Strong in Another’s Strength

Laziness is not the alternative to living in your own strength. Paul talks about being strong in the strength of another.

  • Ephesians 6:10: “Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.”
  • Colossians 1:29: “I toil [to present everyone mature in Christ], struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”
  • 2 Timothy 2:1: “Be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
  • 1 Corinthians 15:10: “By the grace of God I am what I am.... I worked harder than any of [the other apostles], though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”
  • Romans 15:18: “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me.”

And it’s not only Paul who has this category for being strong in another’s strength. Peter and Hebrews join in as well.

  • 1 Peter 4:11: “Whoever serves [do so] as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
  • Hebrews 13:20-21: “Now may the God of peace...equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight., through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Both Peter and Hebrews move directly from being strong in another’s strength to praising Jesus. When we forsake the sinful alternatives of passivity and mustering up our own strength, and instead pursue power in another’s power, that Other is mightily honored.

David Mathis (@davidcmathis) is executive editor at desiringGod.org and an elder at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis. He has edited several books, including Thinking. Loving. Doing., Finish the Mission, and Acting the Miracle, and is co-author of How to Stay Christian in Seminary.