But I will hope continually,
and will praise You yet more and more.
My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness
and Your salvation all the day,
for I do not know their limits.
I will go
in the strength of the Lord God…
~ Psalm 71:14-16
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed ~ always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:7-10
When we begin to look more and more like Jesus, when we begin to withstand the darkness, opposition comes. The light of God exposes sin. It shows us what needs to change. It illuminates truth.
This brings freedom to those who are willing to step into His grace.
Which is exactly why there will be opposition from the enemy and even from people in your life who aren’t ready for change. Jesus said that we shouldn’t be surprised if the world hates us… it hated Him first.
Our response? It should look like His. Which means that it must be love.
(1st Corinthians 13)
And when other Christians are the people hurting us (because it’s a reality that this will happen), our response is the same, once again, as His: love.
Part of the definition of courage from Joshua 1:6 includes the phrase “make obstinate” and that is what it takes. We have to stubbornly refuse to change our course of action in spite of attempts to persuade us to do so because those attempts are going to come.
If we believe that we are in a spiritual battle that would keep as many people as possible in darkness, if we believe that we “do not war according to the flesh” like 2 Corinthians 10 tells us, we have to also believe that arguments, strongholds, and spirits that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God are going to come.
If you’re like me, confrontation is something that sends you into a cold sweat and a corner far, far away from the problem. I can barely deal with disciplining my own kids
(don’t worry, I still do it… I just don’t LIKE it 😉 ).
But I don’t want to be afraid when what I am standing against is evil. I don’t want to run when there are people who need a voice to speak into their lives. When there is need and where there is injustice, I don’t want to hide when I have the choice to stay.
I don’t want to bow to the opinions, the actions, and the circumstances of this earth.
I want to hold my head up high, raise my weapons of worship and the Word. I want to be mighty in God.
Just on the surface… I don’t know if I am strong enough to do that, to face hatred if it comes, to stand unflinching in the heat of opposition.
But there was a time when I’d been asking God, over and over again, for help in forgiving someone. I just couldn’t seem to let the past go and build trust again. I told Him, “I just don’t think I am strong enough.”
And He answered me with this: “No. You’re not. But I AM.”
So I remember Moses, shoes off, the wonder of the fiery bush before him, his stuttering tongue unsure as God said to him ~ Tell them My name is Yahweh. I AM.
I think of His people in need of hope, the Promised Land ahead, the battles yet to be fought, the battles yet to be won.When I am not sure that I able to step into the darkness, He says I AM.
When I am not sure that I am able to love more, to forgive more, to give more ~
He says I AM.
When I am not strong enough ~ He says, over and over again ~ I AM.
There’s too much at stake for us to hide away. There’s too many people who need freedom from sin, from fear, from all the things that once held us in our own chains…
I don’t want to run and I don’t want to pretend I can’t see their need and I don’t want to turn away, even if it means coming face to face with the darkness.
Yahweh, the Great I AM, goes before and behind me, beside and within me. Everywhere we go, we stand on holy ground. And if I can see that, if I can encounter every person and every battle with that knowledge… then I step in, prepared with His banner of love lifted high over me. I step in, not in my power but in His.
Whom have I in heaven but You?
And on earth I desire no one besides You.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
~ Psalm 73:26
Artwork: Kailey Lambert, all rights reserved