Who told you?
Remember when you were little, and you just gazed up in amazement at the stars in the night sky? I believe that as we grow older, we lose that sense of “aw” in the world around us. We become so busy with life, so distracted with technology, that we miss the beauty of the world that God has provided us with. Sometimes, i think we just need to lay down, look up at the sky, and remember that the infinite God who created the beauty we are gazing upon is also the very personal God who lays right beside us whispering and reminding us to “Be still and know I am God.” (Even if we choose to lay down in the middle of the street.)
It ought to be obvious to all of us believers that we are in a spiritual war that is taking place all over the earth — and that we are called to fight in this battle. In the world’s armies, soldiers are not sent into battle before receiving many months of serious training. They need to get physically in shape first and then to learn how to handle different wartime situations and tactics of the enemy.
For us, the moment we are saved, the Lord begins our training for the ongoing spiritual battle in this world. It begins with learning to trust Him for protection as young believers, and progresses through many phases even to the place where we may enter strenuous wrestling with principalities and powers, as the apostle Paul describes in these verses.
Are you struggling in your walk with God? If so, realize that He is training you. Born into war, you are both protected and also necessarily engaged in the battle. Thank God for His protection and His preparation. We need both as we mature and become more involved and useful soldiers for Him against the diverse strategies and tactics of the enemy.
The Lord’s weapons are spiritual; they include a knowledge of the scriptures, the anointing of the Holy Spirit which increases with a devoted prayer life, the courage which comes only with deep trust, and His divine wisdom which reveals His strategy for our present situation.
Realizing that we are in a battle, we ought to reflect on and discover where our weaknesses are. We may already be aware of some of them, but the Lord will show us if we ask Him for more insight. Our part is to cooperate with His development and sharpening of our spiritual weapons. If we cooperate with Him He will always lead us in triumph. Our present trial is the battleground for our next victory.
Ephesians 6:10-12 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Perseverance is the mark of true faith, of real disciples. A genuine believer remains in Jesus’ “word” (logos), his teaching: i.e. such a person obeys it, seeks to understand it better, and finds it more precious, more controlling, precisely when other forces flatly oppose it. It is the one who continues in the teaching who has both the Father and the Son.
Be encouraged that no matter what you have done, what addictions you struggle with, what temptations you face, what obstacles you have tripped over, Jesus won’t ever push you away. But know that it takes action on our part. WE have to ask, WE have to seek, WE have to knock and the Lord will always be there. He promises never to leave us nor forsake us so tun to him just as you are; battered, broken, beat-up, bruised, shattered, torn, doesn’t matter. Jesus loves you just the way you are, but too much to leave you that way. Are you willing to surrender it all? If so, run back to your first love!
I don’t know about you, but it seems that the tests we’re going through are getting harder and harder. Do you remember when you took tests in high school? At the time they may have seemed hard. But imagine if you had to take an elementary school test when you were in high school. You’d probably think – oh this is so simple.
So if it seems that the testing of your faith is more intense – it simply means that you’re graduating to new levels of faith! Our faith is being tested, and as we pass each “faith” test, we’re finding different means of being tested. I suppose in a few years, we’ll look back and think to ourselves – wow that was a hard test, but now it doesn’t look so difficult!
If you’re going through a tough time right now, be encouraged because it simply means that God is graduating you to new levels of faith! The harder the tests, the greater difficulty – the greater the reward, an increased blessing awaits you! Stay focused, stay alert and remember that God is trying to stretch your faith so that you can accomplish even more for His Kingdom!
Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.