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  • Writer's pictureDavid and Marilynn Chadwick

Strong in the Lord: Obedience Strengthens Us

by Marilynn Chadwick

If God be for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31 KJV).

We’ve been exploring practical ways to grow strong in the Lord. Earlier, we saw how King David strengthened himself after a devastating attack by the Amalekites. He got alone and "strengthened himself in the Lord” (1 Samuel 30:6 ESV). Then he courageously obeyed God's instructions. David had experienced God’s power in battle before, so he was certain God could be trusted again. David's obedience resulted in a thrilling victory.

In Hebrew and Greek, the original Bible languages, the words for listen and obey are virtually the same. Hearing God implies that I will obey his marching orders. If I want to grow strong in the Lord, it’s vital that I learn to both hear and obey.

Young William Wilberforce was discouraged one night in the early 1790s after another defeat in his 10-year battle against the slave trade in England. Tired and frustrated, he opened his Bible and began to leaf through it. A small piece of paper fell out and fluttered to the floor. It was a letter written by John Wesley shortly before his death. Wilberforce read it again:


"Unless the divine power has raised you up...I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that [abominable practice of slavery], which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? Oh, be not weary of well-doing. Go on in the name of God, and in the power of His might."


Much like William Wilberforce’s fight against slavery, sometimes God asks us to do very difficult things. Do we change our lives to conform to God’s call or take the easy way out?

Remember, we have an advantage even over King David when it comes to hearing God. As believers in Christ, we have the gift of his Holy Spirit who dwells in us. This means we have access to God's voice in a much more intimate way. We also have the entire Bible available to us. Imagine how David would have felt if he had the whole Bible in his hands—complete with his own book of Psalms!

We must give God time to speak to us. A few minutes each day to read and reflect on God's promises—letting them sink down deep—these are nourishment to our soul. God's Word sharpens our inner hearing of God’s voice. Jesus said believers will recognize his voice. “My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me” (John 10:27).

Has God ever asked you to do a hard thing? Did you say yes? How did obedience to God's Word help you grow stronger? Perhaps he is asking you to do a hard thing today. Maybe God has raised you up for this very assignment. And as Wesley said to Wilberforce, “If God be for you, who can be against you?”

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