May our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus prepare the way for us to come to you! May the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow more and more and become as great as our love for you. In this way he will strengthen you, and you will be perfect and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all who belong to him. (verses 11-13)
There are different ways of being strong. One immediately thinks of weight-lifters with their brute strength. Then there are the marathon runners, who have the strength of endurance. Some people have strong wills, others have strong intellects. The Bible, however, advocates the strength which we get only from God, the strength that gives us the power to withstand temptation and keep ourselves pure.
There are different ways of loving. There is erotic love, which seeks self-gratification in the beauty of another person. There is the strong love between friends which keeps them loyal to one another, and there is the impressive family love that parents have for their children. The Bible prizes most the love we get only from God, the love that gives itself unconditionally to others without thought of reward.
Strength and love, which on the surface might seem like opposites, in the Christian lexicon are very closely related as special gifts of God.
Dear God, help me to develop strength of character, so that I can withstand the temptations of evil, and fill my heart with your love that it might overflow to others. Amen.
by Richard Hauser, in ‘New Strength for each Day’ (LCA, Openbook, 1998)
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