“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.”
“Strengthen” means to cause someone to be or to become more able or capable with the implication of contrast with weakness. Literally, “strengthen” has the further import of filled with strength. God will make us more able to do something and strengthen us for the task. He will impart spiritual strength and thus make us stable during the trial.
The future tense constitutes “strengthen” as a divine promise.
The previous term, “establish” and this term “strengthen,” are similar in meaning and together serve to intensify the idea that God makes us able to face the trials of life. The emphasis is on God giving the strength rather than the believer’s power.
God wants us to have a robust and unwavering defense of faith in personal disaster.
“The same wind will strengthen a strong flame but blow out a weak flame. The wind will fan an intense flame into a great blaze. Know how sublime a thing it is to suffer and be strong” (Longfellow); see Ephesians 6:10. No one truly knows how strong their faith is until God puts it to trial. The furnace of adversity will reveal the strength of our faith.
“If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small” (Proverbs 24:10).
We need God-given strength. God can provide power that we do not possess in ourselves.
“He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might, He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:29-31).
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
God will give us spiritual stamina during difficulty. He will strengthen us in times of temptation. In no area do we go down to defeat as we do in our home life. Most of our failures are right at home. It is humiliating to be defeated right where we are familiar and live the longest.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
“That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16).
“Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy” (Colossians 1:11).
“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!” (2 Timothy 4:17-18).
Sometimes these defeats occur at work, but we are most frequently off-guard at home. The way we treat our loved ones at home is a more accurate indication of our spirituality than how we treat fellow Christians at church. Our family knows whether we are phony or not. They see whether we fake it or not.
The story is told of a man who prayed, “Lord, fill me, fill me.” He prayed the same prayer almost every week, and the congregation got tired of it. One night he prayed this same prayer, and his wife burst right into his prayer and said, “Lord, don’t pay any attention to him. He leaks!”
The place to practice Christianity is at home. You are nice to each other in public for appearances’ sake. Are you icily polite with your loved ones? You appear to be devoted to your mate, but you irritate each other endlessly. If so, there is within your person a hostility that borders on hatred.