The Holy Spirit presents confident expectation (hope) to us. How much we need hope! We can be strong in the Lord. To help us realize the benefit God offers to us, let us think about three factors that demand strength from the Lord. A strong enemy opposes us (6:12), our adversary, the devil (1 Peter 4:8). We have a traitor within (1 Peter 2:11). Sinful desires wage war against us. The standard for successful obedience is high, which is likeness to Jesus Christ (John 13:34; Romans 13:14; Ephesians 4:13). We can become too easily discouraged, if we consider any of these apart from our greatest resource. The Lord Christ wants us to know that his mighty power is more than adequate for us in all these.
The Lord promises himself and his strength to encourage us. Knowing the difficulties will only magnify our appreciation for the help we receive in him. However, what we must understand is that his power comes through our union and fellowship with him, not in the endless processes that Christians seem to love to develop. Christians seem to like or even prefer some kind of stern spiritual regimen to a daily walk by grace through faith with the Lord. If the routine makes them feel or seem like they are making painful personal sacrifices to get close to the Lord, so much the better. “I get up at five… I have a long prayer list… I gave up such and such for Lent… I read ten chapters a day… I serve in a ministry in my local church, and no one says ‘thank you’… etc.” But this might be only playing around with a spiritual regimen instead of sharing one’s life with the Lord and actually depending on him. Please don’t misunderstand. I do read the Scriptures and pray and meditate and fellowship with other believers and so forth. I am saying don’t confuse doing them with the practical friendship with God that is worship. Know this: the Lord wants us to draw near to him personally and joyfully. “Be strong in the Lord.”
The Lord’s mighty power is sufficient to live on (Hebrews 11:13; cf. Exodus 6:3). The Lord’s strength is a remedy in the face of fear (Isaiah 8:11-9:7; 43:2). The Lord’s strength will refresh us (Romans 8:31-32). “He that was willing to expend his Son’s blood to gain them, will not deny his power to keep them. (Gurnall, The Christian in Complete Armor).” Press this hope home upon your soul until your doubts and fears in this matter are settled. The Lord’s strength will be our joy (Nehemiah 8:10), because he wants us to rejoice (Philippians 4:4).
Grace and peace, David