Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Standing Tall In Difficult Times

I’ve been reading an unusual book on relationships. Though it is written from a psychologist’s standpoint, my faith is so tied into everything I believe, every decision I make, that I would hear what God’s Word says on the subject.

She said, “Stop straddling the fence. Make a choice and own the consequences.” (paraphrased)

I actually liked that thought. However, I asked myself why. Why, and what does the Bible say? Does it agree or disagree? I found my answer in two places. The first comes from the book of James.

If any of you lack wisdom…let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:5-8)

Ah! Straddling the fence is the same as being “double minded”. You can’t decide which thing you want, so you place one foot over the left side and the other foot over the right. God’s Word says this brings instability, and I don’t want that!

The other example in found in the book of Revelation.

I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:15-16)

Here, God pleads for us to make a choice. He says, “Take a stand. Don’t be lukewarm.” Notice, He also gives the consequence. Have you ever eaten something that didn’t taste like you expected? Did you grimace and swallow anyway or spit it out? Well, God has said what He will do, and I don’t want that either!

But what happens now? You climb off the fence. You will follow God’s answer to your situation no matter what. What is next? Perhaps you are facing an especially difficult situation at your job. Maybe it’s your health or a family relationship that is troubling you.

The author said: “Maybe it’s time to rethink where you are standing as you attempt to resolve your problems…It’s when you come down, determine your course, and start the journey that your life will begin to change. You can’t stand until you find your legs.”

When I read that, the Lord gave me a simple phrase. He said, “Know where to stand. Know how to stand. Know why you are standing.” Here is a powerful truth.

Where do we stand?

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:6)

We stand in heavenly places with Christ. Every situation we face we approach from the standpoint of who Christ is IN us. There are 78 uses of the phrase “in Christ” in the New Testament. It offers everything from hope to righteousness. I encourage you to study them individually. Find out what Christ has done IN you. Then grab hold of the name of Jesus and the power of God that Jesus’ death and resurrection provided and determine no matter what, you will stand.

How do we stand?

So then, take your stand! Fasten truth around your waist like a belt. Put on God's approval [righteousness, KJV] as your breastplate. Put on your shoes so that you are ready to spread the Good News that gives peace. In addition to all these, take the Christian faith as your shield. With it you can put out all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Also take salvation as your helmet and the word of God as the sword that the Spirit supplies. (Ephesians 6:14-17 GW)

Know this! We do not stand unarmed and inefficient to the task before us. Our heavenly Father has provided everything we need. We have truth. We know God can give us the answer. (Jn 17:17) We have righteousness, or right-standing, with God. This is our new place in life. It is what we now are, being cleansed from sin through faith in Christ. (1Jn 1:9) We seek peace. We pursue it. This means walking in forgiveness toward others, even with those who seem to be against us. (1Pe 3:11) We walk in faith for faith is confidence in God. It is belief that He is faithful to keep His promises. (1Th 5:24) Lastly, we live aware of the complete promises of God’s magnificent salvation. We believe in “exceeding abundantly above,” and we wield God’s Word against the thoughts and strategies of the devil, knowing we are NOT powerless. (Eph 3:20;Heb 11:1;Mk 11:24-25)

The author talks of having realistic expectations. Where man is concerned there is some truth there. You cannot expect of someone what he or she cannot or will not produce. Doing so sets you up for failure. However, if you put God into the situation, then nothing is impossible. He can do what we cannot. (Mt 17:20;Lk 1:37) With God on our side, we must instead raise our expectations. (Ps 118:6)

Why are we standing?

Why not give up and walk away? Because God gave us both choices for any difficulty and then provided the answer.

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Choose life and both you AND YOUR SEED will live. My choices today affect more than just my own pathway. Everything I do also affects the future of my daughter and the future of whatever grandchildren I might have. This spurs me on to never give up. Besides, why give up when God promises life?

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

I know sometimes the way out seems hard. I’ve never said learning to live fearless wasn’t hard for me. On the contrary, it was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. However, I walked forward each minute of each day hand-in-hand with the Father, knowing where I stood in Christ, why I was standing there, and how I was going to get out. I couldn’t always see beyond the next step, but that was ok. For the next step was all I needed to get where I wanted to go.

The author of this book had one other statement that I think closes out these thoughts perfectly. She said, “Both choices require that you see what you have – the past, see what you want – the present; and see what can be – the future.”

Again, I ask, “What does God’s Word say? What does He provide for my past, present, and future?”

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

I think that is more than enough!

Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

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