Put Your Hope In God
"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God"(Psa. 43:5).
Are you convinced that your life counts for nothing? Have you been beaten down by circumstances or other people so that you sometimes think that God could never use you? Do you consistently carry guilt over failures large and small? Perhaps you feel like you’ve failed God because your children haven’t measured up to your expectations, or have chosen to take a detour from the faith you so carefully tried to plant in them. It could be that one of your own parents indicated disappointment in you, and you are consistently replaying their hurtful, damaging words over and over in your mind.
Though we have been given the very mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16), we can at times allow the enemy to sidetrack us from our primary purpose, which is to love God and to love others. We are taught by the Word of God to live lives of peaceful, confident and joyful service to the glory of the King of kings. And we are instructed that we can do all things through Jesus Christ who gives us strength (Phil. 4:13)! And yet we still struggle with the walk of faith that enables us to walk in victory.
Knowing the promises we have in Jesus, how do we emerge from living lives of continual defeat into the bright light of lives well-lived – a reflection of the One we are to be like? We all know in our heart of hearts what the answer is…but although we may reach for it, we struggle to grasp it fully and completely – once and for all!
It is time to entirely embrace what we claim to already believe and to put into practice what we already know will win the battle. For the sake of our children who are watching our walk with the Lord, we must stop being overcome by the enemy of our souls and instead become overcomers for the cause of Christ. We must stop insisting on being victims of our own circumstances rather than allowing Jesus to be Lord over those circumstances. We must stop trying to "fix" everything ourselves while wallowing in our own self-pity. Parents, we have a heritage to pass to our children, and it is not a legacy of defeat, but an inheritance of joy!
The generations coming behind us are counting on our strength. They are watching to see how we handle setbacks, disappointments and even catastrophe. If they see us falling apart due to the lack of our own inherent strength, rather than leaning upon the strong arm of the Father, they will not embrace the power of the cross of Jesus Christ! Instead, they will assume that the faith we have based our lives upon is weak and ineffective. For their sakes and for our own, as well as for the sake of the kingdom, we must stand firm, believing that He who has promised is faithful (Heb. 10:23)! We must be strong and courageous knowing without a doubt that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deut. 31:6). He will go before us and He will be our rear guard (Isa. 52:12). His plans stand firm forever and the purposes of His heart through all generations (Psa. 33:11). We also must stand firm for the sake of the generations to come – to leave them a victorious heritage!
Take His Yoke upon You and Learn from Him
Let’s go to God’s Word and then obey it as we grasp the hand of the Savior who wants to haul us up out of the miry clay and set our feet securely upon the Rock (Psa. 40:2)! He alone has the answer to every situation, predicament, frustration, addiction and temptation we face in this life! It is Jesus who says, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matt. 11:28-30).
If you have felt weary and burdened by the circumstances of your life, it’s time to take His yoke upon you and learn from Him so that He can give you rest. Now is the time to take some steps that will allow the Lord to defeat the work of the enemy in your life so that you can claim victory in Christ Jesus our Lord:
• Be aware that you have an enemy who wants to damage you.
"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Pet. 5:8). God does not want us to be paranoid about the work of the devil, but to be on our guard continually. The devil will try to catch us unaware and it is then that he can do the most damage. In your weakest moments, when you are most likely to succumb to feelings of doubt or despair, remember that this is just where Satan wants you – defeated and fragile. If you are alert, you will cry out to God and be prepared to withstand the attack.
• Resist the devil.
"Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast" (1 Pet. 5:9-10). Knowing that Jesus will restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast, you can stand up to any attack of the enemy. Do you believe it with your heart, and not just your head? Here is some loving instruction about how to resist the devil’s schemes:
"‘In your anger do not sin.’ Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold" (Eph. 4:26-27).
"Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will" (2 Tim. 2:22-26).
"But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere" (Jas. 3:14-17).
• Learn how to battle against the right enemy.
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints" (Eph. 6:12-18).
Always remember that people are not your enemies. Now, the devil can certainly use people to do his evil work against you, but they are still people whom God loves dearly. People can damage us and cause us much harm when they are manipulated by Satan to do so. However, many times we are in despair or live defeated lives because we haven’t recognized the power of love and forgiveness toward those who do us harm. So put on your armor each day, take up the weapons of warfare and pray!
• Learn what to do when the enemy tempts you.
"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak" (Matt. 26:41). Watch and pray.
"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Cor. 10:13). Look for God’s way out.
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Heb. 4:15-16). Pray with confidence to the One who will help you in your time of need. Remember that you have a choice to make every time you are tempted to sin, or to fall into despair. You can give in to what Satan desires, or stand firm upon the Rock, Christ Jesus, who will give you victory.
• Learn how to put a guard over your mouth, your ears, your heart and your mind.
"...Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" (Jas. 1:19-20).
"Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Let not my heart be drawn to what is evil, to take part in wicked deeds..." (Psa. 141:3).
• Know that the Lord will fight for you.
"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still" (Ex. 14:14). Just as God expected the Israelites to arm themselves for battle and to march out boldly, the battle is not ours to win – it is His! This passage is a reminder that victory will not be won in our own strength. We are to be alert and to prepare; however, He is the Lord who is strong and mighty in battle (Psa. 24:8).
• Claim the promise of your victory.
"The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you" (Rom. 16:20).
is precious to the Lord. When you let doubt and discouragement rob you of all
that you are in Christ, the devil wins a victory. The Father delights in you;
the devil delights in distracting and derailing you. The Father has a mission
for you; the devil is determined to slow you down or keep you from doing
anything of kingdom significance. Put your hope in the Lord Jesus and He will
turn your mourning into dancing. He will fill you with joy and establish a godly
heritage through you for the generations to come as you stand firm upon His Word
and the promises from His heart to yours. "You turned my wailing into
dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may
sing to You and not be silent, O Lord my God, I will give You thanks forever"
If you would like to read more articles by Kim Butts, please visit www.harvestprayer.com.