For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.(Philippians 2:13)
After 70 years in exile, the people of Israel return to Jerusalem and start rebuilding the Temple. But times are hard, and they’re facing opposition from the people in the area, so they give up and decide to focus on rebuilding their own lives instead. In comes Haggai the prophet. Through him, the LORD encourages the people to rise up, and finish building His house, literally stirring up their hearts and moving them to go at it, full force! (Haggai 1)
As Jesus is preparing himself and his disciples for what’s about to happen, he prays for them, that God would strengthen their faith so they wouldn’t fall away and give up, even though they would stumble for a little bit. Then, he takes them to Gethsemane, his usual spot, and cries out to God in agony and fear! So God sends an angel to strengthen and encourage His Son, and he prays even harder, surrendering to his Father’s will! (Luke 22:31-46)
Following Jesus is absolutely amazing and fulfilling, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard. Saying “not my will, but Yours be done,” that’s hard work. That takes grit that we don’t always have. Nobody knew that more than Jesus. He humbled himself in obedience to the point of dying on a Roman torture device for others, and that’s why He is the perfect person to strengthen and encourage us when we’re being called to pour ourselves out. He stirs up our hearts, moving us to brave hardship and pain for His sake! The hope and promise on the other side is worth the dirty work we do on this side.
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!(2 Corinthians 4:17)