Whether you’re a caregiver or a parent; a Christian attorney holding back the barbarians of political correctness; or a homemaker trying to juggle twenty tasks an hour, you need strength from beyond the stars. Supernatural strength. Inner strength. Spiritual strength. As hymnist Josiah Condor put it, we need “daily strength for daily needs.”
We take on too much; but, then, we’re passionate. We overbook our schedules; but, then, we’re committed. We’d rather be useful than bored, but there’s a cost to our ardor. Exhaustion is the occupational hazard of twenty-first-century life, especially for the people of the Lord. Especially in election years like this when we’re standing in the gap of a crumbling nation.
The writer of Psalm 84 needed strength too. He was leaving home for Jerusalem to attend one of the great Jewish festivals. He badly wanted to visit the Temple, yet he dreaded the rigor of the trip. But he consoled himself with this thought: “Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose heart are set of pilgrimage. As they pass through the valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs…. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.”
This verse is similar to another one, which said our lives should be a pilgrimage from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18, NKJV); and another that spoke of traveling “from faith to faith” (Romans 1:17, NKJV).
These verses mark the forward progress that ought to characterize our interior lives. We should be doing better than we are, getting stronger, climbing higher. Too many of us are weakened by the worries of life when we should be fortified by the grace of God. How, then, do we go from strength to strength, from glory to glory, and from faith to faith?
First, let’s get the rest we need.
As we get older and busier, it’s increasingly vital to have a reasonable bedtime, and to awaken, whenever possible, without an alarm clock. Who wants to awaken every morning to the sound of alarm? Life is alarming enough without starting the day alarmed. When you’re exhausted, remember the words of Jesus in Mark 6:31: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Everyone occasionally needs an alarm clock, but if we have a reasonable bedtime we’ll awaken more naturally and happily. In the end, we’ll get more done with a bit more sleep. It might even save our lives. Robert Murray M’Chyene, one of Scotland’s greatest preachers, died at age 29, largely due to overwork and exhaustion. He reportedly said, “The Lord gave me a horse to ride and a message to deliver. Alas, I’ve killed the horse and cannot deliver the message.”
An occasional overnight getaway, a gentle hike, and a day off can keep the horse alive. Your annual vacation (if its planned right) can add years of service. It’s odd to consider it this way, but turning off your bedtime lamp fifteen minutes earlier might be one of your smartest moves of the day.
Second, our daily devotions represent veritable power lines from heaven.
When asked for advice, popular pastor and 20th century Christian leader Dr. Stephen Olford, once said, “Never, never miss your quiet time.” These words of advice should never be forgotten and we should always take them seriously.
The prophet Jeremiah lived in an age similar to ours, when every national leader was worse than the previous one, when fewer and fewer people were interested in biblical answers, and when society was swirling down the tube like dirty bathwater. His secret for finding daily strength for daily needs? Jeremiah 15:16 says: “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, Lord God Almighty.”
When Elijah the prophet faltered and tumbled into a nervous breakdown, his only restorative was the still, small voice of the Lord, which came to him at Horeb as a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12).
By going to bed a bit earlier, perhaps we’ll wake up in time to have our morning coffee with the Lord and hear His still, small voice at the beginning of the day.
That leads to the third suggestion for daily strength—daylong and lifelong Scripture memory and meditation. Scripture memory and biblical meditation are forgotten disciplines for today’s Christians, and the church is suffering grievously for their loss. These twin habits keep Christians going.
Let’s take memorization for example. Choose twelve verses on the subject of strength. They can include Deuteronomy 33:25: “Your strength will equal your days.” Second Chronicles 16:9 says: “The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” Paul wrote in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”