Today’s Scripture: …be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13d

If we are to have success, we must be strong. We must not waiver or give in when things get hard. We need to be willing to stand up for the things that are true even in the face of adversity. If we are steadfast in the faith, there will be people who will oppose us. We are told in Jude to “earnestly contend for the faith.” (Jude 3) If we are to contend, that means there will be opposition to fight against. That is why we need to be solid and strong.

A story that I believe wonderfully illustrates what it means to be strong is the story of the Forty Martyrs of Sebaste. The story takes place in 320 A.D. An order went out to offer a sacrifice to one of the pagan gods of the emperor. Forty soldiers of the 12th Legion would not worship the false god. They responded to the command by saying, “You can have our armor, you can even have our bodies, but our hearts’ allegiance belongs to Jesus Christ.” They were stripped of their clothes and led out onto a frozen lake to spend the night that they might freeze to death. Warm baths had been prepared for any who would return and renounce Christ. Faced with certain death, they remained strong. However, one man crawled back to camp and renounced Christ. If one gave up, you may ask how they could be known as the 40 martyrs of Sebaste. One of the guards who was to watch them, saw their dedication to the Lord and declared himself to be a Christian, removed his clothing, and went out to meet them on the lake. In the morning, the forty men were dead having died for their faith.

These men stayed strong, and that’s what God wants for you. We need to stand for the things we know are true. Our strength lies not in ourselves but in God. The Apostle Paul found that strength is found by having the power of Christ in our lives. We are strong when God’s power can shine through us. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” God had told him that His grace was sufficient because His strength is shown through our weaknesses and infirmities.

God’s Word says, “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.” (Proverbs 24:10) We must not give up when things get hard. Rather, we must see the trials as opportunities to see God work in our lives. We will reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9) Our success is promised if we stay strong.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.