Things get hard. I dig in and scrap. There's an old saying: "It's better to make a good run than a bad fight." Let's just say I don't subscribe to that thinking. I'll make a bad fight without blinking!
Now, don't you go mistaking what I'm saying. I'm not talking about fighting others. I'm talking about the spiritual battle that is my own life. Too often, I dig in and scrap rather than remember the battle is the Lord's.
You know, being a man fit for the fight has a terrible side consequence at times, and that is, in my case, a closed heart. No, I don't mean a hard heart. I mean a closed heart. I don't let anyone new in. It seems I get all I can handle and there's no space for others; more accurately, it doesn't feel safe to let others in. Well, beloved, that ain't good for the ministry, it's not good for my life and it's not remotely close to who God calls a believer to be.
I know that. Really, I do.
I literally have a list of things I do to combat such a spirit when it comes creeping in.
- Consider Jesus. Seriously, ponder HIM instead of me! Think on His life, His teachings, His character, His coming, His coming back...just intentionally ponder Jesus.
- Get in the Word and let the Word get into me... I mean, you know, I'm in the Word, but sometimes I start thinking and scrapping so hard I forget to listen.
- Remember from whence I have come. The Lord HAS given me many victories in Christ Jesus! It's no coincidence that every big move for Israel -- whether negative or positive -- came with someone recounting their entire past.
- Humble myself. I so do not like this, but I know it's right.
- Check my love meter. Am I embodying love in my relationships with God and others.
- And, because I like do be palaverously redundant all over again, I simply go back to the most basic issues of the faith. The basics never fail me. Who God is; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. What He desires to do to, for, through mankind. What are my purposes as a believer and disciple? On and on...
- Last, but certainly not least, count my blessings and be THANKFUL.
That's where I am today. I am being thankful. I have a long, long, long, long, rather long, extensive list of things for which to be thankful. Did I mention the list is long?
However, I am cracking the hard defensive perimeter today with a certain kind of thankfulness. I am thankful for the ministry God has given me.
"I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service"
though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief..."