Brave On


Posted on Friday, July 20, 2012 | By Kaye | In

Hello friend. I hope all is well with you, I really haven't blogged here for ages, just waiting on the Lord.   Tonight though there are just so many things simmering in my head that I feel I need to post here because I know a lot of you may have the same questions or going through the same thing. I just had an interesting and honest conversation with a dear friend of mine about the realities of the christian walk- the things that we rarely verbalize but think about you know? such as the difficult and sometimes heart wrenching trials that we go through, the pain of sacrifices, the dying to self, the isolation that we sometimes or for some often feel, the individuality and uniqueness of the journey that we take towards becoming Christ-like. Now, that chat made me think really well and it made me look back on my own experiences with the Lord...I feel led to write about this too because it is an eye opening realization, our walk with Christ.
Some are aware and some are taken by surprise, or taken aback when our prayers don't get answered straight away or the way we want to, or we experience sickness and diseases- for some even Cancer or accidents, when we go through different afflictions, persecutions which seem to go on and on...times when we become really discouraged especially when we make mistakes and we doubt God and we start to question and doubt ourselves and our walk with Him.
I decided to write about this to encourage all of us who wait on the Lord...because the truth is, we all go through this stage of questioning, not just once but many times- whether you are a baby christian or a mature one, there is no exception.

A lot of people may think, including myself that after we become baptized, or after we have decided to follow the Lord, that life would be easier, that everything would be smooth sailing- it is in a sense because now that we have Christ we can overcome everything and we truly do, lest I be misunderstood as contradictng myself, but what a lot of us did not expect was the fact that there are battles to actually fight, that there are rugged mountains to actually climb, that we have entered into His rest but also at the same time we have entered a battleground. The christian walk can be a paradoxical experience especially from a human perspective. To attempt to figure it all out, to try to make sense of it with the carnal mind is impossible, we need the mind of Christ to be able to comprehend God's ways, His plans and His economy but we also acknowledge the truth that this comprehension, this understanding and the realizations of the scripture in our life with Christ is also a revelation. They do not unfold all at once but I can probably say from my own experiences and the experiences of others, that the Lord reveals and unfolds these truths as we go. A lot of times, in retrospect after we have gone through the trials.
There is a very apt scripture for that from Heb.4:15-

"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."

Now, I know that discouragement, doubt and disillusion comes to us especially if we get confronted with a trial that is so big, so overwhelming and so painful we think we won't possibly come out of it alive or when we feel we got further away from Christ, or that He is silent, or even for no reason at all we start to question the Lord, we start to entertain doubt. Sometimes, when we feel that He is asking us to open our hands even more than usual- our initial reaction is to withdraw, because we know it will hurt. Surrendering everything hurts, that is the crux of the matter.
Surrender is equivalent to death, it is the act of giving up who you are and everything you hold dear and for a lot of us, that is a difficult thing to do. But the Lord is very much aware of the truth of surrendering because when He became flesh and walked on earth, His prayer at gethsemane and at the cross was reflective of that. He asked God to pass the cup if it were possible, He asked God why He forsook Him... but He knows the plan, He is the author of the plan and He was obedient to the end.
That is Christ being human and we do go through points in our lives where we do the same, where we go through a death to self. We ask Christ why is this happening to me? why me? do I really need to? but it will cost me...
I think once we reach this stage in our christian walk, when the Lord wants us to surrender not just bits and pieces but He is now asking for the greater portion- we tend to stall, we stop and think. And this I will tell you now, is a very delicate time, an opportune time for the enemy to flood us with doubt to try to convince us to just give it up altogether. To give up Jesus. He would say- this is getting too difficult now, too painful, too costly- it would cost you your friends, your career, your family and loved ones, your life- your WILL. 
That is what the Lord is after, see you are not the only one asking questions, He is too- Are you ready now for me? are you really serious when you say you love me? Are you really willing to live out my life the way I did? Are you willing to lay down your will, your all on my altar?
And when we reach that stage in our walk with Jesus Christ, we have to then make a decision. In analogy, it is pretty much like how a relationship is between a girl and a boy, there is the courtship stage where everything is new and exciting and fun, however, one cannot forever stay in that stage, if you do love each other and you are not just playing around but you truly are serious about this love- you will then decide if you want to get married, to spend the rest of your life with this person. The questions are- Can you really live your life without this person? is life worth living without them?
Decisions are made, see and you know what it will cost you. You are no longer your own person for you have become one with your husband or wife. It is a love relationship and it is the same with Jesus Christ.
Can you bear to live without Him? when He asks you to come up hither- up to a higher ground, a deeper and a serious walk with Him, will you answer the call? but you know it will cost you. is he worth it? then you have to make a decision too. Can you really live without Jesus by your side?
is the question. We know He cannot bear to live without us, despite the fact that He can choose not to even bother with man. But His sacrifice and His love towards us was great and beyond all human measure, He gave us His all. He poured all that is in Him for us. All that is required now from us who love the Lord, is to serve and love Him to the best that we can, to allow Him to reign in our hearts and minds, in our lives. And He provided a way for us to do so by giving us a part of Himself.

But do not think also that God expects perfection (in the context of us not making mistakes...), He knows we will fail every now and again, He knows we will stumble and fall and how many times in a day too. However, a lot of christians abuse God's grace. Things should be set in perspective. Bro. Branham set an analogy for this likening it to love and marriage- if a husband goes away from home for a time, he can be unfaithful to his wife if he wants to, he has the opportunity to fool around, but he won't, he cannot bring himself to do so- because he loves his wife so much even though he can he chooses not to. That is the balance of this love relationship. We make mistakes yet we cannot use the alibi of making mistakes to deliberately sin against God. A beautiful chapter which exemplifies God's knowing of us and our frailties is Psalms 103 have a read of that chapter. But for this discussion I want to quote Psalms 103:14-

"For He knoweth our frame, He remembereth that we are dust." 

See, the Lord knows and He of all people do not want our souls to suffer and perish and it is for that reason that the cleansing happens here on earth, while we live. It's just that right here, right now we have to fulfill our role, we need to go through a process so that His love would be made perfect in us. We need to go through fiery trials with sorrow and suffering holding our hand, not to make us suffer for suffering's sake or to make us suffer because Christ suffered for that sake alone- but there is a purpose for the thrashing of the wheat. There is a purpose for the gold that is tried through fire, for that diamond rock to show forth the brilliance of a true diamond. We need to learn from our mistakes,we need to learn how to let go of the world and trust only in Him. It is a process but we have to be willing clay for our Potter. This reminded me of C.S. Lewis's quote-

“Your real, new self (which is Christ's and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom, Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” 

Calvary, the death of Christ on the cross- God deemed necessary, He died to make way for the resurrection which is new life. Even nature displays that principle, death makes way for life.
And Christ's suffering and death brought forth the redemption of all humanity. Where would we be if He decided to take the easier and pain-free route? if He did not at all bore the weight of the cross? we would have to pay for every sin we have committed ourselves and a thousand lifetimes would not be enough for this.
Spiritual maturity and Godly character is the product of these difficulties. We learn to trust in Him completely, we learn to turn to Him in all things, the love that binds us to Him becomes unbreakable. We get to know Him more as a person and the Lord manifests Himself more to us- as Saviour, as a brother, as a friend, as our Bridegroom, our refuge, our wisdom, our strength...and a lot more. The lifeline we have with Jesus is secured for all eternity.
 And this realization should make us even more humble, make us realize that we are small, that none is 'more' righteous over another, that we cannot judge other people because we do not know what they are going through. And when we make mistakes, as we will- we realize that we need God even more, that without Him we will not survive. We won't and that is the truth.
God knows what we are going through, He does and I encourage you to not think that He wants us to perish or that He enjoys our suffering- He hurts as much as it hurts us because He is one with us and Hebrews 4:15 says that as well- 

"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin."

    So, fellow warrior of Christ, do not be discouraged. The God that we serve is greater than our fears and circumstances, He knows the beginning and the end and let us trust Him with our life, for we are His and He himself went through a surrendering, willingly in order to redeem us from the enemy. I know how hard and how overwhelming it can be at times, how discouraging things can turn out and how the journey can become gloomy and lonely. I know that it can be scary, that there are times when I also doubt and question, times when you stop and think if it is worth it...but each time my mind fails me, this heart just aches for Him. All it wants is Him. And I know it is the same with you.
     We go through a lot, some more than others and even though sometimes when we're in the brink of exhaustion the thought of just throwing in the towel seems a more tempting option- but this is the time to cling to Christ even more, it is in this stage of hopelessness that we need hope, it is in this stage of discouragement that we need courage, it is in this stage of sickness that we need the healer.
     My dear, dear friend- Know that Christ is not a distant God waiting at the end of the road in this spiritual journey, Know that He is ever present with you now. You may not feel Him holding your hand all the time because sometimes He needs to let go, but it does not mean He has left- He is just there beside you. It is not imaginary but it is true. You will reach eternity together.
    When we are low and discouraged, the whispers of the enemy can be magnified and echoed but shut those ears to no other voice than that still, small voice. That sweet and peaceful presence that is Jesus Christ.
     Brave on warrior of Christ, nothing can ever separate us from Him. I will leave you all with this verse and may it bring an assurance to you:
     "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee, yea I will help thee; yea I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." Isaiah 41:10
God bless you all and may He continue to preserve us til the end.

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