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When trouble comes...

I want to share with you an illustration that has captured my imagination lately.

 

“It would be a very wonderful thing if one could stand at the foot of the Niagara Falls, and could speak a word which should make the river Niagara begin to run upstream, and leap up that great precipice over which it now rolls in stupendous force. Nothing but the power of God could achieve that marvel; but that would be more than a fit parallel to what would take place if the course of your nature were altogether reversed. All things are possible with God. He can reverse the direction of your desires and the current of your life, and instead of going downward from God, he can make your whole being tend upward toward God. That is, in fact, what the Lord has promised to do for all who are in the covenant; and we know from Scripture that all believers are in the covenant.”

—Charles Spurgeon

 

This reminds me of what God says in Romans:


Romans 6:8-14 “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”


Do you see it? If Jesus has reversed the “stupendous force” of those previously deadly waters for us toward life in God, then we should be a people of joy and rest! We should be a chorus of good news in a culture caught up primarily with bad news.


But how?


We Reckon that what God says about us is the truest thing about us. Period. We choose to trust, moment by moment, what God says rather than our feelings, experiences, pain, confusion, and limitations. We bring them to a reckoning with the truth of God. This starts as a single thought that we feed over and over as it grows over time to touch the very seat of our souls. Every moment of every day, we must choose to trust what God says over every other perspective. Our spouses, friends, kids, politicians, doctors, and anyone else can’t have the decisive weight of God in our thoughts. The battle is won or lost right here, and this is why God encourages us to arrest every thought and bring it in submission to Jesus (2 Cor. 10:4-5). There is a war in our minds that directly impacts our spirit, body, family, relationships, work, etc. And it all starts with what we choose to reckon, one moment at a time.


When we have reckoned properly, we have to Present ourselves practically. This is where our thoughts morph into action. We present our mind, body, and soul to God as alive from the dead and instruments of righteousness. We don’t drift in the old flow of death, and we don’t paddle in the direction of sin anymore. Turn to God right now and say something like this: “Jesus, I belong to you. You have changed me from old and dead to new and alive. I present to You my mind, body, emotions, all that I am to live like it right now. Play a righteous tune with my instruments in this moment”.


Imagine watching God do the amazing work of reversing the flow of the Niagra Falls and then stepping up to the bank in your kayak to experience the water for yourself. But as you enter in, everything in your previous experience tells you that things will move in the old orientation, so you point your vessel in the direction of that old way. Your attempts to engage the new flow would be filled with struggle, strain, and conflict. Your view would be backward. And even though you may mentally acknowledge the change God has done, you present yourself and act as if nothing has.


That backward perspective explains the looks on many of our faces sometimes. Strain, stress, and struggle are nested in our minds and played out in our lives. Much of our own daily defeat is our own doing. I’m not saying that life isn’t difficult or that sin is no longer present. All analogies break down, so we much hold tightly to God’s word. Jesus said we would have trouble in this life (John 16:33), and Paul said that we would wrestle with the presence of sin (Romans 7) until delivered to new bodies (1 Cor. 15:42-49). What I am saying is that we can make this sanctification and warfare process we are all living out as disciples of Jesus much harder on ourselves when we neglect this simple discipline of reckoning and presenting.


So here is my encouragement to us all, and believe me - I need this reminder desperately:


  • Reckon that the truest thing about you is that you are alive in Christ - that He has reversed the flow of death and sin your life.

  • Present yourself to God right now. Report for righteousness with your heart, mind, soul, and body.

  • Trust Him with the results as you simply abide in the flow He provides (John 15)

If we do this, moment by moment today - I think we will all experience a different kind of rest that we desperately need in these troubled times. God’s supernatural strength will work for us as we look forward to the day when we arrive Home with Him at last. Let’s all point ourselves in the direction of truth and life together today.

Remember: “sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”


Much love,

Doug M.

806-316-7679

doug@graceamarillo.com



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