“Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12 NIV
Sometimes life can feel like a never ending fight. Every problem that arises can feel like a punch from a UFC fighter. With every blow you feel weaker. Battered and bruised, you call out to the Lord for help but all you hear is silence. Maybe it’s time to just tap out. If you tap out maybe the attacks will stop because you would no longer be a threat to the enemy. You could finally get some peace.
So, you make the decision to stop praying and reading the Bible as much as you used to but the attacks still come. Ok, so maybe, you should stop going to church for a little while. The attacks only become worse. At this point, you’re becoming angry with God. How could He let His child struggle like this?
I’m sure by now, you’re starting to get a sense for where this road is leading. Definitely, no where pretty, that’s for sure. This is why as a believer, tapping out is not an option. You will always be a threat to the enemy because as long as you have breath, you are a potential carrier of the Word of God. You are also a potential beacon of hope and light. The enemy’s mission is to take you out by any means necessary and sometimes that means making you do the work for him. Don’t make his job easier. Fight the good fight of faith. God hears your call and He is already making a way. You just have to keep fighting until you see it.
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:36 NIV
“I lift my eyes to the mountains–where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2
Complaining, murmuring and cursing is all you hear. You turn to your left and your right and all you see is chaos and confusion. It just hit the fan and you find yourself smack dab in the middle of the aftermath. How in the world did you get yourself in this mess and more importantly, how do you escape?
Take a breath and don’t panic. You’ve faced troubles before and you’ve survived. You’ll survive this too. Yes, even if you feel like you might be losing your mind. You have an advantage because you know that you have God on your side. That’s right, the Lord Almighty, the One who created the heaven and the earth has your back. If the same God that parts seas and raises the dead is on your side then realistically, who can be against you? The same God who calls things into existence with just a word from His mouth loves you, so much so, that He knows exactly how many hairs are on your head. Surely, that same God who cares so much for you will take care of you. This is when you smile because you realize you have the victory.
When it hits the fan, it’s time to ramp up your praise not your doubt. You can choose to look crazy by acting out in fear or by acting out in love.
“I call on the Lord in my distress and he answers me.” Psalm 120:1
“But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love.” Psalm 33:18 NIV
When I feel invisible and cast aside, You see me. When it feels as if no one understands or cares, You see me. Even when I’m at my lowest and I just want to hide from the world and from You, I’m still in Your line of sight.
You see every scar that has ravished my heart. You feel the sting of every wound inflicted on my soul. Even though I’m scarred and bruised, You never turn Your face away from me. You still love me.
When I think of how much You’ve blessed me in spite of my flaws, I can’t help but ask why. Why would You want a relationship with such a mess? I hear You lovingly speak to my heart, encouraging and comforting me. You say, “you are my Beloved. When I see you, I don’t see your past, I see the future I have planned for you. I don’t see filth, I see you cleansed in the blood of My Son, Jesus. I see the person that I created in My image. I could never turn my back on you.
Thank You, Lord, for being the God who truly sees me and always loves me.
“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me,’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.'” Genesis 16:13-14 NIV
“Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” Luke 5:5 NIV
You’ve been working so long and hard to fulfill the dream God has placed inside of you. In spite of all your efforts, you still have nothing to show for it. You’re not getting any younger and you see everyone else doing what they love. It’s frustrating and heartbreaking. Maybe, it’s time to give up and let go of that crazy dream. You’ve decided to pull your nets out of the water and head back home to mediocrity, but then you hear a voice say, “go out farther into the deeper waters and let down your nets for a catch.”
You recognize the voice. It’s a voice you’ve heard all your life. It’s a voice you’ve come to trust. It’s a voice that always seems to encourage you to do something impossible.
“Seriously,” you say. “Lord, look, I’ve been at this forever with nothing to show for it. I’m tired. I’m hurt. I just want to go home and feel sorry for myself but nevertheless, I’ll do what you say.”
Even though it doesn’t make sense and you’ve never seen it done this way before, you obey and go deeper. When you let down your nets, you’re amazed by the abundance of blessings filling your net. It’s too much to contain so you have to call over your family friends to help reel them in.
That’s what happens when we let down our nets of pride and fear. When we move out of the way and let God have His way, the miraculous happens. The blessings even spill out into the lives of the people around us. We can’t do the impossible on our own but with God nothing is impossible.
“Then Jesus said to Simon, ‘Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.'” Luke 5:10 NIV
I’m sorry. I admit I was too caught up in my own drama and grief that I didn’t realize you were lost. I was given one simple mission and that was to spread the Gospel of Christ. I was meant to be a witness for God’s love and greatness. Instead, I acted no different than someone who doesn’t know God. I’m sure that must have been confusing to see someone who claims to be a disciple of Christ completely ignore those in need. I gave you no reason to follow God or to even believe in Him, with my judgments and condemnation. I never tried to understand what you were going through. Once I received my salvation, I just focused on what God could do for me and not what I could for Him.
I’m not proud of this. I deeply regret it, especially now that I see how much anger and contempt you have for God and His people. I can clearly see your pain and confusion now. I failed you and I’m not really sure how to make up for it. I’m sure telling you I’m sorry is a start and I could tell you that you’re in my prayers but that just seems too contrived. What I can tell you is that even though I didn’t notice you were lost, God didn’t. You were never truly lost to Him. He has always had His eye on you. He has always loved you, even when you ignored Him, doubted His existence and cursed His people. He loved you enough to convict me for ignoring you. His very reason for creating this earth, sending His Son and giving you life is because He loves you. Don’t judge God based on my human imperfections and don’t let that determine where you spend eternity. If I’m wrong, no big deal but if I’m right, eternity is endless.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 NIV
I was promised a land flowing with milk and honey, if I would just follow Him. He said that I would be a fisher of men. I said yes and followed, never expecting to end up wandering the wilderness for forty years. So maybe it hasn’t been forty years but I thought this was just going to be an eleven day journey. No one told me I would have to lose friends and endure suffering. How many times do I have to go around this same mountain, listening to these same people complaining about the same things. I’m tired of sacrificing and I’m tired of seeing people I love die. I just want to rest in my Promised Land.
It’s not even possible for me to turn around at this point. I’ve seen too many miracles to stop believing. But oh, am I tired of walking on water one minute and sinking the next. Seriously, isn’t that the same mountain I saw last week?
I would absolutely love to tell you that I’m ready to step into my blessings but the truth is, I’m not. I haven’t learned to be thankful and have joy in every circumstance, that’s why I keep complaining about everything. I haven’t been able to fully let go of my past because I keep longing for the good ole days, which really weren’t all that great. I haven’t learned to completely trust God because when He tells me to do something crazy, I still worry about what people will think.
God knows the skills and training I’ll need once I receive His promises. He knows the giants that I’ll have to face and He knows if I had to face them now, I would run away. My faith muscles simply aren’t strong enough right now. So, I’ll continue to persevere and go around this same mountain, yet again and I’ll pray that this time, I can finally cross over into my blessings.
“When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, ‘if they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.'” Exodus 13:17 NIV
Despite what the weather may be spring is finally here. Soon, there will be an explosion of colors from flowers blooming and the grass turning green. Even the air will smell sweeter. The warmer temperatures and being surrounded by the beauty of spring may fill us with the urge to clean. However, this spring, let us not forget to clean our spiritual lives too.
All winter we’ve been storing up disappointments, heartaches and betrayals. We may have become angry and discouraged because some of our dreams still haven’t come to fruition. There’s no telling how long we’ve been holding on to our grudges either.
God wants to give us an outpouring of blessings in our lives. He wants to give us beauty for our ashes. There’s just one problem, we have to let some things go. We have to let go of our anger and shame. Let God replace it with love, hope and joy. Clean out the past and let God do a new thing in your life. Allow Him to heal your wounded heart. He is able and willing. Don’t miss out on your blessings because you didn’t do your spring cleaning.
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV