We often find ourselves in the awkward position where our strength is not enough… where our wisdom falls incredibly short. So what do the righteous do in the face of real opposition? The Bible clearly says we are not of those that shrink back, but we press forward even to the saving of the soul (Heb. 10:35-36). This passage tells us of our greatest need… “endurance”. Endurance is a big word, but we all know its meaning… “staying power”.
Are you… am I one of those Christians who gives up easily? My heart finds no endurance in hype and it will not respond to meaningless rules… do this or do that!
I must become trained in righteousness and fellowship in the Truth that sets me free from weak and feeble mind sets.
In this verse we read about the effect of our pressing into the challenges of our faith… our soul gets saved. I think this literally means that my mind gets stubborn and unless I discipline myself I will consistently “shrink” when I’m supposed to “press in”.
The objective of endurance training is to develop the energy production to meet the demands of the event before us. Someone once told me that endurance cannot be measured until our challenge becomes recognized as a challenge. I think we find ourselves giving up before we even know we are in the race. The Apostle Paul said run the race as one who wins… who gets the prize. He was commanding us to set our minds on the rewards that are gained. When we have done the will of God, we receive the promise. I want the promise, don’t you? Its the reward of my believing.
I am often looking at the struggle like a deer in the headlights, when I should be a valiant warrior taking aim at my enemy. Endure to the end and receive like the victor… Jesus – who endured the cross… that I might be able to carry mine.
I find myself at times feeling very sorry for the pain I see people go through… both physically and emotionally. Times of stress or struggle can overwhelm the best of us and our character is often tested even when we are in the very center of God’s will. Somewhere in the midst of suffering there is a powerful resource for our future success.
The “Sifted” Need Lifted:
At times it becomes obvious when a person needs the lifting power of God’s grace. Jesus responded to Peter when he was sifted by the Devil (Lk 22:31-32) and we must respond to those around us (Gal 6:2). We must become equipped with the Truth of God’s Word for the downcast and troubled. When we give God our pain, He does replace it with joy. It’s so subtle that after our own personal seasons of heartache, we often forget how the comforting Presence of God lifted us out of dispair and brokenness.
Finding Hope Anchors the Soul (Heb 6:19):
We can find hope in God’s Word, because it serves as the platform for God’s thoughts and purposes for His family, the Church. God says to Solomon, “Ask for whatever you want Me to give you” (2 Chron. 1:7). The Good News is that He says that to all His children in order to move them into joyful hope.
Jesus tells his disciples, “Ask and you will receive, that your joy may be full” (Jn 16:24) and He prays, “that they may have the full measure of My (His) joy within them” (Jn 17:13). Isn’t that powerful? Those who have experienced this joy know how amazing it is. It goes beyond our mental comprehension and it lifts the broken out of their painful perceptions… even before it delivers them from their painful circumstances. Its the power of hope!
How do we attain this joy?
Jesus tells us that it is hinged to abiding in His love. “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (Jn 15:10-11) Love moves us into joy, because it releases hope inside our hearts.
God truly wants to lift the broken:
Here are some more verses that can boost our hope and free us to rejoice in our good Heavenly Father:
- Prov. 10:24 “What the righteous desire will be granted.”
- Ex. 33:17 “And the LORD said to Moses, I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”
- Zeph. 3:17 “The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save.”
- Ps. 22:5 “…in You they trusted and were NOT disappointed.”
- Isa. 49:23 “Those who hope in Me will not be disappointed.”
- Ps. 21:2 “You have granted him the desire of his heart and have not withheld the request of his lips.”
- Ps. 145:19 “He fulfills the desires of those who fear Him; He hears their cry and saves them.”
- Ps. 6:9 “The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.”
- 1 John 5:14-15 “This is the assurance we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us –whatever we ask– we know that we have what we asked of Him.”
- Eph. 3:20 “Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…”
The Lord is so tender to those who are of a broken and contrite heart and desires to be near them. When the humble cry out for help, He is quick to respond even in the midst of the confusion that often blinds us of His Presence. He is kind, merciful and wants to lavish love on His children (Rom 5:5). The discipline is only for a moment, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Ps. 30:5)
To be mighty in Spirit is to know God intimately and to experience the power of His grace daily over pain, fears and struggle. It is a process of establishing more than how a person feels, because it is based upon the fruit that is released when the sifting occurs. It is being sensitive to the purposes of God that aim to advance His Kingdom even in those seasons when mystery is more evident than revelation. Our trials are putting courage into our bones and transforming us to become mighty in Spirit! (2 Cor. 4:16-17) There will always be trouble, but the grace to arise is more than equal to the task of lifting the broken. To be mighty in spirit… is to understand what it means to be “renewed daily”!
To be mighty in Spirit… comes as we know God intimately and experience the power of His grace daily over pain, fears and struggle.
On the Day of Pentecost, 120 disciples (committed followers of Jesus) were amazingly touched by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). This fulfilled the promise Christ had made to them a few days earlier. He said, “John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:4-5).
Jesus calls us to become completely immersed in the Holy Spirit’s power and influence (Lk 24:49). We must recognize that this initial experience of being baptized (immersed) in the Holy Spirit is only the beginning of a lifelong experience. The point is that there is always more! God wants us to remain filled with the Holy Spirit… to remain under His influence. Many accused the disciples of being drunk after the initial experience in the upper room, because there seemed to be no explaining their unusual behavior.
“Don’t be drunk with wine…” says Paul, “but be filled with the Holy Spirit!” (Eph. 5:18)
Perhaps another analogy would help to clarify. As Christians we could be compared to a “reservoir” for producing electrical power, like Hoover Dam. When we accept Christ, construction of our reservoir is complete. We now have the potential to be useful and to affect lives. Yet until the flood gates are opened and the cascading river waters pour through, no power is available. So it is when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit… the flood gates open.
We yield our lives to God and the Holy Spirit pours into us and through us… like power stations. It is then that we become most effective in God’s service. As with the reservoir, this power-generating experience is not intended to be a one-time occurrence. It is to be an ongoing process… a flow. When our spiritual power runs low, we need to return to the Source and let the Holy Spirit pour into us again, bringing fresh power.
Keep on being filled – over and over again!
This happened to the early followers of Jesus. They had already been baptized in the Spirit; but later, when persecution arose, they needed a new surge of spiritual power; so they prayed to the Lord once again and “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:31). Even the building was shaken. As the Spirit-filled believer serves the Lord, there is an expenditure of spiritual power. It becomes necessary for us to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, in order that His power may be replenished in us.
Spiritual growth is measured by our capacity to flow in the anointing.
Here is the secret of Spirit-filled living… Stay Immersed! The Spirit-filled life is a continuous process of receiving and giving. We were all made to drink of this One Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13). The secret is like breathing… being filled and pouring out to others, of receiving power from God and spending it in Kingdom ministry.
Jesus said “freely you receive, freely give” (Mt 10:8).
I hear this phrase quite often from the people I pastor. What they are communicating is the irresistible nature of God. He has captured our hearts! There is a powerful pull upon our hearts when we begin to see Him for who He really is. It makes Him irresistible to the hungry… and “living water” to the thirsty (Jn. 4:10).
David said… “Oh God You are my God, early will I seek You. My soul thirsts for You, My flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You.” (Ps. 63:1-3)
The high calling of Christianity is to know Christ intimately! To know Christ is to know the Father (Jn 14:9). Knowing Him is not about what we do for Him, but about our pursuit of Him. Our aim is for a spiritual relationship that gives us life, it revives us and releases fullness of joy, establishes peace that rises above our understanding. Imagine a faith that comes easy, because love so fills the heart that God becomes easy to obey.
Don’t Stop Following Him!
Our problem seems to be that somewhere along the way we stopped following Him and began to follow doctrine and traditions of man. We became “churchy” and religious; rather than friends and co-laborers. We need a heart-rending revival of intimacy that calls us back to behold the face of Jesus (2 Cor 4:6). To recover our first love, we must look into the eyes that captured our hearts in the beginning.
- God is irresistible… beyond any human definition.
- God is irresistible… there’s no better place to be than in His Presence.
- God is irresistible… and early we shall seek Him and consistently we shall follow.
“One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the House of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in His Temple.” (Ps. 27:4)
Psalm 110 is the most frequently quoted Old Testament passage in the New Testament. In this Psalm we get a picture of God as the Authoritative Father (Jehovah) speaking to His Son Jesus with crisp prophetic resolve…
“Come have a seat My Son, while the plans We worked out together before the creation of the world, reach their fulfillment”.
You might ask… why, out of all the ancient promises, did the first disciples turn to this text time and time again? The answer comes out of the fact that this Scripture gave them their purpose. This one text spoke more clearly than any other about how they understood themselves. They saw God at work in them… His Church – “Zion”. They embraced their assignment as God’s “rod of strength”; sent with a task and an anointing of power… “till I make Your (Jesus’) enemies Your footstool”.
Psalm 110 pinpoints the single greatest reality unfolding around us today…
the Kingdom of Heaven is forcefully advancing and men of violence are laying hold of its treasure (Mt 11:12).
Its drama helps us interpret both the front page of our newspapers as well as the frontlines of our battle. It reinforces the idea that people and events everywhere are being woven into the Kingdom plans for planet Earth… whether they know it or not. No matter how far from the center of God’s heart we may seem to be, Christ’s influence has its grip on every human domain. History is not moving in a vacuum; because God has a purpose in these last days to release an army of Saints to call out in the streets.
At “His footstool” we can watch history pursuing one increasing priority; not to have more church buildings or religious meetings… but to see God’s Son “rule in the midst of His enemies!” The enemies of Christ will fall, they will become the footstool beneath His feet and life upon this planet will change.
The Apostle John wrote, “…the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev 11:15).