Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:10–11—NKJV)

The exercise of identifying your strengths and weaknesses for a job application is a challenging task. First, it requires a bit of introspection and a review your role in all the events of your life. Second, it distills and simplifies the successes and the failures of your career. Finally, it forces you to face the advantages and disadvantages you bring to the new job. Assessing your spiritual strength is also a valuable exercise.

In the book of Ephesians, Paul is equipping the believers to grasp the blessedness of their position in the sovereign love of God (chapter 1), the sovereign work of God in creating the local church out of formerly unregenerate individuals (ch. 2), the unending resources available to them through the sovereign grace of God (ch. 3), the practical outworking of such resources in church life and in the life of each believer (ch. 4), the culture, civility, and graciousness that ought to freely flow in all relationships (ch. 5), and the call to utilize all the God-given tools to successfully pursue your mission in life (ch. 6). Verse ten of chapter six brings the whole book into a very personal focus. It answers the question of where the believer must get the strength to fulfill the high and lofty calling of being a servant of a sovereign God.

The command to be strong is straightforward and yet it has many applications. Strong is not just a show of muscles. Strong is the state of strength, as in having the capacity and power to act. Strong is the quality of being strong, retaining the qualities of durability, forcefulness, the will to act, and toughness. Strong is the evidence of strength, as seen in vigor, intensity of energy, and marshaling concentration. Anyone professing to be strong but failing to have any one of these three requirements of strength will find himself bested in battle and earning the place of loser. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

The seriousness of the need for strength is explained in the words “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood” (6:12). The exhausting conflict of wrestling was not simply a match to test strength, technique, and endurance; it was a life and death struggle where the victor had the right to blind the vanquished, if not worse. The universality of the conflict is why Paul states in 1 Corinthians 16:13, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”

Due to the significance and rigors of the spiritual battle, God makes armor available to every believer. It is a “panoply” (“all arms” for the fully equipped soldier). But the greatest weapons are of little advantage to a weak soldier, and can even create a danger to his brother soldiers around him. Paul calls upon believers to be equipped, first and foremost, with core strength.

This strength is not our own. “Be strong” means to be continually strengthened, rendered strong, enabled (1 Timothy 1:12, Romans 4:20, Hebrews 11:34, Philippians 4:13, Acts 9:22, 2 Timothy 2:1, 4:17). This strength is found in (the sphere of) the Lord God, your governing authority. Only in conjunction with Him do you find the core strength in complete quality, state, and evidence. “Power” is the Greek word kratos (root word meaning perfect, complete—“Creator” is probably related to it). Dominion and manifested power is the idea. For this reason the word is often employed in the great doxologies of the Bible (1 Peter 4:11, 5:11; Jude 25; Revelation 1:6, 5:3; 1 Timothy 6:16). “Might” is the word we think of when we think “strong”—physical power as an endowment, strength in action, exertion of force and production of effect (Ephesians 1:19, 2:1, 3:16-20).

You cannot be a strong believer without all your core strength coming from God. Only then can you put on the whole armor of God and prevail. Be true, be wise, and be strong. Trust and obey.