Have you ever been low on physical strength? It is times like that when we are incredibly dependent on God. We need God to increase our strength when we are faint. In Isaiah 40:29 we read, “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” He goes on to say that even young men will faint and fall as a result of their lack of physical strength.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: This article was originally published in Issue #1 January/February 2006 of the RU-N-Touch Magazine.
I Chronicles 29:11-12:
“Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all.
Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thee, and praise thy glorious name.
But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.”
Many of the words found in our key verses in 1 Chronicles 29 seem to be synonymous. In some ways they are―power, might, strength. But there are some basic differences. Not so much in the getting of the commodity, but definitely in the giving of the commodity. Might is defined as “physical strength,” the physical strength necessary to perform a function. God gives this and we are in a position to give willingly after this sort. Again, the same principle as before applies. To get strength, we must give strength. Give, and it shall be given unto you.
The Truth About Strength
Have you ever been low on physical strength? It is times like that when we are incredibly dependent on God. We need God to increase our strength when we are faint. In Isaiah 40:29 we read, “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” He goes on to say that even young men will faint and fall as a result of their lack of physical strength. In verse 28 we read that God is the Creator of the ends of the earth and He doesn’t faint, nor is He ever weary. Then, in verse 31, He goes on to tell us how to gain this physical strength from our Lord during our times of urgent need: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
This is a very popular verse, but I believe it is often misunderstood. I have heard people explain this verse to mean that we must sit patiently and “wait,” and then God will give us what we need so that we may mount up, walk, and run without a loss of physical strength or might. But that interpretation would be against God’s nature. Not that God doesn’t tell us to “wait” at times, because He does. Rather, God does not give anything, including physical strength, unless we first give it ourselves. (Give, and it shall be given unto you.)
Realizing this truth, I interpret this verse just a bit differently. We see that the person that is waiting on the Lord is already walking and running, albeit wearily and fainting. I highly doubt God is talking about someone who is sitting and “waiting.” Instead, I believe that God gives physical strength to those who “wait” on Him like a waiter waits on us at a restaurant. Have you experienced a bad waiter before? Of course you have. He is not waiting on you; you’re waiting on him. He is not serving. He is not there to please. He is focused on too many things. He is slow and impatient with you. That is a poor waiter. God is looking for a good waiter. One that does not make Him wait to place an order. A waiter that quickly runs to His side, taking His order and filling it. He serves―with a smile! He realizes that if he “waits” on the customer properly, he will receive a good tip. That motivates his good service to the customer.If we want strength (or might), we must give our strength to God. We must wait upon Him rather than waiting for Him.
I found this truth to be evident in my life. As a younger Christian, I struggled to give God enough time. I would get up for work without giving Him any time in my morning. I would work hard all day and come home dog-tired. I would try to take care of a few things around the house. I then would spend time with my wife and kids, and by the time I wound down from the day, I was too tired to do anything for others or even catch up on my “God and I” time that I had skipped that morning. I always seemed sapped of my energy to do anything with God or for God, much less for others. I found this a frustrating way to live. It did not seem to be the abundant Christian life, it was more like the redundant Christian life. God was not giving me any might or strength, as I was not giving Him, or others for that matter, any of my might or strength.
I decided to make a change. Reading our verse that states, “Give, and it shall be given unto you,” I came to suspect it had to do with more than just monetary resources. Maybe it could include physical resources like strength and time. If I gave God more of my energy and time, maybe God would give me more energy or time, at least make me more productive and happy with my productivity.
To this end, I began to study my Bible and found that God has given the following admonitions in Scripture:
1.) Ten percent of what God gives (first fruits, or gross amount) should be given back to Him. I decided to give God the first ten percent of my time per week. That would be seventeen hours. I did that by making the following commitments that no other opportunity would take priority over:
- One hour of “God and I” time every morning―first thing in the morning. This equaled seven hours of my time. (The RUI “It’s Personal” Daily Journal was designed to help me meet this commitment. As a result, I have never struggled to fill a full hour.)
- Church Services. I would attend Sunday School, AM, PM service, Mid-week service, and RU class on Friday. This equaled ten hours of time. Worship would be the “fuel” that my service to others would burn! (7+10=17 hrs. given to God)
2.) Six days shall a man work. I decided I would work no more than six days per week for no more than fifty hours in a week. That’s five days for “the man” and one for the “wo-man,” so to speak. I would work for my employer during the week and around the house on weekends no more than fifty hours total in a week.
3.) Family time and time invested in others. I could not find anywhere in the Bible that discussed time commitments to family, but I saw indications such as “we should love our neighbors as ourselves” and we must “hate [family] and serve God and others” (See Luke 14:26). If this latter admonition is not to be taken literally, then at least we can be sure that it means that family should not overrule our commitment to God and others.
4.) I would spend twenty hours with my wife and children, uninterrupted, every week.
5.) I would spend twenty hours serving others. This would show God that I love others as much as I love my family.
6.) I would serve others and attend services with my family so that I could add extra time to the twenty hours I was spending with them and teach them the value of worship and service, as well.
That would leave about sixty hours a week to do with as I pleased. I decided I would try my best to get eight hours of sleep per night (fifty-six hours) and spend the rest of the time in preparation and transportation. Thus, if I needed to adjust anything, I would do it in this order:
- I would never steal time from God for work, family, others, or sleep
- I would never steal time from work for family, others, or sleep
- I would never steal time from family for others, or sleep
- I would never steal time from others for sleep.
To spend more time on any of the above, I would have to steal time from my sleep.
My life changed dramatically. From that point on, I found I had the strength to carry out my responsibilities to God, my employer, my family, and to others that I had never had. It was incredible! It was like I was a new man. Before, I would retire to bed feeling half-dead and wake up (running late for work) frustrated and discouraged in my Christian life. After these commitments kicked in (and after much attack from the enemy to get me to compromise), I found myself going to bed feeling half-dead and waking up rested and excited for the day. But best of all, from that day forward I have experienced a productivity in my personal and professional life that I never thought possible.
I had never been an incredibly productive person, but I must say, it is the one thing I receive more compliments on than anything else. God did that! Why? Because I first gave my strength to Him willingly after this sort of my strength, and He returned to me renewed strength. God is the One who led me to do this. My soul would not want to give first. It wants, thinks, and feels it should receive before giving. God is not this way. He wants, thinks, and feels that we should give first. He promises to give us the strength to do this. I remind you that He says in 2 Corinthians 4:16, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” If you serve in your own power, you will be faint and feel frustrated and fleshly every new day. If you serve in God’s power, His Spirit will do the work―renewed, every day, brand new!
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