Sometimes, the only thing that will help is a hard reset. That’s how I felt as I poured my coffee at 4:45 am this morning. Sometimes, we just trust in our flesh a little too much. Of course, that’s always the case, spiritually speaking. We try to “go it alone” a lot more than we allow ourselves to rest in him. But that’s par for the course. There’s a war going on, and we have to be on one side or the other.
Have You Ever Just Felt Tired?
I was tired yesterday. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. I just felt completely worn out. And I don’t normally own up to any of that. I take pride in being able to handle myself and my business. Not for the sole purpose of BEING prideful, mind you, it’s just something I’ve learned over the years.
If there’s anything at all I have come to know in the past few years, though, it is that my help comes from the Lord. Only He can solve the things that I can’t. Having a best friend to call, or run things by is great. It will save your sanity, at times! Having someone to confide in can turn the tide. But, the Bible also says that we should never trust in the flesh. Just listen to what Jeremiah had to say about it…
“Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.”
God Help Us
The above Scripture is pretty clear. Anyone that trusts in flesh will be left “high and dry” so to speak. The Bible likens them to a partridge that sits on her eggs, and they never hatch. Can you imagine? All the work of your hands, all the toil and labor of the mind, coming to absolutely nothing? I’ve been there, and it felt awful!
And yet, that’s what so many people trust in! Self!
On the other hand, God says that those who trust in God will be like a tree planted by the waters, that spreads out roots by the river. Do you know what that means? It means, your source, your sustenance, the very thing that keeps you alive will never run dry! The heat will surely come, and drought is always looming, but that tree that has deep roots by a flowing river of water will never have to worry about it. And it will never stop bearing fruit!
My God, what a good word!
Life Is Short
I have said goodbye to a lot of loved ones already in less than 45 years. Some, many of them in fact, didn’t make it to the age I am now. My brother was all of 31 years old when he died. One of my best friends had only just turned 30 when she was murdered. And it’s not fair, we say. That surely felt like a gut-punch to me!
There are always more questions than there will ever be answers for. I’ve learned that to be so true.
But one fact remains. It cannot be denied, even if we turn the thought over in our head at the ripe old age of 90. Or 100. Or 110. No matter how long we live, that time is short in terms of the overall picture. The Bible says it is like a vapor (James 4:14), appearing for a short time only to vanish away. But praise God, there’s more to the story than that!
Check this out…
There’s An Eternity Somewhere
1 Peter 1:4 says we have an inheritance that doesn’t fade away, but it’s reserved for ever for us in heaven. THAT is what matters. Not the trivial pursuits we find to put our hand to on this earth. But don’t get me wrong…we are called ambassadors here on this earth. That means we represent our home country, as Christians, and should act accordingly.
What we do here does matter. Are we sharing the good news? Because, my God, it is such good news! And there are hurting people everywhere that need to hear it! Yet, there are churches full of “heaven bound” people who do not realize the magnitude of their position, nor do they care to reach out a hand when needed. They simply don’t realize that “there’s more to it” than meets these fleshly eyes.
Of course, that’s not to say that I’ve got it all together myself. I still stumble. I still fall. And I still wail and cry out to God, in the flesh. Even Jesus, God Himself wrapped in flesh, cried tears of blood, asking if there was anyway to avoid what had to be done: his death, in the flesh, on the cross.
Still, there’s an eternity somewhere. And He knew that we would all fall desperately short of the mark without the work that only He could do.
What We Do Matters, But…
The Bible says we will give account for every idle work we speak (Matthew 12:26). That means nothing we say will ever be above scrutiny. That time I screamed out at the driver in front of me in traffic…I’ll give an account for that. Or those times I yelled at the kids for no real reason, other than my own weariness…I’ll give an account for that too. And each and every time I spoke out of line, or said something about a matter I might not have had all the fact about, those will be dealt with as well. We’ll have to talk it over with Him.
So, there is definitely a higher purpose to the things we do. We just have to make sure we’re not trying to do it in our own strength. Yes, there’s a battle raging, and yes, we are on the front lines. We were given the spiritual armor in Ephesians 6 that we have to put on daily. That was not by mistake! It is because we have to use it. Our enemy roams around us like a hungry lion, just living and breathing for the moment he can devour us (1 Peter 5:8)! So Peter tells us to be “vigilant” and “sober”.
Your Enemy Knows You
The worst part about our battle, at least for us in the flesh, is that we are not fighting an enemy who does not know us. In battle, the enemy tries hard to find a weakness in the armor of an opponent. Because when he does, his weapon can be much more lethal. A soldier not wearing a helmet is in big trouble if the enemy happens to realize it. But in war, there’s a lot the enemy doesn’t know.
Our enemy? He has an upper hand. He has been watching us, studying us, since we breathed our first breath. Especially if there are generational curses at play that predispose us to a certain kind of “expected” behavior. Because, whose going to blame a young man who has an alcoholic father, grandfather and great grandfather, if he himself grows up to be an alcoholic? They will say it’s expected. No one will be surprised. They might shake their head and talk about what a shame it is, but there will be no surprise there.
Your enemy knows you! He’s watched how you deal with things, he knows your general reaction time, and the actions that follow. And he knows what gets you to your final breaking point. This should, as you grow in the Lord and hide the Word in your heart, come as absolutely no surprise.
Enemy Tactics and You
You know, the enemy, that father of lies himself, has a set list of tactics that he knows how to use. It’s like the sniper who is almost one with his rifle…so the enemy is one with his methodical torture of each and every human being. And being saved doesn’t release you from that. But you’ll notice something, if you stop to pay attention to how the enemy works. He has tactics. Plenty of them. Personalized weapons of mass destruction.
See, he won’t tempt you with things he knows will be fruitless. If you aren’t prone to drinking, he won’t bother making it easy for you to do so. But if you are, you’ll see the opportunity around every corner, because he knows. If you are prone to getting high, he will see to it that there is ample opportunity for you to pick up whatever you need.
In the same way, if your anger flares into something uncontrollable when certain family members act a certain way, you can bet that’s going to be what happens. Every single time. And if the behavior of your children drives you into the pit of deep despair where you even begin to doubt God’s goodness, he will see to it that they act just that way.
There’s A Better Way
There is a phrase written on my grandmother’s tombstone: “Never mind the storms“. I can’t tell you how often that comes to my mind. Of course, it’s meant to signify that there will be no more worry for her. She has fought the good fight and achieved her eternal reward. Storms are no longer a worry for her.
But I have often wondered, what would happen if we were to live that way? With no worry for the storms? Is it possible? Can we possibly live our lives knowing something better?
The answer is a resounding yes!
Now, that doesn’t mean that there won’t BE storms. As long as we are on this earth and as long as we call this house of clay our home, we will have trouble. Job 14:1 says, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble”. And it’s true. But we have precious promises to fall back on: “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the curruption that is in the world through lust.”
Things You Can Do
If it seems like the enemy has repeatedly gut punched you, there are some things you can do. The first of these is not to trust in your own flesh. That is the first ingredient in a recipe for failure here on this earth. Consider these things instead.
- Get Saved: If you aren’t already a Christian, that’s your main concern. Find an altar of prayer and give your heart to the Lord. A good, Bible believing Church will help you from there and the Lord will be your guide.
- Read The Word: There’s a lot of emphasis on “memorizing Scripture” and a million books that teach you how. But the fact is, all you need to do is start reading it. The Bible tells us He will bring it to our remembrance as the need arises (John 14:26).
- Pray: This is another topic that you’ll find countless books on, but it’s really quite simple. Praying is simply talking to God. Do you have a best friend that you often confide in? Well, talking to God should work the same way! You don’t need fancy words. Your prayers don’t have to be long and drawn out. Just begin to talk to Him. It’s really just that simple.
- Pray On Your Armor: You’ll find your spiritual armor in Ephesians 6. I can’t stress the importance of it. Every piece serves a purpose and you’ll need each one.
- Resist The Devil: This can be tough one for some people, especially those who are new to the faith or lack knowledge about their true identity in Christ. The previous steps should help with that. Just keep repeating them until you grow, because growth is imminent for someone who continually reaches out for more of God. The good news is, that we find in the book of James we find that if we resist the devil, he will flee (4:7)!
Let me add that it can’t hurt to play your praise and worship music real loud! Well, that’s me as a former musician speaking, primarily. But there are many instances in the Word where we are told to make a joyful noise, to stir ourselves, and others, up with spiritual songs and hymns and so forth. Music can change the mood. Make it a good one!
I pray that if you are reading this, and have been suffering attack, that you will be encouraged. Seek God, seek out Godly counsel, and never think that you are so far out that you can’t make it back!