I Corinthians 15:53-58 (NKJV)
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
We have been created to live from victory to victory. To experience life through His Glory to Glory, and triumphantly through each day. (2 Corinthians 3:18) Do you feel victorious today? Do you feel triumphant? Do you walk in the power and authority of God present in your life? The transformation of our life is not due to our circumstances or situation but the Living God inside of us making His Way out of us. The Holy Spirit works to produce in us the qualities and characteristics once stifled by sin now freed through the Grace of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Now the potential once hidden deep within us, can make its way out of us. The process by which we live victoriously and triumphantly in life is for “this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” What does this mean? To keep it simple, there is a process by which God’s Glory is achieved in our life. It is not a manmade endeavor but a spiritual journey as we walk out of the darkness into the Light of His Love no matter how small, insignificant and unworthy we may feel. It is a pathway of His Will verses our insufficiency that is paved with grace. Those who choose to walk in it will discover true triumph and live a victorious life.
Having been on this journey for most of my life, I can attest that there are days when the purpose revealed in my heart in no way compares to my natural abilities making faith a requirement to achieve the hope that I have inside. It seems that the Lord calls my name at the worst possible time requesting more than I can give. He sees me in my weakness and calls me to be strong. What is the Lord requesting of you today? What is the purpose driving your heart? Do you want to fulfill the Will of God? Or are you comfortable in hiding? At least when we are hiding even surrounded by fear, it is comfortable. We feel somewhat in control. But God has other plans. He came to set the captive free. His Plan is for us to live for His Glory and to make us champions of faith. The Lord always leads us to victory. It is human nature to put limits on our faith. Self-preservation is to blame. The enemy uses isolation to convince us that the Lord has somehow left us behind or run out of uses due to our weakness or unwillingness. This is not true. You are to triumph today, tomorrow and into forever
Judges 6:11-13 (NKJV)
Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.”
Gideon was hiding in a wine press threshing wheat when the Lord came to him. Hiding in fear, the Lord called him “you mighty man of valor.” How often does the Lord call us by our purpose and not our position in life? Coming to us in our current condition, He speaks not of our circumstance or consequence but our creation. The Lord knows our purpose. He is focused on our potential. It is His Plan to cultivate this in us so that it will make its way out of us for His Glory. Our victory is to God’s Glory. When we triumph, the enemy trembles.
However, Gideon responded like most of us would. Focused on the problem not recognizing the solution had come, he points out that the Lord had forsaken Gideon and his people. “If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?” How we all could say the same thing? Our sin separates us from the Lord. It causes circumstances and consequences that can be overwhelming. As we repent and turn from our sin to walk in righteousness, it is a process not an overnight whim. Gideon went to remind the angel that the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us to the enemy. This could have been the end of the story and is for many people who remain bound by their situation. But not Gideon…
I Kings 19:11-12 (NKJV)
Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
We all have moments in life when this thing called faith seems too big for us. Times when like Elijah, we head into hiding. Elijah had killed all the false prophets but at the threat of Jezebel for his life ran into the cave. The Lord came to Gideon just like Elijah. He did not come to chide him for his weakness but empower them with His Word. God’s Purpose for our life takes into account our human weakness. His Grace is made complete in our weakness as we step down and assume His Power and Authority in our life. We all have our way of retreat. Gideon hid in a winepress preserving all he had left. Elijah went to a cave at the top of the mountain. Simon Peter and some of the other disciples went back to their old life. Taking their boats, they decided to go fishing for food rather than continuing after souls. (John 21:1-7) All these men were filled with purpose and potential from God. All three went into hiding. How about you? Do you feel as though the Lord has forgotten or forsaken you? I assure you nothing is further from the truth.
Judges 6:14-18 (NKJV)
Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.” Then he said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me. Do not depart from here, I pray, until I come to You and bring out my offering and set it before You.” And He said, “I will wait until you come back.”
“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8) The angel was not moved by Gideon’s response or lack of faith but again reminded him of the Lord’s calling on his life. We are called by God. He has a plan for our life. A good plan with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) It does not matter how far we wander or deep into hiding we go, this potential is hidden inside of us even still and goes where we go. Gideon asked the angel to wait while he prepared an offering for him. The angel agreed. The Lord is waiting on us to walk in victory for His Glory today. He is not slack concerning His promise, but long suffering waiting for us to come back to Him. His Primary Objective is that we will be saved and set free to follow Jesus. To be complete lacking no good thing. To live triumphantly. This is God’s Plan. What is yours? What is mine?
Judges 6:25-27 (NKJV)
Now it came to pass the same night that the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it; and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down.” So Gideon took ten men from among his servants and did as the Lord had said to him. But because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city too much to do it by day, he did it by night.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” (Romans 1:16) Private faith becomes public faith in times of testing. God will always require us to take this show on the road. The treasure hidden in the fragile jars of our heart must make its way out for public display. Are you ashamed of Christ? Do the people you live with, work with and play with know that you love Jesus and live for Him alone? If not they should, Gideon took down the altar of Baal. Are there false gods that need to fall around you? Fear does not flee in faithfulness. It is still present but cannot inhibit our obedience. We overcome fear with faith that God is more powerful than anyone or anything that threats to rise up against us. This is only a test. You will triumph if you remain faithful to the end.
Judges 6:36-40 (NKJV)
So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said— look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.” And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.
The Lord has spoken His Purpose for your life. You have decided to accept His Promise. You have participated in the test and found some success. It is now to step up to the line of faith and step over into the realm called hope. This may be only a small step but the human heart it is a giant leap. I am standing here today contemplating if I can make it. Gideon had taken down the altar of Baal and survived the test. Now He must fulfill the Call of God on his life and do what the Lord planned and purposed Him to do. He had repented and made his way back into right standing. He had given the Lord an offering that was accepted. He survived the test of obedience. Now the trail would begin, do I believe that God’s Word for me is true? Gideon asked the Lord for a sign. Some people call it a “fleece” since this is what Gideon used. Twice the Lord did as Gideon requested. If you are struggling on the edge of faith, it is okay to ask for a sign or fleece. God will certainly encourage you with such but you still have to take a step of faith to realize hope and its true potential in your life. You cannot continue to stand on the edge calling out to the Lord like a child on the side of a pool, “Daddy will you catch me?” At some point, we must take a step of faith to claim victory in our life.
Gideon would go on to claim victory with just 300 men. Thousands stood with Gideon, but the battle belonged to the Lord so only a portion of them were selected to go. They took provisions and trumpets with them. The men did not engage in battle but declared God’s Word and praised Him for it. The enemy turned on itself killing their own companions with their own swords. The battle is the Lords. We must only overcome our doubt and fear to triumph and walk victoriously through life.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (I Corinthians 15:58) Will today be the day you come out of hiding? Will it be the day you step out in faith into confident hope? The Lord is speaking to your heart to trust Him. He is speaking to mine, too. All I see is me? The weak and weary worker who seems so insignificant compared to the Glorious God I serve and His Precious Son, Jesus Christ. But God is not put off by my excuses, He waits for me to exhaust them all. He meets me in hiding and tells me who I am. Jesus has given me the victory today, I simply must choose to walk in it. Lord, make me steadfast today. Make me immovable always abounding in your work knowing that my small faith is not insignificant but the very thing you desire most. You are leading me from Glory to Glory and victory to victory. With you I will go!
Romans 8:37-39 (NKJV)
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.