I May Be Down, but I’m Not Out!

sickBeing sick is never convenient.  It slows us down and can knock us out of our daily routine.  We get sick, but we have deadlines to meet, problems to solve, and a life to live….we don’t have time for being sick!  I don’t get sick often, and I won’t allow it to knock me out of my routine completely.  It’s rare for me to confine myself to bed for rest since it’s impossible to rest while thinking about all I need to do.  I’ll do whatever I have to do to fight through it and stay productive.

Sickness never comes at an opportune time, right?  I mean, no matter what stage life is at, or what there is to do, being sick is a big inconvenience whose occurrence some other time wouldn’t be any better except that it wouldn’t be happening now.

Our struggle with difficulties is much like struggling with sickness.  It has the ability to knock us down, but it doesn’t have to knock us out.  So, how do we ensure we can stay standing when life hits us hard and unexpectedly?

Keep following the doctor’s orders…

We generally only go to the doctor when we do get sick, and he will tell us what we need to do, and we will do that for a time but then begin to slack off.  For instance, I’ve been told to take Vitamin D, especially during winter months, because we generally aren’t exposed to the sun as much as we are in the summer.  Being in the sun helps produce vitamin D in the body….or something like that I’ve been told.  So, if I would take Vitamin D all year long, my immune system would be stronger, and I wouldn’t get sick as often.  That makes sense.  Rather than take something only when I’m sick, I can follow the doctor’s orders and take some preemptive steps to combat sickness.

Ephesians 6:10 says ‘Be strong in the LORD.’  It basically means to follow the doctor’s orders by staying connected with Him.  Our lives easily start to spin out of control, and we begin to feel beaten down and ready to give up due to a coming knock out when we fail to remain in His presence, under His influence, and following His ways.  If you’re not following me, what I’m trying to say is this – the believer is capable when he is connected with God because God is able.  Don’t wait for your life to get difficult before crying out to God and then when all is well to settle into your old ways until you need Him to bring health back to your life because you’re spiritually sick.  If we would stay connected to Him and abide in Him, we would still face difficulties which may get us down but would be unable to knock us out because He is close and always available to strengthen us.

A daily dose of what you need the most….

Your body is able to stay healthier when it has the proper amount of vitamins, nutrition, and water in your system.  Even drinking 8 glasses of water a day boosts your immune system.  If we want to keep our spiritual lives boosted, so we can stand up under the most incredible pressures in life, we understand what Paul says next in verse 10, ‘and in his mighty power.’

Your not able to live the life of a believer without the strength of God.  Compared to God, we have little strength and life stretches us beyond our limits.  It’s here where are limits are reached that God shows He is limitless by giving us the strength to get up and keep pressing on…..we may go down momentarily, but we aren’t out by any stretch of the imagination.  When I can’t, He can.  When I come to the end of myself, I have found the beginning of Him.  When I feel as if the way ahead is too difficult, He bears the burden as I give it to Him.

Maybe the pressures, difficulties, and perceived impossibilities are slowing you down and you feel as if they are about to knock you out.  Right now, and every day from this point forward, seek the LORD and keep connected with Him and draw on His strength.  Be encouraged by His promises, and trust in Him.  Then, when life becomes more settled, stay connected and keep depending on Him and rather than get knocked out, you’ll be able to press on!

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What Are You Running From?

runningPeople around you get comfortable with who you are.  They know what to expect out of you and whatever that is they find it acceptable because they call you their friend. People can handle small incremental changes to who you are.  They won’t sweat the small stuff like you deciding you’d rather have your eggs over easy instead of scrambled from now on, or when you decide to grow a beard (men) or get 3 inches cut off your long hair (ladies….well, maybe some guys too!).  See, no one is alarmed by these small incremental changes in preference.  What changes this delicate balance in a relationship is when you become saved which brings a radical change to who you are, how you live, and what is now your primary motivator in life – Jesus.

No doubt, salvation has the ability to cause those around us who are not saved to wonder what we are running from, but in reality we are also running towards something new, as well.

Salvation directs me to….

run from evil desires.  2 Timothy 2:22 specifically says, ‘Flee the evil desires of youth…’ Timothy is a somewhat young minister who has been trained by Paul, and I believe Paul is addressing the need for him to be aware of the trapping associated with being younger.  Yet, this can’t be all Paul means.  It seems just as clear that evil desires are for the immature, those who don’t want to grow up (come to grips with Jesus), and who want to do their own thing and be rebellious.  Sin is nothing to be proud of and as people who have been created by God, for God, it is just immature of us to continue living so willfully in it.  Those who allow sin to run rampant in their lives are like undisciplined children who think nothing of consequences or what tomorrow brings.  They have no mind for what is important or essential and everything, possibly including their own lives, is expendable because like children, they fail to see worth in life, or what is worthy in life.

The believer must be living a life that is running from sin (Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Ephesians 5:3-6; Revelation 22:12-16).  Colossians 2:21 says of the principles of this world (in other words….sinful practices) “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”  Believer….what are you running from?  Your answer should be from an immature desire to rebel against God and live in sin which will not only corrupt this life, but will destroy the next.

Salvation directs me to…

pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the LORD out of a pure heart.  (2 Timothy 2:22)  What this means is you must:

…….Run after what God applauds.

If we want our lives to please God then we must be saved, but the evidence of this salvation begins to manifest itself in where I seek approval.  Part of the reason people are caught up in sin is they seek the approval of those who do as they do.  As a child of God you should be seeking the approval of your Father – God Himself.  The way we do this is by having righteousness imparted to us through Christ, like Abraham we believe God’s Word to us and have faith in Him so He can declare us righteous, and our whole being is shaped by the right pursuits – faith, love peace.  We have faith in Him, we love what He loves (especially loving Him), and we live at peace with one another.  At peace with one another does not mean to accept sin in others lives, or to stand idly by as they run from the LORD (Ephesians 4:1a; Luke 17:1-4).

……..Run with the right crowd.

Paul tells Timothy in this verse to make this godly pursuit ‘along with those who call on the LORD out of a pure heart.’  What this means is you aren’t meant to pursue Him alone, but He’s given you brothers and sisters in the LORD to run with.

If you want to pursue the LORD, what better way to do this than around others with the same heartfelt pursuit?  I doubt those around you who don’t know Him are spurring you on to live for the LORD, quite the contrary as they have no mind for what He cares about.  I’m not saying you should spend time exclusively with other believers.  If we were all to do this, we would not be effective in our mission to touch the lost with the Truth of Christ.  Yet, we need others who are likeminded in their pursuit of God as we are to help us continue seeking what is right in His eyes.

What are you running from?  Sounds like you’re missing out on something…..doesn’t it?  The only thing the believer is missing out on is the destructive ability of sin in their lives.  Well, it doesn’t sound so bad now……does it?

Pursue Him…..you won’t be disappointed!