September 15, 2014

Some days are like dark tunnels . . .

By now, if anyone is following using the same devotional booklet, they will realize my thoughts about spiritual danger are not the same at the author who wrote that guide. He talks today about New Age teaching, but my battle is seldom with the ideas of false teachers or the doctrines of cults.

Right now, my spiritual enemy is not flesh and blood but principalities and powers, the rulers of darkness referred to in Ephesians 6. That old liar attacks me often with two main notions: ‘God does not love me’ and ‘I must take charge of my own life.’

One line from Isaiah (admittedly out of context) describes this spiritual warfare. It says, “Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.” (Isaiah 59:15) It seems to me that my spiritual enemies are bent on keeping me down with lies, and the more determined I am to live for Christ, the more determined they are to destroy my confidence in God.

An additional danger is losing focus: taking my eyes off the things of the Lord and considering what I want right now. The Lord says good things about present realities, things like, “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:11–14)

But sometimes I feel weak, impatient, depressed, unworthy, in the dark and that my sins will never go away. For this, God sometimes reminds me of the present truth and restores my joy. However, today He is reminding me of His promises for the future, that I live “in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began.” (Titus 1:2)

That future grace is my hope, my confidence that “this too shall pass.” Yet some days I feel as if hope for the future is not what I need for right now. I want something tangible and real to put my heart back on track. I want a blessing that pulls me above the disappointments and discouragements of today.

God can give that ‘right now’ blessing, but not always. Today is one of those days where He just says to me that I need to remember the good He has already done, and look forward to the good things that are promised — and sit tight in hope . . .   

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11–14)

Today is a day to be self-controlled, upright, godly and waiting, trusting Him even while I don’t feel like I have anything good going for me.  

“So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain . . .” (Hebrews 6:17–19)

Today is a day to focus on the unchangeable character of His plan, the guarantee of His promises, the fact that He never lies, and that a sure hope is set before me. This is God talking. Rather than putting my confidence in everything going the way I want it right now, He wants future grace to be the anchor of my soul.

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