“The essence of surrender is getting out of God’s way so that He can do in us what He also wants to do through us” – AW Tozer.
The Israelite army was engaged in a battle with the Philistines. As the battle grew fierce, everyone fled except a few men who stood their ground in the middle of a barley field. And “the LORD brought about a great victory” through them.
Barley was the poor man’s bread flour. Was it worth fighting for? Yes. The battle wasn’t about the barley, but about who was God – Dagon, the god of the Philistines or the LORD, the God of the Israelites. What an awesome witness for the LORD that victory was!
Romans 5:3-4 states as a Jesus believer, you will also face fierce battles. And the reason is the same, who will be God – you or Jesus. The end result of going through rather than fleeing from the struggle is Christlike character.
Each battle you face can bring about Christlike character. As this happens, people will see Jesus in you; and hopefully, will want the Jesus they see and hear about from you.
Jesus gives new meaning to life’s daily struggles. These struggles are worth fighting through for the person you’re becoming – more like Jesus. The world could really use seeing Him in you right now.
Failure only counts if it’s the last time you try.
Scripture tells us that we are to practice all the truthful things we are thinking, where practice means to press through to the other side.
It’s the same idea when we are told to rejoice in our sufferings as they produce perseverance (keep doing those truthful things) as it results in character change.
In other words, keep pressing on toward Jesus until your life is transformed, despite the mistakes you might make along the way.
Some fear failure so much they freeze and never take a step of faith. But as a famous entertainer once said, “Dreams don’t come true without failure.”
Let your love for Jesus warm your heart and melt your fear to keep pressing on toward Christ-like character. It will bless you now as it lasts for eternity.
“Faith without works is dead.” I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this verse misused for doing something the Bible says to do. It’s as if doing something is better than doing nothing. Maybe, maybe not.
Romans 14:23 states that anything done without faith is sin. So there are times when doing nothing is better than doing something as the something can be sinful or separating you from Jesus.
Jesus said that His sheep listen to Him first and then follow or do something. When Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished,” He meant it. We can do nothing to add or subtract from what He’s already done.
The same act of doing something can be both an act love for Jesus or love of self. What’s the difference? Religion as opposed to walking with Jesus.
One does stuff for Jesus, the other does stuff with Jesus. One does it to get something from Jesus, the other does it simply to be with Jesus. Religion brings exhaustion; where as, walking with Jesus brings peace.
So from now on, it’s not about doing for Jesus, even biblical stuff, it’s about listening to Him and then walking with Him every step of the journey.
How’s that working for you?
As I’ve been reading through the book of Kings, the Lord brought back to mind a phrase He gave me years ago, “How’s that working for you?”
The Northern Kingdom went through king after king with the same result, disaster. Even after God worked a miracle through Elijah to prove that He and not Baal was God, the people still chose to follow the loser, Baal.
You can’t argue someone into the kingdom nor can you convince someone they need to change. Only the Spirit can do it. And, He’ll use life to do it too.
Out of love for His children, the Father allow life’s challenges to get our attention in order to see our need for change. We can learn the easy way by simply listening and following Jesus the first time or the hard way by hitting the same old stone wall.
Are you tired of being sick and tired or angry? If so, it’s time to ask, “How is what I’m doing actually working for me?” If what you’re currently doing keeps resulting in less than Jesus based results, it’s time to make different choices.
Israel didn’t, but we can. I am, will you?
Another name for idolatry is God in a box – yours!
God told Manoah, Sampson’s dad, that His name was “beyond understanding” (Judges 13:18). Manoah wanted a God he could wrap his head around.
This kind of thinking, however, is idolatry. The LORD told Jeremiah that Israel followed worthless idols and became worthless. Why? Idols are man-made, which lowers God to man’s level, in essence making man God.
There will be times you will not understand who God is or how He works. My friends, this is a good thing!
Avoid the temptation to wrap your head around who God is before you act on what He says to do. Instead, through love, do what He says to do on faith. Then and only then will you experience the power who can change your life – His.
Be okay with the fact that you will not always understand who God is. This is what makes Him God and not you, which is indeed good and comforting news.