There are two things for certain that God has planned for every Christian while they are on this earth: To grow and develop you so that your heart and character closely resembles Jesus Christ, and to transform you forever so that you become a useful tool in the kingdom of God. All of us have a sphere of influence where we are to be God’s agent. No matter what your circumstances may be, or how many people you influence from day to day, your character, faithfulness and integrity will be put through the fire so God can chisel and shape you to become a tool fit for the Master’s use.
The challenges that you will experience on your journey will teach you that life can seem incredibly unfair at times. You will also learn that your dreams will be put to a test because life doesn’t always happen in the way we we had planned, but there is one thing you must always remember. When life throws you a curve, you have been placed in that position for a reason and you are where you need to be at the exact time you need to be there. This is the time to get alone with God and ask him to open your eyes and heart to learn what you need to learn so that you are prepared for the future. It might look like your life is out of control, but your life is being controlled by your heavenly Father. Guard against becoming bitter, angry or unforgiving. Display a sweet spirit even during the hardest times. Remain faithful and have faith that God has a plan and a purpose for you and you will get there if you pass the test.
When it is all said and done, you determine whether or not you enjoy all that God has planned for you. If you have the right attitude, if you are persistent and faithful and trust God with your whole heart, you will succeed. If you lose heart and fail to trust God in every thing, you will miss out on seeing the victories that you could have experienced if you had walked in faith. Allow the promises of God to be the fuel that keeps you going day after day. Remember that God has promised to never leave nor forsake you. Hold on to the truth that God loves you and is mindful of you at all times. The enemy of your soul wants you to doubt God and do your own thing, but your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ died to give you power over sin and death and He wants you to be happy and successful. Choose faith and you will choose the life that will provide you eternal joy and peace that passes all understanding.
All of you know that in this life we will be tested and if you can take it – you will make it. Think about a cruise ship. They are built to withstand adverse weather conditions because their journeys take them through the wind, rain and all types of storms. They would go out of business if every time bad weather conditions arose, they had to turn back to port. Ships are built to endure, they are solid. They have everything they need to keep sailing. They can take it, so they make it – they just keep right on going. How many times have you heard a Christian say ‘I can’t take it anymore?’ The truth is, how much you can take determines your success or failure. If you are able to take discouragement, even failure, and not let it stop you from trying again, you will always win. You must have a will to win, and your will to win will cause you to get up every day, get back in the game and try again.
Winners spend their time building dreams while quitters spend their time criticizing those who have not given up. Winners focus on the things they must do to win while quitters focus on things that make them think they can’t win. Winners see obstacles in their way as hurdles – they don’t stop, they just jump right over them. They condition themselves to take it and that is why they make it! The primary goal of a winner is to win so they take the word ‘can’t out of their vocabulary. The person who never believes that he is defeated is not defeated. His ‘I can make it’ attitude is evidence that he isn’t through fighting yet. There will always be people who will say that something can’t be done and, unfortunately, if you believe you can’t – you won’t! We are limited by what we tell ourselves and our performance is based on what we believe.
A winner knows how to pace himself; he knows when it’s time to slow down and regroup and he knows when it is time give it all he’s got. A winner believes that if one thing doesn’t work, he must try something else. A loser believes that if one thing doesn’t work it can’t be done. A winner takes risks; a winner sees setbacks as opportunities to try something new. A loser sees setbacks as a sign that it’s time to stop trying. It is your responsibility to have a winning attitude and your winning attitude will keep you in the game in life. The winning attitude you need today may just be the attitude of one who refuses to quit, refuses to give up, refuses to lie down and let life run you over. Jesus has fixed the race you are in – you have already won because the enemy of your soul has been defeated. If you can take it – you will make it!
Have you ever been broken – truly broken? God allows us to become broken because on the other side of brokenness is a victory that you could never have attained in the natural. Brokenness takes us to a place where we seek God with our whole heart and it is there, in God’s presence, that we are healed. Do not separate yourself from God but allow God to change your heart and renew your mind so that you become more like the Lord Jesus Christ. Our hearts must have the capability to hold both whole and broken pieces together without becoming bitter in the process. There must be enough wholeness within our hearts to not allow the broken pieces we hold to keep us from moving forward. Brokenness is literally part of the fabric of life, woven into our experience of the world. There is no person that is immune from it.
On the other side of brokenness is freedom. You are able to see things you were not able to see before. You are no longer afraid of anything. Your heart is open and you can sympathize with the pain of others. Your compassion is greater. Your ability to hear God has been magnified because there is nothing in you hindering the Holy Spirit from talking to you. You become creative. Ideas begin to flood your mind. and you become humble because what didn’t break you has made you strong, and believe it or not, there are blessings in brokenness. Often, the blessings are found in the comfort of family or friends. Sometimes the blessing is in finding forgiveness, of self and of others, that helps us heal ourselves or a broken relationship. Sometimes the blessing might be in finding the wisdom, the strength, the courage we didn’t know we had.
God can take what has been broken and remake it into something better, something that He can use for His glory. On the night before He died, Jesus broke bread and said, “This is my body, which is broken for you.” He went all the way to Calvary to die so that we could live. His death has made it possible for broken, sinful humanity to be reconciled to God and be healed. Without the broken body of Jesus, we would have no hope of being made whole, and because Jesus has redeemed us, we must remember that we are more than conquerors in this life. We have within us the power to over come any and all obstacles that may come our way. It’s not what we do – it is what Jesus has already done that makes the difference. Wholeness in mind, body and soul can only be attianed through the Lord Jesus Christ. If you know Him as your Lord and Savior, you will not remain in a broken state. If you do not know HIm as Lord and Savior yet, make the decision to do so now. Jesus did not die in vain. He died so that we all might have life and life more abundantly. When you are sick you need a physician. When you are broken you need God. Move from being broken to being whole and experience the love of God like never before.
The Bible tells us to “fight the good fight of faith.” What does that mean? The enemy of your soul wants nothing more than to defeat you any way he can. He will use suggestions, ideas, pressures and negative circumstances to get you to believe his lies. If Satan can get you to change your confession of faith to a confession of doubt, he‘s got you and that is why you must hold onto your confession of faith and that is why you must resist the devil so that he will flee from you. If you are a child of God, Satan can’t get your soul, it belongs to God. Satan will do whatever he can to get you to lose your faith and give up, but if you fight the good fight of faith when times are difficult, you will come out on the other side more than a conqueror.
I’m sure you have heard of the military term AWOL – Away Without Official Leave. A good soldier holds onto faith, while an AWOL soldier lets go of faith. What’s the difference between an AWOL soldier and a good soldier? An AWOL soldier, after becoming engaged in the fight, changes his/her mind and decides to run away from their duties/ responsibilities without authorization thus leaving his post unmanned causing a breach in security. A good soldier accepts his responsibilities, follows the orders of the commander in charge without question, and will do whatever necessary to protect his fellow soldiers and their mission even if it costs him his life. God is our heavenly Father and His commands are all written down in His Book, the Word of God and a good soldier obeys his commander without question.
To fight the good fight of faith you must do the following:
- Put on your armor
- Be courageous
- Resist the devil
- Stick it out – do not go AWOL
God has given us armor and we must put it on every day. Our armor is described in Ephesians 4: 14-18.
- Belt of truth
- Breastplate of righteousness
- Gospel of peace for your shoes
- Shield of faith (to extinguish fiery darts of the enemy)
- Helmet of Salvation
- The sword of the spirit (the word of God)
- Prayer & supplication
Believing in God is a personal act. You must hold onto your faith – no one can do that for you. You must keep believing. You must guard your heart and always be aware of anything or anyone that will try to pull you away from the Lord and what He has called you to do. Get rid of all distractions. Stay focused on what you are trying to accomplish. Your faith should not depend on any person or any ministry or any church membership. You are not going to win in life’s fights just because you are a church member and you attend church. You will fight the ‘good fight of faith’ when you apply yourself to spiritual truths found in the Word of God.
Question: Are you a good soldier or have you gone AWOL?