Thursday, May 31, 2012

Stay Weak

FIRST READ- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Have you ever made a promise to God that you knew you couldn’t keep, but it sounded good when you said it? Maybe it’s a vow to never go back to that besetting sin you can’t seem to shake. Or a promise that you’ll never go back to that man you know is no good for you. Maybe it’s even a promise that you’ll start going to church more. But what happens when that temptation comes back again? Or that man calls you to meet up for dinner? Or when you don’t “feel” like going to church for bible study? How great are our promises when temptation rears its head? Sometimes we have the habit of making promises we cannot keep. You tell God what you’re going to do, and then completely leave Him out of the equation. I know from experience that these “promises” will only be kept with the power of the Holy Spirit.

I admire singer Demi Lovato for her boldness to expose her struggles. It truly touches my heart, having struggled with similar issues. However, I have to disagree with her “Stay Strong” tattoos on her wrists. Believer, don’t stay strong, stay weak. God’s Word makes it clear how one can receive victory with the Holy Spirit. In the second letter to the church at Corinth, Paul writes that in our weakness we are the strongest. Now to some, that statement contradicts itself. To Believers, however, it makes perfect sense. When we are at our weakest point, the power of the Holy Spirit is at His strongest point. When we humble ourselves and rely on His strength and not ours, we are victorious. 

Last Sunday, my Pastor preached a sermon, “There’s No Evidence,” which ties in nicely with this post. We looked at the disciple Simon Peter when he makes a promise to Jesus. He tells the Son of God that he will go to prison and even to death with the Christ. What a bold statement! I love the Lord’s reply to Peter, “…the rooster will not crow today until you deny three times that you know Me!” (Luke 22:34). Shortly after that was spoken, we see Peter’s denial of Christ in Luke 22:56-61. It’s easy to point the finger and laugh at Peter for his foolish statement. However, we have to look at the three fingers pointing back at us.

Peter thought he would keep that promise in his own strength. But Christ knew that wasn’t going to work out well. A little temptation came, and Peter realized he wasn’t as strong as he thought. Oftentimes, we get what my Pastor calls, “Peter-itis” in life, thinking we are stronger than we really are. “Lord, I’ll never do it again!” “I promise I’ll read my bible more!” We make these promises in our own strength and when temptation comes, we flop. Instead, our strength should come from the Holy Spirit. Then, as temptation creeps into our lives, we have a stronger power fighting for us.

So how can we receive victory? How can we keep those promises we vowed to God? Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but first, stop making promises to God. He knows our strengths and weaknesses perfectly. So when we make promises, we end up looking just like Peter. If you truly desire to read your bible more, or get set free from an addiction you can’t shake, you just need to stay weak. Now, I’m not saying go to a bar if alcohol is your problem so you can stay weak—that’s just DUMB! You have to stay weak in YOUR strength. When our strength is weak, it gives the Holy Spirit opportunity to show off His strength. We have to say, “God, you know I’m weak in this area, I need Your strength on this one.” 

The Apostle Paul writes it beautifully, “…for when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10). When we admit that we can’t do it on our own, God gives us His victorious strength to handle the temptation that inevitably comes our way. Don’t become so prideful that you rely more on your strength, than the Lord’s. Tell your strength that His strength is the strongest. Your strength needs to be so much weaker compared to His. Begin by asking the Holy Spirit for more of His strength to conquer any giant in your life. Also, stop making promises to God like you did with your friend in kindergarten. You are too mature for these promises, Beloved. Ultimately, when you truly want victory, you won’t make promises, you’ll just do it.  Stay weak and allow the Holy Spirit to be all the strength you need.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Son, The Source

Discouragement, no matter what the form, is a natural part of life. The complexity of it is that your mind is fighting through emotional warfare while your heart is crying. This combination can be extremely detrimental in one’s life, especially a Believer’s. Since discouragement is a part of life, it’s essential we deal with it the right way—the Godly way. How does the Lord say we handle these moments of discouragement? 

“If you want to be great in Christ, you have to know how to deal with emotional warfare.” –Pastor Vic

As my Pastor preached a sermon titled, “Take No Thought” (Matthew 6:31) I began to realize that discouragement is truly inevitable—there’s no way around it. Emotional warfare is simply when the enemy attacks your mind with a whole bunch of ridiculousness. The enemy will begin to tell you things like, “You aren’t good enough” or “You don’t have anyone to talk to.” In the sermon, God began to speak that WE DO have someone to talk to, our High Priest. (Hebrews 3:1) That WE ARE good enough and our lives were worth Christ dying for. The message really spoke to me; however I didn’t know I would go through this warfare so soon. 

No sooner than this sermon was preached, I started to experience this emotional warfare. Before I started walking with Christ, I didn’t handle this warfare in the best way. Last night I was headed back down the same path of handling it without the Son. However, just like God spoke through my Pastor a few days prior, my High Priest truly encouraged me through it. As I casually looked at the full moon last night, I was amazed. It appeared as though it was on fire. I had never in my entire life seen the moon this way. I am a big believer that God speaks through EVERYTHING. So I stopped and looked to the Son.

From a natural standpoint, the moon reflects light from the sun. The moon never produces its own light. The Lord reminded me how one day my Pastor used this analogy during a sermon, it’s powerful in itself. As believers, we are like the moon reflecting light from the sun, or the Son of God. The sun in all its glory and power provides light for the moon. Without the moon, we wouldn’t be able to see at night, here on Earth. If we didn’t have the Son, we (Believers) as the moon, wouldn’t have light for the World. When things are taking place on the Earth, whether it’s as chaotic as war or as crazy as a Justin Bieber concert, the moon never stops reflecting light from the sun. No matter what is going on around the moon, the sun remains its source of power and energy. We must be like the moon always looking to the Son, our High Priest for our source of encouragement. 

Child of God, emotional warfare is unfortunately inevitable. It’s important that we go to our High Priest for encouragement through these times. As I looked up at the moon, its light was reflecting from the sun. Let’s look up the Son of God, the way the moon relies on the sun. We must stop going through emotional warfare the way we did prior to walking with Christ. It never helped before; it definitely won’t benefit you now. “Take no thought” to those old ways. So before you run to your phone or to your best friend’s house for “worldly advice,” look to your High Priest for encouragement. Ask yourself questions like, “Is my source of encouragement coming from the Son of God? Who I am looking/ what do I look to first when I experience emotional warfare?” No matter what is going on around you or what discouragement comes your way, stop and look to the Son.