Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT) Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
At the end of a race, the runner often will stop and lean over putting their hands on their waist or knees trying to catch their breath. I am not a runner but I know the feeling. It’s Friday! The glorious day that makes way for the weekend is finally here. It has been a long strenuous week. My husband returns from his final training trip which has only added to the pressure of the last five days. For months now, a week has been devoted to company training far from home while mama kept the home fires burning. I feel like that runner today who cannot stop their lungs from burning or hold in enough oxygen to gain back any strength. Even in our best effort to trust and lean on the Lord, we still get tired and overwhelmed sometimes. Marching for the Lord’s Army is a lot of responsibility on any given day. There is opposition. There is responsibility. There is temptation. For those who live in this world but are not of this world, there are two forces battling for our attention. Could it be that there is purpose in our inability to keep going sometimes? When our mind, soul and body begin to shut down to rest? Of course there is.
Can I encourage you a little bit today? I need to do so for myself so let’s do it together. We put way more responsibility on our shoulders than Jesus ever would. We try to run faster, harder, and farther than anyone else as if in some competition. When the Lord tells us to trust Him and lean on His Understanding. Is that enough for us? To be more specific, the Word of God says to trust the Lord with ALL your heart. Wow, that’s a lot. Do you trust the Lord today? I know this is always good advice but we will move forward to practical steps once we take in this simple truth which is good advice.
To trust the Lord with all our heart requires a true dependency on Him. Most of the time, we expect supernatural results in our life without applying any faith to the matter. Faith is how we trust the Lord. It is to take His Word and do exactly what it says without looking to the world to satisfy it but just doing it anyway. Seek Him in all you do! Do you look for Jesus in every single aspect of your life? I mean right down to making your grocery list – you can ask the Lord for discernment and He will honor that request. We serve a practical and logical God if we apply the right understanding and wisdom to our cause. I know that you are tired and it has been a long week – but stay with me just a little longer. Let’s walk out this Friday together. Like a walker pacing the other side of the finish line in order to normalize breathing. We must breathe in the understanding that we must seek His Will in all we do and He will show us His Path.
I Corinthians 9:24-26 (NLT) Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing.
The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. (Psalm 37:23) Think about this for a minute. I know you are running late. It’s your turn to bring donuts to the office. Your kid just remembered a project is due this morning resulting in pandemonium. The dog just threw up. Are you ready to give up? Call this day a bust. Why is life so hard? No matter how hard I try to do what is right – why do I always seem to end up right here – facedown and on my knees asking for just a little more mercy and grace to make it to the weekend. Oh wait, will that be better? It’s packed with commitments when I could not say “no”. Keep walking. Keep a steady pace. Why? There is purpose in every step you take. God takes pleasure in every detail of our life. He perfects that which concerns us. (Psalm138:8) He works all things together for the good of those who love Him. Do you love the Lord today? Well, He loves you more. Every step you take today whether walking in sunshine, strolling on the mountaintop, battling the storm or the valley of death – God is with you. He loves you. He is working on your behalf. Your job is just muster up enough faith to take one more step no matter how hard it seems because of the promise hidden in each one.
2 Timothy 2:4-6 (NLT) Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor.
As we consider ourselves part of the Lord’s Army, we must constantly evaluate our weaponry. David would not wear Saul’s Armor because it was too big and heavy for the boy. God had not ordained him to be king yet so the mantle was not for him. Is it possible that we get to big for our britches sometimes and try to take on things that we are not ready for or called to do? God’s Armor for our lives is specific – the helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, sword of the spirit, gospel of peace, belt of truth. See God gave you enough protection to make it through the fight to step into victory today even though you are mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted, overwrought and overwhelmed. Actually, you have fallen into the place that He desire most for when I am weak – His Grace becomes sufficient for me.
Soldiers of God’s Army – have you gotten tied up in civilian affairs. His Ways are not our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Are you soaring with the eagles? Or are you roosting with the turkeys who never leave the ground? It really is up to you where you live. In the Presence of God or at the mercy of people, opinions and this life – soldiers desire peace and prepare for war. They do not get distracted by the common problems all around them but keep their eye on the horizon watching for the enemy’s advances. Sometimes we must get off by ourselves and get washed in the Word, covered by the Blood and back in line with our Commander and Chief to fulfill our commission which is not bickering and fighting among ourselves.
Athletes follow the rules. The Word of God is our directions for life. His Spirit takes the Word and gives us divine discernment and understanding so that it can be applied to life as a whole. When we forsake reading the Word of God – we fly blindly. You might as well close your eyes and start walking. We must be committed to the race of faith. We must fight to win by faith not function. Today are there areas of your life not fully surrendered. If a runner runs every single day and exercises faithfully but eats terribly – will they win? I mean the race is determined by how fast we run. Not always. If it is a marathon, it is based on distance not speed. Life is a marathon. How do I know? The one who endures to the end is saved.
Finally – the farmer bless his/her heart. Works from morning ‘til night caring for his seeds as they sprout and grow into a harvest. When the harvest comes, the farmer is encouraged by the Lord to “enjoy the fruit of their labor”. Me-time is not a bad thing. To enjoy life is part of the fullness of Christ. To live your life miserable and exhausted just getting by is not the standard of living that Jesus died to give us, but a rich satisfying life. Do you enjoy the fruits of your labor? If no, you should.
I Thessalonians 5:14-24 (NLT) Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone. See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people. Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. Do not scoff at prophecies, but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil. Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.
I find that many times when I look back at why I am overtired or have run out energy but still have some week left, that it is usually my own dumb fault. Today, for example, I stayed up too late finishing a painting project in our new house. Knowing that I would still get up at 4:30AM, I didn’t go to sleep until well after midnight. Seeking the Lord today, I need strength to make it through today. Lord give me direction on how to get through this weekend rested and refreshed when it is just as full as this week has been. When I read this passage today, I find that He is reminding me of how to live each day not just the one’s I am too tired to invest in but rather showing me solid steps to victory in each moment of every day. They are practical, applicable and will keep me on the right track. Good advice for Friday…well actually good advice period.
It is no surprise that the first step is to keep our eyes on others. It is amazing that as I learn to invest in others I get better at taking care of myself or maybe it is in my obedience and commitment to love others as Christ loves me that I am renewed and refreshed by God so I can pour out more of His Love on others. I am enjoying the fruits of his labor as I labor for Him. Sometimes we gain a better perspective of our life when we look at life through the eyes of others.
We must become grace full. Each day the Lord leaves us new mercies to scoop up and use freely. Do we share that grace with others? To do so is to trust in the Lord because we remove all expectation from other people, this world and this life placing it firmly and completely in the Father’s Hands. Everyone desires grace. I don’t know a person who is not pursing love, affirmation and acceptance from others. I find that what I give then I receive. Give love get love. Give grace get grace. Give Jesus get Jesus!
Always be joyful. Jesus is our joy. We must maintain our relationship with the Lord all day, every day. We do so by talking to Him. Communicating on His Level which is prayer. It is good to maintain an ongoing conversation with the Lord and keeps His Presence tangibly next to us which will result in making better choices along the way. We must be thankful in all circumstances which is a declaration of faith and trust in God alone. We must no stifle the Holy Spirit our guide, teacher, companion and advocate in life. He is not a silent partner, we just tend to stifle him sometimes by ignoring his conviction or convincing in our heart. Do not scoff prophecies. It is easy to study God’s Word and congregate with believers. If we truly believe the knowledge obtained and whispered to us in God’s Word and by His Spirit – it must change our life.
Jesus IS coming back. We must be prepared. Test everything. Do not walk randomly through life but label things good and evil. Choose well. Is what you are doing of the Lord or for Him? If not, walk away. Hold what is good with both hands. Stay away from EVERY KIND OF EVIL. We know the difference. Yet many still entertain dark things in life. It matters what we watch and listen to even in the name of “entertainment”. The very thing that we choose to entertain will dwell with us. God will make you holy if you commit to these things.
It is the surrender and submission of our life that allows Him to meet us in the place of overwhelming exhaustion and lift us up. Last but not least keep your eyes on the prize. This world has nothing for you. He has promised you eternity in heaven. It is worth chasing after and finding your way home even on days like today when you don’t feel as though you can take another step. Sure you can.
Philippians 1:9-11 (NLT) I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ—for this will bring much glory and praise to God.
One night over dinner, our teenage son challenged his not-teenage dad to a foot race. I looked at my husband and reminded him that he had nothing to prove to the boy. My husband insisted otherwise. So after a full meal, the two headed outside for a little competition. I tried to dissuade my husband from engaging in the sprint as he had not run in a while not to mention just eating dinner. He insisted he was fine and they were off. Well, father did beat his son…though barely. It is a heavily disputed finish and our son insists that his dad cheated. Nevertheless, walking back inside I found my husband sitting in our room with trying to catch his breath. His face was blood red. I really thought he was about to have a heart attack and I am pretty sure he did, too. He had no business running up and down the road full speed like that but his pride made him do it anyway. How many times do we spend our life, waste our time, and expend our energy on things that don’t really matter because our pride will not allow us to walk away? God has supplied everything we need to live a godly life. In fact, He supplies all our needs. The Lord directs our steps which are sufficiently supplied so we just walk them out. But we run ahead, jump around, get distracted or decide to do things ourselves removing the yoke of faith from Christ to embrace the words, “I will do it myself.” When we allow ourselves to become overwrought and exhausted it is a clear sign that we have engaged in activity that is not from God but of ourselves. When we adopt the philosophy as Children of God that “if I don’t do it no one will” then we have allowed pride to take the place of faith that says, “With God, all things are possible.” There must be balance in our life to run the race and fight the good fight of faith. We must live in this world but remember we are not of it. We must stop engaging in “civilian affairs” because greater is He who lives in me then he that is in the world. It is written that no weapon formed against me can prosper so my wounds must be self-inflicted by disobedience. All those times that I impatiently chose my way rather than allowing God to work it all out. We are more than conquerors in Jesus Christ. Isn’t it time we started living like it? Good advice for Friday. Good advice for life.
Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NLT) Finishing is better than starting. Patience is better than pride.