Obedience to God is like working out. Sometimes it’s fun and enjoyable, sometimes it’s difficult and challenging, and then sometimes it’s downright excruciating! But always it brings strength and growth.
About a week before we went to Fruitland Bible Camp this summer, I was sitting at the altar in prayer, when I heard God distinctly say, “Finish the book.”
I thought immediately of Isaiah 30:21:
“Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.”
“Cool,” I thought, “I guess I’ll finish the book.” Little did I know what I’d be up against. God, on the other hand, knew very well.
I worked on the book until we went to camp. Then, overwhelmed by the spirit of peace and joy in the camp, I wanted to write about that. I had all sorts of ideas for articles…
Now, there was no cell phone service in camp, which didn’t bother me at all. But our second day, we had to drive into town for supplies, and as soon as we got to the store, my phone signaled a message from my best friend. Her message sounded urgent, and she’d never called me on vacation before, so I called her right back.
She’d had a word of knowledge for me that wouldn’t keep. The message was that I would be bombarded by distractions, but that I was to keep my eyes straight ahead and finish the task. She had no idea what “the task” was, or that God had spoken to me the week before, but I was convicted immediately.
That was three months ago, and aside from the emotional trauma of reliving my tumor ordeal, I have indeed been bombarded by “distractions”: socially, financially, you name it. But, worst of all, have been the spiritual attacks against my family. I’d no more recovered from the last blow, when another landed. The enemy is very adept at finding our weaknesses and finding weapons to use accordingly.
But I’m learning–with the help of Peter in Matthew 14:29-30:
“So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!'”
Spending more time one-on-one with The Lord each morning in praise, worship, prayer, and The Word is making me more sensitive to these lessons, as well as giving me fuel for the day—and boy do I need fuel. What I’ve learned through these attacks is that the problem lies not in the people causing me grief, but within myself.
My Achilles Heal in all these instances is pride. And the reason the enemy keeps going after it is simply because it’s so effective! Every time I’m hurt, or angered, or annoyed by something someone says or does, my focus has shifted from The Lord, to me—which is exactly what the enemy wants. It wasn’t the waves that defeated Peter, but taking his eyes off Jesus.
When you’ve been programmed all your life to look out for “number one,” it isn’t easy to change that focus. After all, we have a right to be respected and treated with dignity…don’t we?
Do you realize that the Bible mentions nothing about personal rights? On the contrary, we are called to a life of humility, meekness, and self-control. Our perfect example of this being Jesus Christ, who,
“being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”—Philippians 2:8
Only through communion with our Lord and Savior am I capable of becoming like Him. It’s well worth the extra time alone with God each day worshiping Him and allowing Him to change my perspective. In the end, He’s certainly more deserving of my focus than I am, and there isn’t anything that can be done to me that wasn’t taken care of long ago.
John 16:33: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
And, best of all, a change of perspective will render this weapon of the enemy useless, making him less likely to use it.
So, what happens when he finds a new weapon? I’ll pray myself over that bridge when I get to it. When it comes right down to it, unpleasant as it may be, each run-in with the enemy is just one more opportunity to exercise obedience; one more opportunity to become more like The One, who overcame the waves and the world!
God’s grace and peace be yours,