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In dealing with my own struggles and the struggles of others, I’ve found the key to victory, endurance, and well-being in the midst of the storm is very simple: turn to the Lord and receive His thoughts. Worry, fear, and unbelief can be powerful inside me, leading me the wrong way. These thoughts seem to push me away, while God’s thoughts lead me into faith and peace.
At first, faith or turning to the Lord is an act of my will, but once contact is made, His thoughts come like rain to my dry places. In Isaiah 55:6-13 the Lord says His thoughts aren’t like ours, they are better and higher. His thoughts are like rain that waters the earth to bring forth beautiful things.
Sing to Him, cry out to Him, and tell Him all your struggles. He is so kind and willing to help. This has been proven to me over and over. Worries and fears want us to bow down to them, so they can control us. We must reject them and turn to the Lord. This simple act will make all the difference in the world. What a friend we have in Jesus!
As I see the kind of “Gospel” that’s often preached today I’m reminded of the Apostle Paul, who with tears warned of a cross-less Christianity that leads to destruction. In Phil 2:1-13, 3:4-17 Paul taught us all to follow the Lamb nature of Jesus, that because of our union with Him, and our partaking of His love and comfort, we could follow the Lamb and work out our salvation with fear and trembling. In other words, walk out the denying of self so He can live in us and thus, we experience the reality of “Christ in us, the hope of glory.”
Real Christianity includes suffering that yields a deeper union with the Lord. In these chapters, Paul makes it clear that carrying our cross opens the door to the increase of the knowledge of God. Each struggle refines our faith. Tested faith moves mountains. It seems many proclaim an “easy street Christianity.” This cannot be. We have a cross to carry, but with our cross we also gain intimacy, deep love, and true fellowship with the Lamb of God.
Is. 6:1, 1 John 1:1-9, Job 42, John 3
On my journey with God, I’ve found that sin, Satan and self had often blocked me from walking in real openness before Him and my Christian friends, though I understood that to walk and live in full openness to all He is—His truth, power, holiness, mercy, forgiveness, and grace—is our goal. How could I open my heart to Him when things within me still blocked His light shining into my soul, or there were things within me I feared bringing to His light and to others who walk in the light?
I’ve had fear and pride, plus areas where I’ve been blinded or deceived. I found, especially in the early days of my walk, that it was difficult and challenging to “pass these stones.” See Ez.36:26. Initially, truth was often painful for me. It meant having to face my unsanctified areas. I’m critical, fearful, proud, impatient, etc. And then I’m stubborn or frustrated when I’m told these things.
Prayer and fellowship with believers who experienced a certain level of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives opened the door for me to enter into the light. To be more open to God and his children is one form of the freedom we are called to walk in. What a blessing to feel in our hearts the love, joy, and peace of God in prayer and in Christian fellowship. God wants us to walk in truth–3 John 3, Psalm 51, John 8:31-32–and to possess it in our inward parts so our emotions are pure; to know truth that sets us free.
How do we change and pass our stony hearts? Humility, accountability, confession of sin, forgiveness, anointed books, verses in Scripture, friends, and trials all help us change. Rev.12:10-12, I John 1:7, Heb 9:14, 1 Cor 5:7. The light of the truth releases the blood of Jesus to cleanse us. Jesus is our “Passover Lamb” and Satan must pass over us when we’re walking in the light!