I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.
Where does your strength come from? That is an interesting question because many people draw their strength from a number of different sources. Some muster up their strength internally. They are self-made individualists who do life on their own. Instead of being beaten down by life, they try to rise to the occasion in triumph. Others find strength in their tribe of friends and family that walk with them through the storms of life. The sense of community is what they draw their power from. There are also people who find strength through different products or possessions. They take extra-strength Tylenol, 5-hour Energy, Rogaine, or a whole host of other products in order to find strength. People can look to themselves, to others, or temporary, quick fix remedies, but how often do we look to God for strength?
When Paul was writing to the church in Philippi, he knew exactly where true strength came from. He knew that no matter what your circumstances are, God is the One who gives people strength. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that God fills us with grit and determination to thrive. This power is available to us when we connect with Him regularly. Jesus reminded the disciples in John 15:5, "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in Me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing." Jesus knew that the Holy Spirit was coming to fill His followers with strength. He knew that with this power, we would bear much fruit. He also knew that if we refused to plug into this power source that we would wither away to nothing. Paul wanted the people to understand that true strength comes not from your circumstances, your friends, or yourself, but through the power of the Holy Spirit flowing through you.
If God is the One that gives true strength, how are you doing with this? Are you thriving in your life or are you withering away to nothing? Jesus is the true vine. Maybe it is time for you to plug into the power the Holy Spirit offers so you can bear fruit.
Think through where your own strength is coming from right now. List in the notes section a few of the places that you are getting strength from. After you list them out, think through what place the Holy Spirit has in giving you strength. Then write out some ways that you can stop relying on your own power and then start looking to Him.
Read John 15:1-17 (NLT)
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other.