When I was younger, I enjoyed sprinting in races and won them with ease. I found the short burst of energy exhilarating. Grueling marathon distances are an entirely different dynamic. Because of the sheer duration there are many more opportunities to become injured, stumble, fall, lose focus, get weary and quit .
Our Christian journey is compared to a marathon race with good reason. Unless one passes on shortly after being born again, we will encounter many obstacles to our walk and faith. It is imperative that we prepare to endure, come what may, as we “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”.
Some obstacles will be internal others external. All are potentially, detrimental, so the Lord instructs us to “take heed to yourselves”. It means to be aware of our thoughts and actions in light of God’s word and will. Also, be certain to adjust ourselves accordingly. Reference the good vs evil servant, the five foolish virgins or seeds sown on stony or thorny ground, ( Matthew 24:42-51; Matthew 25:1-13; Mark 4:14-20) . Jesus say’s that, “He that endures to the end, the same shall be saved”, (Matthew 24:13).
The word of God, the Holy Spirit, fellowship with sincere believers and joy equip us to endure. “The joy of the Lord is your strength”! Don’t let the devil steal your joy. The tempter came after the people and things that brought Job pleasure in an attempt to get Job to lay down his faith and abandon worship.
Your faith is ultimately what he wants to destroy through trials small and large. Because, “without faith it is impossible to please Him”. Be aware that he will use whatever or whoever he can to play games with your mind. Job was shaken, but his faith endured.
AN OBSTACLE TO JOYFULNESS
Our Christian walk, though encumbered by our mortal bodies with it’s appetites, would be an easier undertaking if not for difficult interactions we encounter with some fellow human beings. Co-workers, neighbors, family, even bothers and sister in Christ can try our very souls. Jesus himself endured disciples that faltered, neighbors and family that rejected His purpose and Judas who betrayed Him.
Your God is acutely aware of every plot, scheme, ambush and evil intent planned and designed to jade you. These attacks may come directly to play on your mind, emotions, or flesh as they did Christ in the wilderness; or through the enemies you will face in life. Be still…….. let Jesus, through the Holy Spirit strengthen your inner man so that you may keep the faith and finish your race.
WHAT TO DO
Wait on the Lord and be of good courage. He will make the darkness light before you. Do not confuse the Lords seeming inactivity for Him being unaware or unconcerned with what causes you pain. Perhaps he is giving your detractors space to change their ways, as He thankfully gives us all. Never equate getting by, with getting away. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap, (Galatians 6:7).
Because of His great love for humanity, the Lord wants to spare your enemies of harsh chastisement; which is why He commissions us to pray for them where ever they may be found. “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you”, (2 Thessalonians 1:6). Your prayers, as a minister of reconciliation, maybe the very thing that turns them around and extends God’s mercy. And there is a blessing in it for you. God blessed Job doubly when he prayed for his companions, who added to his misery.
And who is your enemy? Anyone who wishes you harm in their heart and works to that end. Anyone whose actions diminish, malign, subjugate, dishearten or humiliate you in any way. They have set themselves against you as an enemy; an obstacle to be overcome. Particularly if their actions are with malice of forethought or veiled contempt. You may feel all alone, but the Lord takes it quite personally. “Saul, Saul why persecuteth thou me”.
So how can you run your race with joy when life is full of irritants and obstacles? Well, by remembering and utilizing the mighty spiritual weapons in our God given arsenal. Some of which are continual prayer, fasting, praise, worship, singing, waiting on the Lord, and confessing the Word of God. Engaging in these, purposefully, will restore your peace and strength to continue your Christian journey with joy, to the glory of God.
Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. He is your defense. He delivered Joseph of his brothers jealousy, David of Saul’s treachery, Daniel and his companions from the pride of Nebuchadnezzar and Darius. By keeping your faith and joy your end will be far better than your beginning. He will deliver you from, in or as you move through life’s difficulties! And He promises you eternal rewards that are beyond our current comprehension.
He will do any combination of three things as you stand; strengthen your heart, change their heart or rectify the wrongs in His divine way and time. Either way you win. “In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer He has overcome the world”. “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice”(Philippians 4:4-8).
Confess for yourself today; He makes me to lie down in green pasture. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my souls. Through Jesus (Yeshua) I will run through troops and leap over walls! A thousand shall fall at my side and ten thousand at my right hand. The Lord is my helper. You are worthy Oh Lord, to receive glory and honor at all times, Amen. Believe it!
By Z Hunt
Photo of Runners Feet courtesy of http://www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Copyright © 2015
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