Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
Today’s verse is what sets Christianity off from the noble but ultimately doomed ideal of pagan Stoicism. There’s much to admire in Stoicism. Mr. Spock in Star Trek is basically a Stoic. And you can’t help but like the guy even though his creed forbids him to like you back (or to have any other emotion). People like Spock are often a welcome relief from the Clintonian self-absorption and emotional incontinence that so often typifies contemporary culture. There’s a dignity there that’s difficult not to respect. But, at the same time, we recognize that there is something fundamentally inhuman about the attempt to be infinitely strong and “in control” at all times. This is precisely what the French philosopher Blaise Pascal noticed too. He described the error of Stoicism as “thinking we can do always what we can do sometimes.” At the heart of that doomed project is the oldest sin in the book: pride, the root of all sin. As Christians we are to be strong, but we can only do that “in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” Today, remember the words of Christ to Paul and seek God’s strength, not your own: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)