Skip to main content

From the Pastor’s Heart

When the storms of life come, our response reveals what and whom we’re trusting.

Here at the year’s halfway point, it’s a good time to pause and assess how things are going. What challenges are you facing this year? And how are you getting through them? 

Dr. Stanley often reminded us of the countless ways God provides for us to grow strong in the Christian life. This month, we’d like to share some of his thoughts on that topic. 

We hope they’ll encourage you through the rest of the year and beyond.

How do you know if you’re a strong person? 

I’m not talking about your physical body, but the inner qualities of a vibrant spiritual life. In Matthew 7:24-29, Jesus told a story that vividly demonstrates the source of spiritual strength. He said those who hear and obey God’s Word are building their lives on a rock-solid foundation, while those who hear the Word and don’t obey have a foundation like sand.

What we’ve built our lives on may not be externally obvious. But when the storms of life come, our response reveals what and whom we’re trusting. If it’s not God, we’ll fall apart under the pressure. To help you evaluate whether you’re building well, I want to share a few characteristics of a strong spiritual life.

First, your life must be built on the teachings and application of God’s Word. 

The Bible becomes a treasured possession when you recognize that it’s the Lord’s voice speaking directly to you. Obeying its principles should be a constant in your life, not an exception.

When you consistently feed on God’s Word, the Holy Spirit brings passages to your mind to help you respond correctly in every situation. That’s why Jesus said the Spirit will “remind you of all that I said” (John 14:26). 

What’s more, as you read the Bible, you are “transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is” (Rom. 12:2). The Word transforms you to think biblically about your circumstances. Then you can make good decisions and act rightly in trials.

Second, spending time alone in prayer is a priority. 

Prayer is your connecting point with God and an essential means of strengthening your relationship with Him. Through the discipline of prayer, we learn how to communicate with the Lord about anything and everything. When His disciples needed the strength to stand firm, Jesus told them, “Keep watching and praying, so that you do not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41). A prayerless life is a powerless one.

Third, the spiritually fit see the Lord Jesus as the source of strength in their lives. 

We are continually tempted to forget this perspective and think our strength comes from ourselves—the “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” approach. Yet when the apostle Paul was suffering with what he called “a thorn in the flesh,” Christ told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:7, 2 Cor. 12:9). The path to spiritual strength is humble dependence on God.

Fourth, if your life is characterized by obedience to God’s Word, you’ll be able to view troubles and afflictions as ways to strengthen your faith. 

I wouldn’t change the pain, heartache, trials, and disappointments I’ve experienced, because God used each one to grow my faith. Instead of complaining and questioning God’s love in times of hardship, we can seek to understand His purpose and trust Him. The Lord’s goal is not to remove all our trials, but use them to transform us into godly people and equip us for His will (James 1:2-4).

Finally, our spiritual strength increases greatly through involvement in a local church that faithfully teaches the Bible. 

Believers grow in church through hearing of the Word, love for one another, corporate worship, selfless service, and encouraging fellowship. That’s why, if possible, you should seek connection with other believers in a church body. We need each other.

Each of us is building our life on something—either God’s firm foundation, or the unstable sands of this world. What have you built your life on? No matter what you’ve done in the past or how old you are, it’s never too late to step away from the sand and start building on rock. It’s the one building project that won’t end until the day the Lord takes you home—stronger and better than you could ever have been on your own.

We hope you’ve been blessed by Dr. Stanley’s reminders of the many ways to build strength as you walk with the Savior each day. A few pages of God’s Word, read tonight, will not be wasted. A few moments in prayer tomorrow could strengthen you more than you think. And leaning on Jesus will carry you through to eternity. 

Till next time, God bless you.

For His Glory, 

Your Friends at In Touch Ministries

P.S. This month we recognize Father’s Day, a day on which Dr. Stanley often spoke of his loving heavenly Father, having lost his earthly dad at nine months old. He knew the difficulty of overcoming a gap like this, and the immense value of men who lead others in godliness, righteousness, grace, and wisdom. In Dr. Stanley’s memory, we wish you a happy Father’s Day.