What Does It Mean To Be Strong In The Lord?

Ephesians 6 is the most famous passage talking about spiritual warfare. And because I’ve been rolling the idea of doing a study series on the armor of God/spiritual warfare around in my mind for some time now, it makes sense to start there. So let’s jump right in.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (Eph 6:10, KJV)

Before we can start getting ready to fight a spiritual battle, we must recognize where the strength to do such a thing comes from. On our own, we couldn’t fight spiritual adversaries. We need to “be strong in the Lord” to do that. But what does being strong in Him really mean?

Becoming Empowered

The word translated “be strong” is endunamoo (G1743). It comes from a combination of the word en (G1722), which is a preposition meaning in, by, or with, and dunamoo, which is a form of dunamis (1411). Dunamis means “inherent power,” such as Jesus used to perform miracles (Luke 8:46). So this word in Ephesians means to be filled with inherent, active, achieving power. And because we’re strong “in the Lord,” it’s the same kind of power He has.

I can do all things through Christ, Who empowers me. (Phil. 4:13, HBOO)

We, who have no hope of standing up against a spiritual onslaught on our own, can do “all things,” including spiritual warfare, when Jesus empowers us. That means the One who can cast out devils with a word and who saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven (Luke 10:17) isn’t just fighting on our behalf. He’s sharing His power with us so we can fight alongside Him.

Assurance of Victory

King David saw plenty of warfare. While most of his battles we have record of were physical, what he wrote about them can be applied to our spiritual battles as well. It really doesn’t make a difference to God — He can fight spiritual warfare as easily as physical, and I dare say He does both at the same time far more often than we realize.

I love you, Yahweh, my strength. Yahweh is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower. I call on Yahweh, who is worthy to be praised; and I am saved from my enemies.(Ps. 18:1-3, WEB)

This psalm of David reflects an assurance that God can be trusted as an ally. There’s no question in David’s mind that with God fighting alongside you, victory is the only option. And he believed that even though his life was full of struggles and setbacks.

That’s part of what it means to be strong in the Lord — that we trust Him and keep expecting victory even when we see setbacks. Because we know that when we’re in Him, the battle is already won (Col. 2:15). We’re assured of ultimate victory no matter how bleak things look sometimes.

God With Us

What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31, WEB)

There isn’t any power on earth or in heaven that can beat God in a fight. And when He’s on our side, He controls the battles we face. He won’t always shelter us from danger, because He wants us to grow and learn to be like Him (which involves fighting for good), but He does promise to fight for us and with us. All His strength, power, and might are on the side of those He’s in relationship with.

No weapon that is formed against you will prevail; and you will condemn every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of Yahweh’s servants, and their righteousness is of me,” says Yahweh.(Is. 54:17, WEB)

The recognition of what God can and will do on our behalf is part of what makes us strong in the Lord. When the Lord told Joshua, for example, “be strong and courageous,” it was accompanied by the promise “I will be with you” (Josh 1:5-6, WEB). He never abandons us to fight alone so long as we don’t run away from Him.

When we’re strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, then no power can stand against us because no power can stand against Him. As we face spiritual battles, God empowers us, assures us of victory, and promises He’ll be there fighting right along with us.

You just read one of my Spiritual Warfare posts. Here are the links if you’d like to check out other posts in this series:

14 thoughts on “What Does It Mean To Be Strong In The Lord?

  • Good to a point but leaves many unanswered questions like how does God empower me? Does He empower every Christian automatically so we are supposed to experience victory every time? If I’m assured of victory every time, what is wrong with me when I am not victorious every time? Does He only assure victory for some Christians and not the rest of us who don’t experience this assured victory? What about Paul in Romans 7 who wrote that the things he wants to do he doesn’t always do? Was God’s power not on Paul all the time so he actually wasn’t assured of victory? We Christians love to throw out truths without thinking about what we’re realistically promising from God. When we don’t experience them, we wonder what is wrong with us that we don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good questions! This article is actually the first in what turned out to be an 11-post series on spiritual warfare and the armor of God, so some of your points about how God empowers us are addressed in later posts. I’ve added links to each of those posts at the end of this article so they’re easier to find.

      In regards to your question about experiencing victory every time, I’d like to point back to what I wrote about David. His psalms reflect a belief that with God fighting alongside you, victory is the only option. We know that David experienced struggles, setbacks, and even defeats on occasion but he still believed God would give him victory.

      I think David and Paul had different perspectives on victory than we often do. We see a failure or setback as a time when we didn’t get victory, but I think they would have said those are just part of the warfare we go through while heading toward final victory. Christ has already won the battle (Col. 2:15), so if we’re in Him we’re assured of ultimate victory no matter how bleak things look sometimes.

      We might not feel victorious every time in the battles we face during our physical lives, but from an eternal perspective all those who belong to God are assured of victory. And God promises to fight alongside us as we do battle. So long as we keep turning to Him for strength, even the battles that look hopeless from our perspective can be won in Christ. That’s how Paul goes from lamenting, “What a wretched man I am!” to knowing “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 7:24-8:1).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.