Soulbook: The Soul and the Whole Person – Strength
Strength is the part of us that we can all relate to since we all have physical bodies. But, how does God want us to use this physical nature He has give to us? Strength is usually referred to as the physical part of us, but can refer to fortitude or perseverance, as well. When we stand firm against something wrong or show perseverance in some matter of faith or goodness, we are showing strength. Of course, this strength is drawn from places inside of us that allow us to last through whatever problem or test may come, but the physical limits we ultimately reach are determined by how much strength we have in our bodies. That strength can be greatly enhanced and bolstered by the other properties God has endowed us with, including our soul, mind, and heart.
The heart is one aspect of every human that we all feel is tied directly to our strength. If our heart is sad or angry, our body can feel weak and frail. The feelings we have concerning many different things can have an immediate and, sometimes, lasting impact on our physical being. Psalm 73:26: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Here, we see a differentiation between the strength of the flesh and the fortitude God gives; the strength of the heart. In this strength, we can hold on longer, understand more, and relay more about how God supplies our needs. The primary point of this passage is the understanding that ultimately, God is the strength we need to make it through difficult situations in live and also to endure into eternity. Even when our strength fails, God can uphold us in our hearts, which gives us the strength to brace our bodies and throw the weight of physical existence off, allowing us to continue into the more important spiritual life God wants us to live.
If you have ever been sick or physically limited, what does it do to your heart, soul, and mind? How do you move out of that sickness or illness? In the case of many people who have cancer, they report that their spiritual lives through prayer and faith allow them to make up for what they lack in physical strength and fortitude. This comparison is made to great effect in Judges, where the writer contemplates the spiritual strength needed to overcome difficulties: “The torrent of Kishon swept them away, The ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon. O my soul, march on with strength,” (5:21). The Soul displays fortitude and strength in physical manifestations in many cases. Through the soul, the body can be upheld in ways that many people don’t understand. However, this type of endurance happens regularly in the ordinary lives of ordinary people. It’s truly amazing how God has made us with the innate ability to draw strength from multiple sources in order to live purposeful lives for Him!
The mind is part of strength in more ways that we can comprehend. Anyone who has ever heard the phrase “mind over matter” understands that there are instances where the human mind can add to, or even, override the body to accomplish feats of strength or agility that may have seemed impossible. While some instances of the mind taking over during emergencies might be attributed to adrenaline or other naturally occurring hormones or chemicals, the reports of such instances show time after time that in the midst of performing the physical act of strength, the person was thinking with clarity and laser pointed focus that can only be attributed to the single-minded task to accomplish the goal at that discrete moment in time.
This same purpose and focus apply to mind and strength in the life of a Christian, as well. Isaiah 17:10 says, “For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered (kept in mind) the Rock of your refuge (strength).” If we do not use our minds, our strength will fail. We will lack fortitude and drive due to lack of purpose. Through the purpose given to us by God, we have fortitude, perseverance, and strength to accomplish any goal He has given us. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4:13).
Probably the most important thing to remember is Psalm 90:10, “The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.” While the physical part of us is important, it will fail; but, the Soul goes on forever. Our strength sometimes is what we consider to be the most important thing to us, but without the soul, mind, and heart, it is non-existent. As people of God, we must realize where our true strength originates and put our faith there. Only then will we have the strength to endure.
People, in general, contain four properties, or attributes: heart, soul, mind, and strength. These four components allow us to accomplish the work God gives us to do in this life. All of these properties are tied together in several different ways and overlap to allow us to have no gaps in our lives if they are all kept strong in Christ. Through Him, these attributes allow us to compensate to make up for weaknesses in other areas and, thus, accomplish His work. Giving all of these to God is the best way to keep them all strong and for us to live eternally.