaches in a variety of settings. Tommye serves on the Board of Directors of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) as the national patient voice representative for pulmonary medicine. Tommye is currently pursuing a Doctor of Ministry at Beeson Divinity School. After a seventeen-year career in healthcare, Tommye resigned her laboratory medicine management position in 1996 when her husband was diagnosed with leukemia. She entered Beeson Divinity School at Samford University in 1998, earned an MDIV from Beeson in 2002, and served on the ministerial staff at Hunter Street Baptist Church in Hoover, Alabama, from 1998 until 2011. In late 2011, Tommye left ministry service at Hunter Street to become full time caregiver to her daughter, Amy. who went to heaven in November 2013. Tommye is married to Kerry and is the mother of four adult daughters. Tommye and Kerry are active members of Hunter Street Baptist Church where she teaches in Wednesday Night Life.

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