Not an Option – A Devotion

Not an Option

I Timothy 6:11-12 (NLT)

But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.

 

Why not just give up? No really, what is it in a believer that makes them tenacious and persistent in following Christ. We cannot see Him. We cannot feel Him or touch Him in a natural sense. We can only believe the Word of God and live according to His Spirit. But when the Spirit lives inside of you it is very difficult to discern between our voice and His Urgings especially at the beginning of our walk with the Lord. What is the benefit of becoming a man or woman of God in the sense that is asked of Timothy here in these verses? Run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness. Live a godly life with faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight for true faith. Hold tightly to the hope you have been called to which is eternal life. This is a lofty aspiration for forever but what is the benefit now? How do I know that my faith and confident hope are secure? Your faith is genuine and hope secure when giving up is no longer an option.

 

2 Samuel 23:11-12 (NLT)

Next in rank was Shammah son of Agee from Harar. One time the Philistines gathered at Lehi and attacked the Israelites in a field full of lentils. The Israelite army fled, but Shammah held his ground in the middle of the field and beat back the Philistines. So the Lord brought about a great victory.

 

A few weeks ago, our pastor shared the story of one of David’s mighty men named Shammah. The Philistines gathered and attacked the Israelites in a field full of lentils. Lentils are tiny peas. The giants proved to be strong adversaries and the Israelite army retreated but no Shammah. He held his ground and beat the Philistines. The Lord brought this man great victory because he took a stand. Yesterday, I shared that I walked away the day before. A bit of bad news was the final straw that broke the camel’s back. I was done. Finished. Fed up. Tired of trying. Mad at the world and honestly at God, too. I ranted, raved, carried on and picked up my toys to go home. But something inside me would not let me make good on my intent to walk away. God let me have a fit. He even let me rant and rave. But deep inside me, I knew that I couldn’t leave. I have come too far to turn back now. I have invested my life in faith and confident hope that the things of God are just as He promised and coming into my life.

 

Yesterday rather than a feeling of condemnation for my inappropriate behavior the day before I felt comfort. God wasn’t mad at me. He soothed my aching heart. Sitting in church, it dawned on me like sunrise over Shammah’s lentil field that I have invested my life in the pursuit of faith planting my expectation in the field called hope. I have put my entire life in that place. This is my field. To walk away now is unthinkable. To do so would be to surrender my harvest to the enemy and I am not willing to do that even though right now it just looks like broken ground with careful rows of planting – this will soon sprout into a harvest of God’s Glory in my life.

 

Romans 5:1-5 (NLT)

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

 

I stand in a place of undeserved privilege with God that is sometimes challenged by a human sense of entitlement that tells me I don’t have to take it anymore. I have peace with God that really irks the enemy because it is a position of power when it multiples my faith producing more and more hope. Confidence keeps me here in the struggle. God’s Glory is coming by faith I receive it when I believe. I will have problems. Each time I turn a problem or situation over to the Lord it plants me in righteousness by faith increasing the potential of my harvest. I will experience trials that teach me to endure. Endurance develops my character. Not because I am strong but in my weakness, I allow the Lord to dominate my life and change me into who I need to be to cultivate more of His Blessing and Promises in me. This is the starting point of prosperity. My faith being turned into confidence. Confident hope is nothing more than full assurance that what I believe will come to fulfillment. I have a credible source. The problem is most of the time – when things get uncomfortable people leave faith and hope behind for relief. I want, need and have to have the kind of faith that produces confident hope that never leads to disappointment. He has given me His Spirit so I am never alone. He has given me a life with purpose, plan and great potential. The faith in my heart must be cultivated in my life to the extent that the seed of His Word planted in my life is far greater than anything else the world has to offer. So when my faith is challenged and hope assaulted – I am willing to stand. This is my field and I will fight for it.

 

I Corinthians 10:12-13 (NLT)
If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

 

This world does not operate like the Kingdom of God. Your enemy is ruling this planet. So rather than endure, wait and persevere, we live in a time of modern convenience. Immediate gratification is handed to us the moment we are born. The world flashes in living color. Debt has bound our society because we do not have to wait for what we want but can go get it right now whether we can afford it or not. Could this be a work of the enemy to produce a generation of people who cannot wait on God and choose to compromise rather than wait? Absolutely. But it backfired. This new up and coming generation are crying out for authentic faith and confident hope in a real God who is not digitized or animated. They want a real encounter with the God of the Universe. I love it. Everyone faces temptation in their life. No one is exempt. Only those who will wait and endure will see the harvest that faith and hope produce in our life. The enemy does not want us to have such a reward from the Lord so he tries to motivate us to give up, give in and move on. But I declare today in the Name of Jesus that this is my field. I planted my faith right here and I am not leaving until my harvest comes. This hope I have will not disappoint me unless I choose to abandon it altogether so I will wait and fight the good fight of faith.

 

Ephesians 6:12-13 (NLT)

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.

 

The battle is on. The struggle is real. Do not underestimate the enemy’s agenda against you. It is foolish to try to ignore that the spirit realm is a real place in constant war. If you don’t think you have an adversary who seeks to steal, kill and destroy you – you have another thing coming friend. He is real. He is a vital threat if you abandon faith and confidence in God. You need every piece of that armor to stand and resist. You must be firm in your stand of faith and hope at the end of the battle you are facing to have the blessing that comes with it. The harvest is not in question. God chose you. He gave you right standing that comes with an inheritance. He designated your life for His Glory. (Romans 8:29-30) It is up to us if we want it or not.

 

2 Corinthians 1:20-22 (NLT)

For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.

 

We have been given all of God’s Promises. They are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. He says, “Yes!” There are times when our will does not line up with what the Lord has in mind and these are the times that we must survey our life to decide if we want what is planted in the field of faith or would rather settle or compromise for something less. He gives us that choice. No condemnation. Those who choose to stand firm for Christ will soon harvest the blessings planted in that place called faith in exchange for the confident hope that kept them from leaving a long time ago. Those who continue to plant seeds of righteousness in the field of faith will look over it and decide that there is too much there to turn back now so they will fight for their faith and wait on the Lord. Where are you today? I have admitted my struggle and found that in my weakness He becomes my strength. His Grace really is enough for me. I want everything God has promised me and more importantly my family. So I am not leaving my field… it is not an option. How about you?

 

I Corinthians 16:13 (NLT) Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong.

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