Strengthening Ourselves in the Lord: Part I

The Reason for Reinforcing Our Faith

Becoming a disciple of Jesus is the most incredible journey offered to us in this life. However, this does not keep us from encountering difficulties. When we make Christ the “Lord of your life” we start saying “no” to the things the world offers us. This offends people in our lives who are still comfortable with living unsubmitted to Christ. God has called us to live differently in the world while keeping our love on. This commitment to representing the Kingdom of Heaven is a serious one that greatly disturbs the kingdom of darkness. Have you been living rightly before the Lord and encountering pushback? You are not alone!

When times of pain, betrayal, or tragedy come, we feel depleted of strength. So, why does this happen, and what can we do about it? I will try my best to answer this question in the next few posts.

Saying Yes to Jesus Attracts Friction

The truth is that the decision you have made to follow Jesus attracts what I like to call “friction.” The way this friction manifests can be physical, or spiritual, or a little bit of both. The goal of the enemy in times of friction is to have your agreement, and eventually gain back your soul. When you say “yes” to God’s Kingdom, hell gets angry and begins to develop strategies to get you back. The enemy of God seeks to weaken you so that he can finish you off. The way that he takes strength from you is by wearing you down, thus making you ineffective. This is because a powerless believer cannot storm the gates of hell. We are no threat to the kingdom of darkness if we are not fully submitted to God. If you won’t deny Christ, Satan is happy to put your spirit to sleep – in a coma like state – so that you remain ineffective.

This tension of the soul offers us a choice, much like the first choice found in Genesis chapter 3 – God’s way or our own way? Fortunately for us, the enemy is not the only one with a goal for us. Our Father in Heaven has plans to prosper us amid the friction. His plan is to strengthen us in our inner man of the spirit. We must decide what to do when we come to that crossroad in our journey of faith.

Will we believe what God said?

Or will be walk in unbelief?

The only way to remain firm in belief is through strengthening ourselves in the Lord. If we try to do it in our own strength, we will eventually fail, much like the children of Israel when they faced the test at Kadesh Barnea (story found in Deuteronomy 1:19-36). Everything we face in this life; we face with Jesus. So, what are the things that can cause us to fail the test of faith? There are three main traps that can cripple our walk with the Lord. And I want to share them with you so that you can learn to avoid them.

Three Things that Cripple the People of God:

  1. Bitterness and Resentment – this happens when we allow a disagreement/conflict to go unresolved and begin to hold a grudge against someone. This is not just with other people, we can actually develop a bitterness or resentment against God Himself. The growth of bitterness in our relationship with the Lord can change the way we view His character. If we start off knowing that God heals, but then we go through a long season of sickness, the temptation is to begin to change our view of Him as healer. This is very dangerous, and we can only know if this is an issue in our relationship with the Lord if we ask Him to search our hearts. Bitterness is sneaky. It starts off with an offense and when left unchecked, it grows like a weed in our hearts, overgrowing and choking out the fruits of His Spirit.
  2. Disappointment – this happens when we do not know how to bring strength to ourselves. Abraham and Sarah struggled with disappointment, and it created a huge issue for them. Instead of strengthening themselves in the Lord in the season of waiting for the promise of children, they allowed disappointment to “solve” the issue. But the promise was not just that Abraham would have a son, it was a promise that was attached to Sarah. Having a son with the servant Hagar was not what God had promised them. Disappointment happens in the season of waiting for the manifestation of God’s promise. Sometimes you will see other people get what God promised to you and feel disappointed. The only way to get out of disappointment is to learn how to strengthen yourself in the Lord. This secures your feet as you stand ready to receive what God has promised to you.
  3. Doubt – this is simply a lack of confidence. The degree of doubt depends on how long you have allowed it to grow in your heart. Doubt is an experience common to all people. Even those with faith in God struggle with doubt on occasion and say something like the man in Mark 9, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (verse 24). Doubt has the potential to hinder you if you allow it to. But it also has the potential to spring you forward in faith. As a believer there are characteristics of God that we have yet to experience personally, therefore we may have some level of insecurity about a certain aspect of His nature. The enemy wants to get you into a cycle of shame when doubt is uncovered in your heart, but the Lord says there is grace for that! The Holy Spirit in you wants to take you by the hand and show you how to go from timidity to boldness!

Prayer

Thank you, Father, that with Jesus, I can gain back the strength that I gave away to the enemy! I invite Holy Spirit to shine a light into my heart and alert me to where I need Your filling of love and truth. Show me where I have been slothful in the guarding of my mind. If there are any inferior thoughts that are causing me to become bitter, disappointed, or full of doubt, give me Your higher thought; for I know that Your ways, thoughts, and plans are better than any of mine. Increase my hunger to hear Your voice and enlarge my desire to read Your Word. I am ready to go from timidity to boldness! Amen!

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