Let’s ride

Temptation is not a permanent state. Don’t believe the lies of the enemy when he prowls around your head telling you that you must give into the temptation to get relief. Or when he tells you the rest of your life will feel like this if you continue to resist it.

Do you want to know what the truth is? Temptation is like a wave. It builds. Its power…its size…it builds. Stonger and bigger…bigger and stronger. And when it is at its highest of heights and strongest of strengths is when you feel like you can’t take one more second. It is when you feel so weak and you start hearing the lies that you will always feel like this.

That is the moment you have to lean on truth. Lean into God’s word. Pray. Ask friends to pray. Cry. Pitch a toddler size fit in your bedroom if you want to. Go ahead…feel bad for yourself. Lay yourself down at the feet of Jesus. You won’t be the first to lay there while your tears wash His feet.

But don’t give in. That wave will crest. And with the strength of Christ you can ride it out. You don’t have to let it take you under.

When the wave meets the shore you find rest. Will the wave return? Of course it will. But now you know you can ride it instead of wiping out in it. Now you meet that wave with new endurance and strength. Now you know the arguments of the flesh are all lies. So, you don’t even argue.

You just ride.

Balanced. Strengthened. Looking at the shore ahead.

You ride.

Surf’s up, friend. Let’s ride.

James 4:7
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

1 Peter 5:8
Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.

2 Corinthians 12:9-11
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

The strength of the horse

One of my biggest battles is feeling like I am not doing enough. You want to cut me to my core? Tell me I wasn’t enough and congrats, you’ve done it. The thing is….you don’t even have to say it. The enemy tells me, “did you see that look? Yep, they are not impressed with you.” “Hey, remember when you didn’t do right by them? They are always going to think of you as that person now.” “Not losing weight, saving money, making progress….looks like youre just not working hard enough or having enough faith. This is just your lot in life since you cant get it right.”

Im not saying all of this for sympathy, I am saying it because this is the thorn in my side. I could let it bring me down or I can let it bring me to God, His word and His unfailing love. When it gets tough and that thorn is digging in Im thankful for God’s words.

Psalm 147:10-11

His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,

    nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the Lord delights in those who fear him,
    who put their hope in his unfailing love.

His delight is not in the strength of the horse, but He delights when we come to Him. I dont have to be super woman. God knows my heart even if this world doesnt. There are times the enemy lies and tells me someone thinks Im not good enough. There are times when people actually do feel Im not good enough. I delight in the fact that my God made me, knows every hair on my head, and calls me His.

My King loves me and calls me good. Even when I mess up. Even when I drop the ball. He just hands it back and says “try again”. We are good enough in His eyes. We dont deserve His grace but we are good enough to receive it when we turn to Him for it. What’s your thorn? Dont let it bring you down. Let it bring you to God.

Join with me in suffering

This chapter keeps finding its way to my eyes. It is a reminder to not focus with quarrling with the world. Quarreling doesnt lead to conviction. It doesnt lead to Christ. We are to handle the world with gentle instruction always living with hope that a seed was planted. It is up to each person to decide if they will disown Him or not. Quarreling wont change that.

This time, though, one verse popped out to me:
“Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus”
I hate that word. Suffering. Why in the world would I want to JOIN someone in suffering? I dont want to invite suffering into my life!! Then the Spirit guided my thoughts to an understanding. We certainly dont have to invite suffering into our lives for it to make a dramatic appearance, but being a follower of Christ does present a unique set of struggles. We must deny our flesh when we really want to argue with others, turn away from sinful things that distract us, and hold on to a truth the world tries to lable as wrong or even judgmentally hateful and not inclusive. In any and all suffering we are to join together in Christ. We are to suffer with Christ as He did on the cross. He never took His eyes off of His end results. He never took His eyes off the joy that would be set before Him when it was finished. During His time of sorrow He still asked for God’s will to be done even knowing what that will was about to do to Him. He didnt turn to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, food, etc..to dull the pain. He suffered for us so we can have a savior to walk us through the pain and has endured every ounce of pain we could ever come across. Have you ever tried to talk to someone about a problem that they have never experienced? About a pain they know nothing about? They can say all the kind words they are supposed to say but how does that compare to speaking to someone that has experienced that pain and more, endured it, and lived in joy on the other side of it. It is a whole different conversation isnt it? All suffering has a purpose. I know. I know that is hard to hear. Whether you believe in Christ or not…you will have suffering. For believers, when we join Christ in that suffering…when we take Him our suffering and lean on His love, guidance, and will through it. When we keep our eyes on the joy set before us as Christ did. We grow. We endure. We find peace amongst the suffering. Joy even. I dont want to talk to you about suffering. But when I talk to you about how Christ is right there with us giving us strength. That nothing is without a purpose. That God can be so trusted that you can walk through this fire and not even smell like smoke. That, because of Christ, you dont need what the world has to offer to get you through the suffering. You can overcome it and be a victor over it instead of a victim of it. Well…that’s a whole different conversation, isn’t it?

2 Timothy 2
New International Version
The Appeal Renewed
2 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.

8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.

11 Here is a trustworthy saying:

If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.

Dealing With False Teachers
14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some. 19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

More than an example

I am grateful that He was strong enough to do something I could not do. I would be willing to be tortured and die for all mankind’s salvation but I would not be able to go through with it. I would be far too weak to handle the lashings and the abuse and the cursings. I would be too weak to handle the nails in my hands and feet and to hang from a cross in pain. I would crumble at God turning His face from me. Even if I knew the joyful outcome I wouldnt be able to go through with it. My little heart just cant love that much. But Christ came knowing full well what would happen. He asked for another way but accepted the only way. He was strong enough. He defeated the flesh’s desire to walk away. He defeated the flesh’s desire to give into temptation. I used to think Jesus lived as an example to us. His actions are our example on how to behave. But the Spirit just revealed to me that He is more than an example. He is the strength in us to be able to follow Him. We cant do what He did. We are far too weak. But He lives in us and He can do it. He proved it. It is right there in the gospel for us to believe and rely on. We cant but He can. Where we are weak, He is strong.