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For the past year now I’ve been reading a devotional book called Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. This devotional book is all about enjoying peace in the presence of God. If you don’t have this book, then I highly recommend you get it. It will enrich your devotion time and your life!
In the devotion for tomorrow actually, Ms. Young writes about problems that we encounter in our lives that are ongoing! You know, those problems that don’t ever seem to have a solution. Problems that just won’t go away so we try to find a way to live with them. Have any of those?
Because these ongoing problems are ongoing, we seem to over-focus on them and that only adds to the problem. As Christians, we know that we should focus on Christ during times like these. After all, look what happened to Peter when he took his focus off Jesus and began focusing on the storm. You know the account:
29 “Come,” said Jesus. Then Peter got down from the boat and walked on the water to go to Jesus.30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and as he began to sink, he cried out, “Master, save me!” 31 At once Jesus stretched out his hand and caught hold of him, saying to him. “O little faith! What made you doubt?” Matt 14:29-31 (MontgomeryNT)
It’s pretty obvious what went wrong with Peter–He took his eyes off Jesus! Now the application we are to make here is pretty obvious as well–when we encounter those ongoing problems we need to keep our focus on Jesus. AND I’m sure that most of us have every intention to follow such helpful and scriptural advice. Why wouldn’t we! We know exactly what’s going to happen if we don’t. (Some of us know this through painful experience.) Yep, we start sinking; just like Peter did!
This is where fiery darts come in. FD number one: We will be tempted to take our eyes off Jesus and place them where? You guessed it–right smack dab on that problem. As soon as that happens then we will become vulnerable to an onslaught of fd’s with doubt at the top of the list. Then it’s a downward spiral after that. As we spiral downwards so goes our faith, joy, peace, hope (that’s a big one) etc. We become absorbed with the problem which results in our spiritual senses being deadened. Those fd’s have done their deadly work!
NOW, that’s the bad news! Want to hear some good news?
Of course you do! That’s why your still reading, right? The following is beautiful and I have Ms. Young’s obedience to the Holy Spirit’s promptings in writing her devotional book to thank for the following advice. I’ll just quote from her book:
When you are plagued by a persistent problem–one that goes on and on–view it as a rich opportunity. An ongoing problem is like a tutor who is always by your side. The learning possibilities are limited only by your willingness to be teachable. In faith, thank Me for your problem. Ask Me to open your eyes and your heart to all that I am accomplishing through this difficulty. Once you have become grateful for a problem, it loses its power to drag you down. On the contrary, your thankful attitude will lift you up into heavenly places with Me.
Ah, doesn’t that just lift your spirits and encourage your heart? So how do we accomplish this spiritual feat? We must acknowledge the fiery darts that are messing with our minds. Understand the primary fiery dart will be to take your focus off Jesus. The Enemy can’t throw the accompanying fd’s with success until we loose sight of Jesus. By being alert to the Enemy’s plan then we’ll be able to recognize the fd’s that are being sent against us.
Ok, we are resisting the temptation to take our focus off Jesus (quoting Isaiah 54:17 works well here), so be prepared for the following to happen. As we fix our gaze upon Jesus then He will give us the ability to see things hidden from us by the fd’s. Things like Ms. Young shared with us: seeing our ongoing problem as a tutor, having our eyes and heart opened to all that God is accomplishing in our lives via this problem, developing an attitude of gratefulness which will cause the problem to loose its power in dragging us down.
How about trying this the next time that ongoing problem rears it’s ugly head. Thank God that because of Jesus this ongoing problem has lost its power to drag us down. Focusing on the thought that this ongoing problem is like a tutor will be liberating, because we will realize that our relationship with our LORD has been strengthened and has grown out of the adversity that we have encountered.
Feel better? I thought you would. That’s God’s plan! Allow me to leave you with this thought, “The learning possibilities are limited only by your willingness to be teachable.” The more willing you are to be teachable the less downward pull you will feel from that ongoing problem and the greater will be your freedom from it! You will be lifted up into heavenly places, and that is a SWEET place to be!
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!