Week 7 // What Strengthens You?
When you look at a tree, one of the first things that stands out to us is the trunk, which represents the tree’s strength. Without the trunk a tree won’t stand, endure, or grow. Without a trunk there won’t be any branches, and there won’t be any fruit.
A tree’s strength rests primarily in its trunk. There are two specific areas of the trunk that keep it strong so it can endure–the heartwood and the bark. The heartwood’s main role is to form a sturdy center for the tree so that it will not bend in the storm, and to create a barrier from insects and decay. The bark acts as a suit of armor to protect the tree as well. We are similarly called to take up the armor of the Lord, and to have an inner strength so that we might withstand the attacks of the enemy.
The Bible says, “If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength” (Proverbs 24:10). Just as a tree endures the elements through varying seasons, violent weather, and unexpected shifts in the atmosphere, God wants us to do the same. The result of our faithful fight to withstand and resist will be branches that produce fruit!
Questions for Meditation
- One of the things we need strength for is against the enemy. We have an enemy who works in the dark, and his mission is to deceive, distract, and most of all, undermine our ability to bear fruit. What are some ways that the enemy has tried to deceive you in your life?
- What are some ways we can prepare for the attacks of the enemy?
- Because we need strength to resist the cares and worries that can choke us, the enemy tries to get us to live in the world of “what ifs” and insecurity. How does the enemy attack us with fear, and how can we pray against this, and put into practice the strength that God promises us?
- Proverbs 21:17 and 20 says, “Those who love pleasure become poor; those who love wine and luxury will never be rich…the wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.” Why do we need strength to withstand the temptation of riches and pleasure?
- How can these temptations be a distraction from what God really wants us focused on?
- Colossians 3:3 says, “For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” Dying to self is always better than yielding to the destructive. What are some things in these coming weeks, months, and this year, that you feel God is calling you to put to death in yourself, so that you can really live in Him?