For the last few years I feel like I’ve been living in the wilderness, kind of like the Israelites. On my journey, I have been doing my best to “Live by the Spirit”
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25
Like the Israelites, while I’ve been in the wilderness, he has protected me, fed me, clothed me and guided me. He has even showed himself in some amazing ways. All the while, he has also been proving me, trying me, testing my heart and my mind.
“Prove me, oh Lord, and try me, test my heart and my mind, for your steadfast love is before my eyes and I walk in your faithfulness. “ Psalm 26:2-3
When you are in the wilderness, there is a lot of time spent waiting on God. So much so, that sometimes it feels like you could use the word wilderness and waiting interchangeably! What Do you think waiting on God is supposed to look like?
“As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept.“. Matthew 25:5
“ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” Matthew 25:13
I think what scripture is telling us here, is that waiting on God, should mean watching for God. We should be standing at the ready, waiting and watching for what God is going to do next and what he wants us to do. As you read the next scripture, pay close attention to how many times it says stand.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to STAND against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to WITHSTAND in the evil day, and having done all, to STAND firm. STAND therefore…..Galatians 6:10-18
Putting on the armor of God implies there is going to be a battle! For me, living by the Spirit requires patience and trust in God. Remember the scripture said, “Also, keep in step with the Spirit.” At first glance I thought that was redundant, but at closer inspection, keeping in step with the Spirit is very different than living by the Spirit. To keep in step with the Spirit, it requires faith and courage, because to keep in step means there’s no pause, no fear, no doubt. When he moves, you move. It requires complete faith and courage. Now, about this battle, let’s read Deuteronomy 9:1+3
1) “Hear, oh Israel, you are to cross over the Jordan today, to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you. 3) Know therefore today, that he who goes before you as a consuming fire, is the Lord your God. He will destroy them and subdue them before you. SO, you shall A) drive them out and B) make them perish quickly. As the Lord promised you.” Deuteronomy 9:1+3.
I could write whole blog about driving out the enemy and killing it quickly from our lives but, for now, I’ll leave it.
This scripture says HE will go before us and destroy and subdue the enemy, we must drive them out and make them perish quickly. It’s a fixed fight, but it is still a fight! It is a fixed fight. You don’t have to fear, but you do have to fight, in order to have the victory. How do we fight?
“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness, given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert, with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:13-18
During this journey through my wilderness, God has been proving me and trying me and testing my heart and my mind. Do you remember in Genesis 33 were Jacob wrestles with a man he learns later is God? I have done my fair share of wrestling with God. I have prayed for my will/desires, which I’m sure is his will too! Ha ha. Seriously, I have prayed for God’s will, but at times, I’ve told him just how he needs to accomplish that will. I’m sure you’ve never done that! But here is the beautiful part of that story; at the end of the chapter Jacob/Israel builds an alter to the Lord. In the past God has been called the God of his fathers. The God of Abraham and the God of Isaac. Here at the end of this chapter, after wrestling with God, he builds an altar and calls it “El-Elche-Israel.” This time he’s no longer just the God of his fathers, but now he is the “God of Israel.” He has become HIS God.
I think God is calling me out of my wilderness and into the battle. He is calling me out today, tried and tested, ready for battle. I have wrestled with him in my wilderness and he is no longer the God of my parents. He is now my God, my father, my Savior and has even become my friend.
“The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him and he makes known to them his covenant.“ Psalm 25:14
I am confident that he is not done trying me and testing me, but I am ready to keep in step with the Spirit, fighting the enemy for what I am certain will be a victory!
“After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.. 1Peter 5:10-11
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.“ 2 Corinthians 4:17