A bright sunny day. Warm waves at the beach. A soft breeze. The moment the sky throws all tints, tones and shades of violet across the horizon just before the sun goes down. A peaceful walk in the park. The laughter of old friends catching up in the distance. Petting playful puppies. A perfect hair day. A smile on everyone’s face you encounter through your day.
What’s that phrase we used in elementary school? Gag me with a spoon.
I am an observer. Always have been. I’ll observe people before I speak to them if I am afforded the opportunity. I will observe a situation before I enter in to it or comment on it. Through observation I have saved myself a lot of trouble and headache over the years and other times I’ve caused myself headaches and trouble by not listening to that “inner voice.”
Those images in the first few lines are images of how I used to view Christians. Even though I have always been a believer, there was a long stretch of time where I didn’t go to church and I didn’t associate with other believers. Why? It all seemed so fake to me. Nobody could be that happy all the time. I didn’t want fake, I had enough of that. I wanted real. I wanted the real God. I have spent 38 years continually seeking Him. The older I get and the more I seek Him, the more I realize how little His own people know about Him. I realize how little I know about Him with each revelation I discover in my relationship with Him.
Regardless, He loves me. Regardless, I love Him. Regardless, He loves you too.
I’ve realized over the last 10 years, I want to be that believer that is happy all the time and it makes me angry when I lose my joy. Yes, I’m a Christian and I’m not happy all the time. I should be, but I’m not. I want to be though. I spent too many years unhappy in life and when I gave my life back to Christ, it was because I was tired of being unhappy. That’s the reality of it and I’m not candy coating my walk with Jesus. I want non-believers to see a true walk. A real walk. The struggles. It was the only way I found God again…by seeing that believers were no different than I was except they had a hope I didn’t have: Him.
I am a firm believer in speaking things out as though they are even when circumstances point in the complete opposite direction. That’s called faith, the substance of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1).
I have had a giant “thorn in my side” that has been causing me trouble for a few months now. It’s something I keep stumbling over and losing my joy over. I think I’m doing good and then POW! An uppercut to the chin. Last night was a TKO. I let it all pour out to God, every doubt, every fear, every angry thought, all of it. That’s what He’s there for, right? For us to give it all to Him and I did. I gave it all to Him because I trust Him. I know when I talk to Him about the things bothering me, He’s already at work on them. I had to get it off my chest. He really is the best counselor and advisor but most of all, the best listener. Unfortunately my husband came home from the gym and caught the tail end of it while I was still, metaphorically speaking, laying in the floor kicking and screaming. I needed his words of encouragement as well though. Next to God, he’s my best friend and best support system.
We fight the good fight. What do you do in a fight? You swing your fist! This morning I took a swing at the devil and knocked him upside his big stupid head. Don’t go around punching people, this is not what I mean. How did I knock the devil upside his head? With the sword of the Spirit…the Word of God. I know what the Word says and I have to stand on it. I have to cast down the thoughts of fear and doubt with the Word and keep God’s promises ahead of me.
A fight is not an easy thing. It’s not beach front walks and butterflies all around. A fight is ugly with blood and spit flying everywhere. A fight wears the competitors out. Someone eventually gets knocked down. Who is it going to be? The one who has the most strength, most training and is quick enough on their feet to dodge the blows. It’s a combination of all of these things.
As a believer, as a Christian, how do I train? Where do I get my strength from? How do I make sure I’m quick enough to dodge the blows of the enemy?
- TRAIN – Read the Word. It has it all in there. Seek out the Word. Read it every day. Train myself in His ways so when the punch is coming, I know how to duck and which way to duck so I don’t get goosed. That made me laugh, sorry. I had an image of me and a bunch of other believers sitting in a circle and the devil just walking around yelling, “Duck…Duck…Goose!” and knocking me upside the head. That’s what I went through last night. We don’t have to though. We can duck. We can train ourselves in the Word so we see it coming and can duck out of the way.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV) All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
- STRENGTH – My strength comes from Him. I don’t have to handle things on my own. My faith in Him allows me freedom to be strong. He renews me. He strengthens me. He picks me up when I do get knocked down and keeps me going.
Isaiah 40:31 (KJV) But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
- QUICKNESS – I may find myself backed in to a corner sometimes. I may feel fear and doubt creeping its way towards me. What do I do? I follow the lead of the Holy Spirit. I listen for His voice and take direction. That should be my first course of action.
Galatians 5:25 (KJV) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
You may feel like you are in a never-ending game of duck-duck-goose, but you can change the rules. You can fight back. I did. I may have thrown a tantrum last night but this morning I was reminded of who I am in Christ and I told the devil where to stick it.
I bet there is going to be a pretty sunset tonight…
Hebrews 11:1 (KJV)
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.