Soldier of The Cross, those who run the Race can not afford to be distracted. Running entails having a place to go, a reason to go there, a purpose that produces speed and a determination that nothing will get in the way. Then, of course, we are all human. So, how do we address the issues that crop up and so easily turn our attention away from the Race? It starts and ends in prayer. Prayer that is aloud. Prayer that formulates sentences that agree with God's Word. In prayer, we take a position. In prayer, we state the goal. In prayer, we make the commitment. In prayer, we acknowledge the provision. In prayer, we determine to look unto the things that lie ahead and we refuse to be distracted by anything that is not confirmed in His Word. Soldier, until we have no more breath, we can run.
Is your security in Christ? It can't be in being right, being better, being sure or having a plan. It has to be in the One who died for you, named you and has asked you to trust Him and leave all else behind. Soldier of The Cross, the issue is simple. Have you agreed with Him, or have you not?
What does it mean to experience Life? There is no other Life such as is experienced by those who are in Christ. You were designed to live and move in Him, and have your entire being in Him. You were designed to live in Sabbath rest. You were designed to walk in The Light. You were designed to know Peace and to experience Peace. You were designed to look forward to eternity, and to look for His coming. You were designed to have an intimate relationship with the One who hung the stars in place. You were designed to receive and minister supernatural Love. So, Soldier of The Cross, what is the purpose of your life? Does it match His purpose for your life? Have you decided that you will devote yourself to knowing Him with all your might? Have you decided you are preparing to spend eternity with Him? He has given you a supernatural assurance that you will be with Him for ever and ever. The Indwelling Holy Spirit lives within you and empowers you to obey. That is, if you are available. If you agree with God. Soldier, take inventory tonight. Would you agree that seventy percent of your daily thoughts concern the issues of life? That is an indictio0n that your priorities are not in order. You may be working two jobs. You may be in prison. You may have a terminal illness. You may have twenty foster children. But, if your thoughts are not on the Lord as you are moving through the hours, you must make a change. He is keenly interested in each detail of your life, and don't you forget it!
Love takes no account of an evil done to it . . . Is that really possible? Can a believer be free from the wrangling of the mind and emotions that follow unfairness or cruelty? How is it possible to resist the need to get even, or strike back? He who was gracious on The Cross has not only commanded us to return good for evil, but He has made it possible for us to obey. He said He would send The Comforter, and He has done so. He died and rose again so that you could live a supernatural life. You have the Indwelling Holy Spirit. Because He lives within you, you have infinite power to obey. He who is Love wants to make His Likeness in you. Are you willing? If so, He will give you the provision to obey when the time comes to act or to resist acting. Soldier of The Cross, you may not lick your wounds. You may not try to get even. You may not attempt to win others to be against the one who has offended you. You may not pout and withdraw. You must love. Because He said so. Love may mean saying no. Love may mean making allowances you have never made before. Love may mean repeating yourself hundreds of times. Love may mean taking the hits and marching hard after the Lord anyway. Love never gives negative value to an evil done to it. Love is not blind or ignorant, but God's Love is planted in His own power and Life. God's Love prevails over all else.
The Lord does not take anything casually, and neither should we. His Word is clear. He will not tolerate and He will not compromise. What He will do, is forgive a genuinely repentant heart. Soldier of The Cross, no one has it all together. There is no Believer who has ever "arrived." If you were to meet with the most mature, the most published, the most respected, they would tell you that they have never climbed up onto any plateau that removes them from the need to confess and repent. We have a glorious gift. He who saved us by Grace has made it clear that He longs for a heart that is completely available. That means repentance - a turning from one direction and the embracing of another. There is nothing else.
I have never found Job to be a picture of patience. He distinguishes himself as God's man because he refuses to blame God and refuses to whine or complain. At the same time, he is miserable and genuinely suffering. What Job does not know, is that God has chosen Job to show his substance of faith. Soldier of The Cross, are you willing to be chosen for such a thing? Do you trust God enough to let Him to do anything He wants to with your life? If not, why not? God is without flaw and does not fail. Is it possible that He will leave you in the wake of some other agenda? Of course not. He has made Himself clear. He is the Lover of Your Soul. He will never leave you. He will not withhold any good thing. Wait for Him. Trust Him. Tell Him what you are doing. Raise your hands and sing to Him. Ask Him to teach you to praise Him. Turn away from the thing you think is so hard and look at the One who holds the stars in place. He left Glory to take your place in death and bore your sin. Who has done more for you?
In order to see answered prayer, you must take God at His Word. Because we so often pray according to our human limitations, we similarly look for answers according to our concepts of what we think is good for us. The vase, immeasurable creativity of our God is so far beyond our experience or imagination, that He has asked us to trust Him and to take Him at His Word. He has said He would do what is best for us. If He is allowed, He will do what Glorifies himself. Those who long to be like Him will tell Him so and will allow Him to do anything, in order to bring about His own likeness in them. Those soldiers of The Cross will assume that He is having His way, because they have appropriated the Promises. They have told Him this in prayer. So, in storm or in sunshine, those who want Him more than anything else will go to Him in prayer. They will tell Him that they can trust Him. They will thank Him for the things that are explosively enjoyable. They will thank Him for the things that seem impossible. They will thank Him for the whole gambit, because they have determined that He can be trusted. Soldier, have you made that decision ? Have you told Him aloud? What thing could be distressing today? Tell Him you trust Him and that you stand on what He has said. Remember, you are always on display, and if you trust Him, it will be reflected in your words. These things must take place in prayer. Those who refuse to submit to him in prayer are always nervous. Bitter. Afraid. Tired. There is no greater privilege than to be chosen for the special blessing of His attention and answered prayer. Simply agree with God. Do it in prayer. Do it aloud.
Those who have determined to lay up treasure in heaven are abundantly free to work and harvest with abandon. In fact, it is the living by sight and the need to preserve earthly security that cripples the believer. Soldier of The Cross, you must take God at His Word. If He says we must make eternal investment, we must present ourselves to Him for obedience in this area. Those who have taken Him seriously are able to live with little or with much. They do not prefer to be with the wealthy over the poor. They work at the highest level even if they are not being paid. Those who invest eternally, consider the Lord to be the provider of the daily bread, as opposed to their own efforts. Even the most wealthy Christian must pray in his daily bread - otherwise, he feels responsible for his own sustenance. Tell the Lord what your priorities are. May He change you? Tell Him. Aloud.
Soldier of The Cross, what does it take to distract you? Physical pain? Financial difficulty? A threatened reputation? Misunderstanding? Injustice? Grief? A lonely marriage? Professional difficulty? A misbehaving child? What about discontent in the local assembly? All of these things are part of living in a fallen world. He never said we would not walk through the fire. He only said He would protect us while walking through the fire. Every day I deal with people who say they are born again, yet they are not willing to let the Lord have His way in any area of their lives. As soon as there is discomfort, they must scramble to be on top of things. They think they have to be right and they are desperate to be in control. On the other hand, every day I am in contact with those who love Him, see Him and want nothing else. Soldier, He wants a heart that submits to His Way, His Will and His Wisdom. These things happen in prayer and you must speak with Him about it directly. Aloud. Today.
God's Word is the bottom line. You may not lie to accomplish what you consider to be a godly aim. You may not bite back at someone because you think he has done something bad to you. You may not enhance a story to persuade the listener to side with you. Your behavior is not to be determined by circumstances, but by God's Word. He never fails. He never changes. He never compromises. He never leaves us. He is The Truth. He is The Life. He is The Way. He is The Door. He is the Bright and Morning Star. He is the Rose of Sharon. He is the Lion of Judah. And more. He is always right. His Word is always true.