While spending time with the Lord in prayer these past few weeks I’ve come to a place of rest and resolve. Rest because I have learned, and I am learning how to place all my plans, purposes and pursuits as well as all my struggles and cares upon Him.
Resolve because I know in this season of transition into the Kingdom age and Great awakening that is upon us, there is a greater need for sensitivity and obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit then ever before. I do not want to try and coast to the finish line in this life through the belief that the end of all things is near and the coming of the Lord draws ever closer. No, as Paul said, if we want to win the prize we must train and exercise constantly that we might win, just as any athlete who wants to excel at his sport will work and strive for excellence in his pursuit of a championship. You don’t quit, you don’t let down until the final whistle!
As a young man my sport was distance running. I loved the mile and two-mile races. We would train for days and weeks, even months, preparing for the challenge of winning the title and trophy at the end of the season for the best team. Each race you would have to set a pace that would keep you on the edge of what you were capable of with the thought of going beyond into territory that you had never crossed before. Each lap was building towards a final lap, the leg of the race that would determine who had trained and prepared, who would endure and find the strength to dig ever deeper to be the first across that finish line.
When that final lap came, somehow you would dig deeper into yourself for that last ounce of strength and determination, that last spurt of power that would carry you across that line. And when all of that training and hard work paid off; when you won that race, the joy of being the winner made all those months and even years of training and preparation worth it!
As the challenge of each day comes I am faced with a decision: will I live this day to its upmost and strive for the excellence of conformity to Christ, or will I meander through the day without a thought of the greater calling of God to all His people in this hour – to be a light in the midst of the ever increasing darkness.
The Lord has been challenging me through His word; asking me questions and causing me to contend in a greater measure for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ. I want to give you just a couple of examples of what this looks like in my life and how I am encouraged by the Spirit of God to position myself for the days ahead. I believe each one of us will be challenged in our own way by the Spirit of the Lord to move toward this ever-increasing place in God, however if you are struggling and in need a starting place, this may help you.
In Luke 8:27-29 we read, “Now Jesus and His disciples went out to the towns of Caesarea Philippi; and on the road He asked His disciples, saying to them, “Who do men say that I am?”
So, they answered, “John the Baptist; but some say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.”
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”Peter answered and said to Him, “You are the Christ.”
As I read this scripture the Lord spoke to my heart and asked me, “Who do YOU say that I am?” At first, I was a little bit taken aback at such an obvious question. But the Lord who is gracious to me when I seem to be missing the point rephrased the question for me. He said, “Who do you say that I am to you today?”
As I thought about this question, I realized that as I faced each day with its new challenges, I had the opportunity of seeing different facets and varying degrees of the Lord’s involvement in my life based upon the need of the moment. Say for instance I’m challenged with the need for strength to continue on, it is in my recognition of Jesus as the Strength of My life that helps me to persevere (Phil 4:13). So, at that point, I say, “Lord, you are my strength!”.
If I am not feeling well, I then say, “Lord, you are my healer!”. Each day, every moment of the day I can choose to recognize who He is to me at any given moment.
Let me go a little bit further. When Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do you say that I am” only Peter responded. He made a declaration based upon the revelation that was given him, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Here is where we oft times miss the Lord. We speak without revelation and it has no impact in our lives because it does not have the life or light of the Spirit of God who gives us understanding and insight. As the Lord said to me many years ago, “Until it is life in you, it can never be released as life through you”, speaking of the word.
We need to grow in our relationship with the Lord and His word and take the time to truly know Him. We must move past the menial and mundane ‘church experience’ of that which is portrayed as Christianity today and into the realm of intimacy with the Lord so when we speak, we are speaking from experience, from our position of intimacy and knowledge of Him; from having walked with him as the very heart and center of our lives. We must get to the place where what we say about who He is in our lives becomes that declaration via revelation that brings life!
This is the place of victory! This is the place of overcoming! It is beyond the ordinary and is communicated with insight and authority because the light and life of revelation has dawned in our hearts, and now we have something to share of Kingdom value.
In the same way, the Lord challenged me with an oft quoted scripture, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death” (Rev 12:11).
He said, “The blue print for victory in every challenge you have throughout your day is found in this verse.”
I said, “What do you mean Lord?”
He said, “Because of the covenant of my blood you have redemption and access to all the promises and all the benefits of the Kingdom of Heaven. You access them by what you say in any given situation; by your testimony.”
Immediately I understood. My testimony is not just that backward look about the trials Jesus has brought me through, but more importantly about what I am facing now! What am I saying when I am faced by the challenges that come my way each and every day? What do I speak while in the midst of these tests and challenges? My ‘testimony’, my ‘declaration spoken through the life-giving revelation of the Spirit of God’ is what gives me the victory!
In the midst of the storm do I cry out, “Lord help me, I’m drowning! Don’t you care?” Or do I say, “Peace, be still?”
We have come to a time where the Body of Christ is being challenged to step into their Kingdom Authority and to shine the light of God’s Glory wherever we go and in any circumstance we find ourselves in. There is a culling taking place. The ‘varsity team’ if you will is being selected in this hour to begin this final phase of the Kingdom of Heaven on the earth. As professional athletes they have trained long and hard with a focus and intent to be the best and to win the crown. Their lamps are trimmed!
Those who have neglected the time and effort to ‘train’, to participate in this season will find themselves struggling to keep up. I’m not talking about the works of your flesh nor am I speaking of any religious protocol. I am talking about a meaningful and passionate relationship with the Lord. This yearning for Him causes you to spend time in prayer, fasting and the studying of His word that you might know Him! This process of sanctification and consecration has been going forth for many years now.
We are right now in the valley of decision. Will you pick up your cross today and follow Him? Are you prepared and willing to lay aside every weight that so easily besets you and to run the race set before you? Your coach, your helper, Holy Spirit is here right now to get you ‘up to speed’ for the final race – if you are willing.
Still Waters International Missions