February 12, 2009
Fight Fire With Fire
A few days ago I was talking to my wife about how hard it is to see God's plan clearly sometimes. How easy it is to get off track when we're looking at all the negatives and not seeking out the positives. She said "Why don't you fight fire with fire"? I asked her what she meant and her response really hit me. It was one of those times when you know it's exactly what you need to hear and truth hits you like a ton of bricks. What she meant was that I should be praising and thanking God for everything He's done for me, especially in those times when my natural reaction would be the complete opposite. I've been meaning to write down my thoughts ever since that conversation and it's taken me a little longer then what I had hoped but it proves the power of God's ability to use others to speak His reality into us. That conversation has stuck with me and comes back to me multiple times through-out the day.
Is it just me or would you agree that things here in the states are growing increasingly bleak? The prevailing news coverage focusing us on the downturn of our economy, including sinking real estate prices, job-losses, bank closures, and a shrinking Wall Street, really makes me wonder where things are headed. At the least, it's not a time to look at the future with great optimism. Consider the people around you (or likely just look in the mirror) who are struggling financially, who are sick or have some other need and it's almost enough to start questioning whether God even cares or if He really exists at all. We aren't the first people on earth to feel this way. The Philippians must have felt this way thousands of years ago considering what Paul wrote to them:
Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Phil. 2: 1-4)
Again in chapter 4 he says:
Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS. Again I will say, rejoice!
Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4: 4-7)
Regardless of how we feel, we are never alone in our feelings. We are never asked to walk down the long roads of life without supernatural support. Jesus was not only tempted as we are but faced stronger opposition and heavier burdens than we ever will:
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4: 11-13)
What amazing encouragement it is to take our sights off the burden that is not even meant to be carried by us. Instead of giving in to the realities around us, we should have no choice but to instantly run to God and say "You are bigger!", "Nothing is Impossible with you!", I "Rejoice!", even if my world feels like it is disintegrating into nothingness. Jesus knows our burdens, and loves to enable us with supernatural power to bear them with gentleness. How much heavenly refreshing takes place when we're able to start trusting God in the face of every opposition. If you feel completely stuck and unable to move forward, then confess your sin of doubting God's greatness and ask Him to do the impossible in you. Come boldly before the throne, inviting Him to give you faith to run the race with perseverance. Get around people who are running the same race and pray God enables you to fight well. There is no better strategy of Fighting the Fires around you then with the Fire of God. Rejoice, Praise, Worship, Give Thanks, Exalt, and Glorify Jesus through the hardest of times and watch how quickly He comes to your rescue.
Resist the Devil (and temptation) and he (they) will flee.