The past few weeks have been challenging for me. Lots of challenges and adapting to change. I have just been cloudy headed, for lack of a better way to describe it, but this morning God gave me a little jolt. He reminded me that circumstances are temporary and inaction is not acceptable. Through a devotional by Oswald Chambers, I was reminded to be ready in season and out of season to preach the Word.
As I paused and reflected on things, I opened my Bible to 2 Timothy and read Chapter 4. I reflected on the past few weeks and the things that were bothering me. The things that made it hard for me to study and pray and to write. I soaked up the verses in 2 Timothy, and I stopped at verse 18.
2 Timothy 4:18
As I read that verse, I was reminded how powerful and mighty my God is. I thought about the challenges and remembered that there is nothing that God cannot bring me through.
2 Timothy 4:18 (ESV) 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
The Lord will rescue me, as He has done SO many times. The list is too long to share, and frankly, I am thankful, but what God brought me through He also took from me. These things shaped my character, but they are no longer who I am. I am a new man in Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:16-17
I started thinking about the new man and the fact that the adversary would prefer I hold on to him instead of Jesus, but the thing is he is dead. I thought about that, and I did some searches paraphrasing verses that I knew, but could not recall. That took me to 2 Corinthians 5:16-18.
2 Corinthians 5:16-18 (ESV) 16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Yes, “The old has passed away; behold, the new has come,” and with that, I was changed and no longer am I to worry about my circumstances, but trust in Him who saved me. I went from 2 Corinthians to Romans 6.
Paul reminds me there again that I am not the man I was. I am a new creation; my old self was crucified with Jesus.
Romans 6:6-11 (ESV) 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
What a powerful reminder this is to me. I am not who I once was, and as such, I should not respond to my circumstances in the same way as I did in the past with worry and frustration. Instead, I must turn to God. I turned to Ephesians 6.
Ephesians 6:17-20 (ESV) 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
I read this passage, and my first thought is not my circumstances, but my strength in Jesus Christ. The next thought is to pray, and not just for my circumstances but for all who believe including our preachers and church leaders that they may stay true to God’s Word and “declare it boldly.”
I am so blessed. Even when I waiver in my trials and want to slip into self-pity my Lord Jesus is there. When I just do not feel like I can do, he shows me that I can, IF I will pray without ceasing and trust in His provision. He is faithful and true. He holds me up when I stumble and comforts me when I am shaken. All this he does in His Word. I am reminded of the quote from Oswald Chambers that started this.
“This verse says, “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season.” In other words, we should “be ready” whether we feel like it or not. If we do only what we feel inclined to do, some of us would never do anything.” ‘Utmost for His Highest’ by Oswald Chambers April 25th devotional.
Now some may say that passage is intended for preachers. But I disagree. We must all tell the go
od news. We must all find our strength in the people and circumstances we find ourselves in. Sometimes it is a passage from a devotional. Sometimes a kind word from a brother or sister in Christ and sometimes in bad experiences. But all things He is with us and His Word is our comfort.
Father forgive me for those moments when I drift from you and slip into self-pity. I know that is not a part of me anymore for I am a new man in Jesus.
Help me that I can withstand the attacks of the adversary and cling to Your Word and my sword and armor.
Thank you, Lord, for your gift of grace and the path of prayer. Thank you for the answers even the ones I do not understand at first. To you be the glory Lord. In Jesus name, I pray! Amen!!