The devil’s really been trying to tempt me to think that I’m a failure. In the eyes of the world and its measures of success (along with many Christians’, I might add), I stink. I haven’t held any job post-college for more than 2 years. I have no pension into which I’m currently paying. I have no savings account. I have student loan debt to pay off still, much more than I’d like to have; we’d all like to be debt free, right? I don’t have my own place. I don’t have my own car. Yet, what I do have is the peace of the Lord.
While in my weaker moments the devil demands that I forfeit the peace that Christ gives, the peace that is unlike the peace that the world gives in that it is NOT tied to a particular achievement or circumstance; it is in my stronger moments that I relish it. I am unwilling to give away my peace, my joy of the Lord, and this by His strength, the might afforded me by the Holy Spirit: Christ’s gift unto those that He has given the gift of faith in Him as God and Messiah. In His power, the power afforded by abiding in Him by Grace unto obedience, I will remain unyielding in my devotion to Him and able to discern the wiles of my enemy, the devil, the one who roams about as a lion seeking whom he may devour. Though his description is ‘steal, kill, destroy’, my in-dwelling Saviour’s is ‘life, life abundant’. Anytime there is an option for life, I’ll choose it by His wisdom and will deny death its course in my life.
The funny thing is, sometimes life might look like death from the outset. In fact, the first step towards life is death. Just as Jesus illustrated in Hus parable of the seed, the old seed’s husk must completely die and rot away that the new life inside can come into the world full force. Like this unseeming little cotyledon, we too have a journey that must begin with death. The Lord commands us, for our own good, that we die to ourselves daily. Sounds like a scary proposition at first, right? Well, I assure you that some death up front, a little at a time, day by day as He commands it, will be much better in the long run than death for eternity and utter separation from God and His being which is love itself.
In my life, which is all I’ve ever truly know according to God’s word, as proverbs says that each heart knows only its only joys and sorrows truly, I’ve experienced the Lord telling me to choose death momentarily that I would have life later on. The Lord would have me to remain abstinent now that I will be prepared to enjoy life with a loving partner that He will make known in His time. The Lord would have me tithe And give to His kingdom work rather than establish a savings account at this time. The Lord would have me to be self-employed and in a place if barter, oftentimes exchanging in-kind services for equivocal goods and services, that I will be storing up treasures with Him, where moth and rust do not destroy. Rather than building up my house first, He would first have me to prepare His fields by working in the many different jobs and churches to which He has called me at various points. I can’t compare my path to Yours. I can only compare my path to the one in my mind’s eye, the one about which He gives me progressive revelation day by day. I can’t give you my peace, as it’s not mine to give, but I can show you where to get it. If you’ll lay your burden down, the burden of trying to figure life out, of wondering where your next meal will come from or how all the logistics in your life will work out, the He’ll exchange it with you: for a yoke of peace. Rather than trying to make your own way, why not let Him prepare a way before you and just follow? It’s much easier to walk in the footsteps of One going before you than to blaze your own trail.
And, honestly, even though it may seem like you’re in charge of whatever may be happening in your life right now, you are serving someone. There’s only two options: black or white. You’re either serving the One who made you or the one who’s out to break you. If you don’t know which side you’re batting for, then I hate to tell you that it’s the wrong side. If you aren’t walking in peace day by day and life is more of a chore than a joy, then you are not walking in the amount of peace and joy that you could have.
Now, walking with Jesus will not solve your problems immediately, nor will it be constant happiness. There willbe struggles to overcome. There will be trials and tribulations, tests of your faith. But even in these things, we can ultimately rejoice, for we who believe in the One who defeated sin and death already have the winning team inside of us. Not by might and not by power, not by charisma and not by accomplishment, not by savings accounts and the esteem of mankind, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord – THAT is how you’ll achieve success. Success is putting yourself last, seeking His kingdom first, and watching the desires of your heart come to pass as the Lord delivers them to you one by one: sometimes through your own hand, and sometimes not, but ALWAYS in the way that will bless others and Him the most, if we’ll just trust Him with that.
In Jesus we are a success when we accomplish His will for us. We can only do that if we’ll first stop and ask what it is. How successful are you by His measure? No time for guilt and condemnation, just repentance (if necessary) and sanctification. Be all Dad wants you to be. He’s provided the tools by His grace if only we’ll walk in them. Nothing less than our wholehearted devotion to Him and His ways is what it’ll take and I’ll tell ya, when we go big we get to go Home. Heaven is the home of the brave, and we’ll find it right where he hid it, at the end of our old fleshly selves and in the beginning if our eternal life with Him, starting now. Won’t we take the plunge by His faith? All we’ve got to lose is sin, hell and death, now and forever!
Preachin to Myself and to You,