July24Good Morning Friend and Fellow Life Warrior!  It is getting closer to the end of the month and the end of this month will mark the one year point of this devotional!  If you have been reading since day 1, I want to congratulate you on your discipline and persistence.  It would be my hope as well that you have gained much from this study of wisdom through the book of Proverbs.  I would love to hear from you- if there is one thing that you have learned that stands out to you from your reading or if there are three or if you just have a general comment about the effects of this study, please leave a comment in the comment box at the end of this post and let me know your thoughts.  If you have completed the year and would like to continue to gain insight from Proverbs or if you are just beginning and find that reading through this much is a little  to your mornings, I am excited to let you know that I will be adding a page to the website entitled “Just A Thought”.  This page will contain the devotional in abbreviated form!  If this is something that would be beneficial to you, check it out beginning in August

Today, we are reading through Proverbs, chapter 24 and verse 10 is the verse that caught my attention this morning as it says, “If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.”

This may seem like a fairly obvious statement, but it gives cause for one to pause and examine their “strength”.  What “strength” exactly is being referred to here and how is it measured?  This is the definition that Strong’s concordance gives for this word:

  • strength, power, might
  1. human strength
  2. strength (of angels)
  3. power (of God)
  4. strength (of animals)
  5. strength, produce, wealth (of soil)

It looks to me like the “strength” mentioned in this verse is an all-encompassing strength, one that can refer to human strength, spiritual strength and even to the strength contained through being financially stable.  In addition, when researching this verse a bit, I found that the first part of the verse is translated in some versions as, “If you faint in the day of adversity…”  Any day of “adversity” definitely brings pressure, does it not?  And pressure, as we know, brings out that which is hidden inside of us.  The character that has been formed or the lack of it is often revealed at that point.  Many things can be hidden or at least partially hidden when everything is going well in life, but when a crisis hits, we, as well as those around us, will know what work has been accomplished in our inner being.

In thinking of some applications of this; when an accident occurs, are those involved more concerned about the well-being of everyone involved or is there a greater concern for who was at fault?  When in a situation requiring us to be around someone with whom we are uncomfortable, do we overcome that feeling of discomfort and treat the other person with courtesy regardless of how we might feel?  When faced with an illness, do we dwell on it constantly, talking about it to everyone who will listen, or do we look forward to the day of healing and prefer to speak with faith of that time?  Are we the person who refuses to verbally give voice to a positive outcome for whatever situation is being faced, instead preferring to say “Well, hopefully so and such will happen…” or even “Well, we will wait and see…” as if focusing on the worst outcome will somehow take the sting out of such a thing if it does happen.  Or do we choose to look forward to the best possible outcome, choosing instead a lighter outlook and therefore atmosphere to surround ourselves with, preferring to deal with a negative outcome only when it becomes necessary?

Romans 5:3-4 is brought to mind this morning as well as it says, “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.”

My Response Today:  Thank you Heavenly Father for this verse reminding me that I should be thankful for those situations in which my character is strengthened through adversity and pressure.  I want good character and integrity to come out of what has been formed in me during those times and I ask for Your help in seeing any areas in which I need to work on today.

It can many times be a challenge to see adversity as a good thing, can it not, Friend?  Yet it both shows us the level of strength that we have developed within ourselves and it also gives us cause to rejoice as we see ourselves making strides in things like wisdom, character, integrity and compassion.