When you pass through the waters; I will be with you and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire; you shall not be burned. Nor shall the flame scorch you.
There are times when I cry out to God, “Why can’t you just lift me up over these waters and put out the fire before it reaches me?” My focus was on the waters and the fires; not on the fact that He was with me. These are times when I had allowed myself to get discouraged. I had pulled away into myself; away from God. I had pushed aside the little nudges that were telling me to pray. I grumbled.
Instead of opening my bible, I focused on my pain, depression and my inability to do certain things, I refused to do the things that would bring me relief, rest and peace. Do any of you do that? God, must look down from Heaven and think, “Brenda, I made you smarter than this. Come on! You know what you should be doing.” I do that a lot. Imagining God responding to my actions/thoughts. But it is so true.
Why do we listen to the thoughts the adversary puts in our minds. It is much easier to do it God’s way. But we don’t. Our fallen nature chooses to give in once again.
We need to be stronger than this. We need to hold onto the hand of our Savior and use His strength. Again, and again, and again. Every single time.
Like the name of my blog, Holding onto Jesus. The title to a song that I chose to make my ‘life song’. I cannot live without Him. I don’t want to even try. But I need to hold onto Him and keep going through life; through the things that I face and need to endure. I need to keep my eyes on the goal, the prize which is eternity with God. If I do that, I will be able to face whatever comes at me; whatever I need to go through.
I press on, that I may lay hold of that
for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
At the start of this post, I mentioned somethings I do instead of what I ought to do. Ignoring the ‘little nudges’; that is the Holy Spirit trying to get our attention. It is His job to help us. To remind us what we should or shouldn’t be doing. So instead of ignoring Him, we need to listen to Him and respond with prayer.
He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer.
God will answer. It may be with strength to endure, or to take whatever it is away. He may also just answer with His presence; a reminder that He is by your side and because of His presence, we will make it through.
We can gain strength through His Word. To remain close to Him requires interaction and we do this through reading the Bible (God speaking to us) and prayer (mainly us speaking to Him). By remembering verses (a reason to memorize) we can take hold of them and stand in faith by what they say.
Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord
Look at the last seven words. …All you who hope in the Lord. So, for God to strengthen us, we must hope (trust, believe) in the Lord. Another verse in James says,
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord,
and He shall lift you up.
Humble yourselves. That means we need to swallow our pride; admit we can’t do this without Him and ask for help. This is one I am working on. I am fiercely independent. It isn’t easy for me to ask people for help. It isn’t any easier to ask God. But like I say, I am working on it. What will He do after we have done this? He won’t ignore us, He won’t just pat us on the head and tell us not to worry, that things will work out. No, it says that He will lift us up.
Lift us? What will that accomplish? Let me tell you. It means that He will lift us up above our situations so we can set our hope on Him. It means that He will stand us on our feet, so we can walk with Him and make it through these waters, these fires.
Which brings us to another mistake I make; taking my eyes off of Him and focusing on the problem. Pain is hard to endure. Financial upheavals are hard to ignore. Discouragement is hard to avoid. But when we continually focus on them they only seem to get worse. While we are focused on something other than God, we cannot see Him. We are blind to His aid. Hebrews tells us what we should be doing and why.
…looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher
of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross…
Hebrews 12: 2
Keep our eyes on Jesus. Why? He is our example. He kept His focus on the prize. For Him the prize was the joy He would receive after enduring the cross. The joy He set His eyes on was that He would be able to share eternity with us. He completed our faith by enduring the cross. Our faith is our belief in what God promises. Eternity with Him. No more pain; no more sorrow; no more death. Jesus made that promise possible with his death on the cross; paying the penalty required for our sins. Do you ever think what that entailed? I shudder when I think of what He went through, what pain, exhaustion and the spiritual weight of all our sins. Makes my problems seem a lot smaller. Helps me to bear them.
We need to be so in tune with God that our responses to problems become automatic. We can’t continually allow ourselves to be dragged down. We need to stop it where it begins; in the words/actions of the adversary. Instead look to God immediately. Pray. Humble ourselves and ask. Believe and hope. Keep our eyes on Jesus. If we can do these things each and every time, those waters will begin to look like smooth ponds and those fires will be a lot less fierce.
Until next time, God bless.
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