Have you ever been in the place of knowing that you should gothrough something but instead you make excuses not to endure it?
I sure have–in fact anytime the Lord desires us to go up the mountain or to walk in deeper fellowship with Him there is always a requirement standing at the door of our hearts– and how we handle the situation will determine whether we walk up or slide down the mountain of the living God.
My husband once said that “there are those that want the great giftings of the Lord but not everyone wants to endure the requirements and sufferings that go along with the gifts.” A true discernment.
This has been my predicament at work recently. For sometime I have been riding the fence–wanting the best of both sides–to be liked by everyone– there are always sides in the workplace. But God is now requiring me to choose–and get off the fence–no more teeter-tottering.
Yesterday on my way to work I saw a deer standing next to a fence–I know it was debating whether to jump the fence and run in the street in front of me or turn away and stay on the side where it was. Our eyes met as my car slowed to a stop and I waited for the deer to decide. As our eyes locked the deer suddenly decided to turn away and run back down the hill–making a choice to stay on the side it was on–to not cross over and continue up the hill.
It’s funny because everytime I have seen deer “cross-over” from one side of the woods to the other–I always related it spiritually to my life–crossing over the Jordon–choosing the world or Jesus–to go up the mountain or run down the mountain. And earlier in the week I saw this same deer (before the problems at work began) cross to the side it is now on and run up the hill–little was I aware that my choices at work would cause a suffering I would have to endure.
And too this deer yesterday debated whether to turn back and cross over to the side it once left earlier in the week. God is always speaking if we just open our eyes to things that go on in nature. Little did I know yesterday morning that I too would be wanting to jump back over the fence where it was “comfortable” for my flesh–desiring not to suffer any longer with things going on at work. And things were sure hard at work–but God is desiring I climb the mountain — to embrace Him and turn away from the world and it’s clasps…to be free to soar as an eagle in the heavenlies–to do His will and not my own.
Oswald has a good word today…
God’s command is, “Take now,” not later. It is incredible how we debate! We know something is right, but we try to find excuses for not doing it immediately. If we are to climb to the height God reveals, it can never be done later— it must be done now. And the sacrifice must be worked through our will before we actually perform it.
“So Abraham rose early in the morning . . . and went to the place of which God had told him” ( Genesis 22:3 ). Oh, the wonderful simplicity of Abraham! When God spoke, he did not “confer with flesh and blood” ( Galatians 1:16 ). Beware when you want to “confer with flesh and blood” or even your own thoughts, insights, or understandings— anything that is not based on your personal relationship with God. These are all things that compete with and hinder obedience to God.
Abraham did not choose what the sacrifice would be. Always guard against self-chosen service for God. Self-sacrifice may be a disease that impairs your service. If God has made your cup sweet, drink it with grace; or even if He has made it bitter, drink it in communion with Him. If the providential will of God means a hard and difficult time for you, go through it. But never decide the place of your own martyrdom, as if to say, “I will only go to there, but no farther.” God chose the test for Abraham, and Abraham neither delayed nor protested, but steadily obeyed. If you are not living in touch with God, it is easy to blame Him or pass judgment on Him. You must go through the trial before you have any right to pronounce a verdict, because by going through the trial you learn to know God better. God is working in us to reach His highest goals until His purpose and our purpose become one.
Ah, there’s the clutcher–he says, If the providential will of God means a hard and difficult time for you, go through it. This is a hard saying–everyone hates to suffer–to endure–a truly strong word.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.KJV
2 Timothy 2:3-5
3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.KJV
2 Timothy 4:3-5
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.KJV
1 Peter 2:19-25
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.KJV
Spurgeon expounds on Oswald’s devotion…
God—the eternal God—is Himself our support at all times, and especially when we are sinking in deep trouble. There are seasons when the Christian sinks very low in humiliation. Under a deep sense of his great sinfulness, he is humbled before God till he scarcely knows how to pray, because he appears, in his own sight, so worthless. Well, child of God, remember that when thou art at thy worst and lowest, yet “underneath” thee “are everlasting arms.” Sin may drag thee ever so low, but Christ’s great atonement is still under all. You may have descended into the deeps, but you cannot have fallen so low as “the uttermost”; and to the uttermost He saves. Again, the Christian sometimes sinks very deeply in sore trial from without. Every earthly prop is cut away. What then? Still underneath him are “the everlasting arms.” He cannot fall so deep in distress and affliction but what the covenant grace of an ever-faithful God will still encircle him. The Christian may be sinking under trouble from within through fierce conflict, but even then he cannot be brought so low as to be beyond the reach of the “everlasting arms”—they are underneath him; and, while thus sustained, all Satan’s efforts to harm him avail nothing.
This assurance of support is a comfort to any weary but earnest worker in the service of God. It implies a promise of strength for each day, grace for each need, and power for each duty. And, further, when death comes, the promise shall still hold good. When we stand in the midst of Jordan, we shall be able to say with David, “I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.” We shall descend into the grave, but we shall go no lower, for the eternal arms prevent our further fall. All through life, and at its close, we shall be upheld by the “everlasting arms”—arms that neither flag nor lose their strength, for “the everlasting God fainteth not, neither is weary.”
So this day I commit to the Lord and the trials I may face–to endure hardship as a good soldier–desiring to go on with God up the mountain and not look back as Sarah did and face the consequences of becoming a pillar of salt. But to walk up the mountain with my face set as a flint on the prize of the high-calling in Christ Jesus…to soar the heights as an eagle and be free from the clutches of the world.
And for those who read this–where ever you are at in your walk with Christ–that you too would be able to endure hardship as a good soldier in the trials you face each day–knowing this…
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.KJV
3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.KJV