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(Part 3 of “If Only…”--Living in the past)
You have been wounded. You came close to death’s door, spiritually. You know that is not God’s will for your life so you push through the fears, obstacles and the devil’s lies to keep fighting. Nevertheless, you find yourself being inflicted with more wounds. You grow weary and you have no energy to keep going. You feel like giving up so you cry out, “Lord, give me strength!” He does. Soon you find yourself back where you started--you are heading out to the battlefield. Stop! You must first prepare for battle.
There are seven points within this article to help you, remember and act upon, as you prepare yourself for battle. You must take these pointers a step further by searching the Scriptures for their validity and applying them within their context. Never take someone’s word as Gospel. Read the Bible for yourself and ask God to open your understanding to His word (Psalm 119:27, 33-40). In preparing for battle you get to plan. Therefore, you go out with a strategy and by following God’s instructions the battle is already won. Joshua 1:7-9 says:
7) “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.
8) This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
9) Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (KJV).
We can only be successful in battle if we are obedient to God’s instructions. If however, we choose to be obedient to some of His instructions and ignore others, then, we will find ourselves going around in circles, operating on stale oil and continuously enduring battle-wounds. Therefore we should avoid making the same mistakes but choose to learn from past mistakes. When we ignore God’s instructions we do indeed pay the price. As fellow believers and human beings, we may understand why others chose a particular route and may even empathise with them as they do with us but it still represents disobedience when we choose half the truth. We are only deceiving ourselves and those we may be placed in leadership over. God prefers obedience than sacrifice. Sometimes we have to sacrifice to be obedient.
Based on Ephesians 6:10-18, Deacon Marvin Reid, from my previous fellowship encouraged us to Put on the whole armour of God. In his sermon, he highlighted the following points:
- “We cannot enter [into battle] without our uniform--dressed for the battle. If we go out to do the work of God we must look the part--full armour must be on. We have a cause to fight for but we cannot fight naked;
- We must go in the authority [given us by God];
- This armour is also an armour of suffering;
- Do not underestimate the power of Satan. Keep your armour shine--if your armour is shine, the brightness of it can blind the enemy coming;
- Armed means forward--get up, move forward and go on;
- The armour is the whole grace of God--not just the fruit of the Spirit--dress the inner man;
- We have to be fit for the battle.”
Each point from this list can be a sermon in its own right. If you have been given the gift of preaching and teaching then maybe your call today is to prepare a sermon from one or more of the points above. If each writer reading this article (including myself) take a point and use God’s Word to focus on that chosen point, we can make a difference in the life of others. To make a deposit into the life of a wounded soldier, at the least, will help towards healing. Allow God to use you to pour in the healing oil into the wounds of that soldier.
Many of us want world peace but how does peace come if the people do not get to know the Author of peace. We sing songs about saving lost souls but how do we save a lost soul if we don’t minister to the hurting among us? Salvation is free. Salvation is for all. If we allow the Holy Spirit to operate in and through us we can save the world, one soul at a time. There’s an article, a poem, a song, a sermon, a word of encouragement, a word of wisdom in us waiting to be deposited in the lives of others. I pray this will stir up the gift within you.
As you move forward I would like to remind you that soul wounds come from people’s choice of words and actions that are abusive in context. When you hurt, the natural human instinct is for you to retaliate and hurt those who hurt you. Resist the temptation! Do not Gossip about your brother or sister, resist the temptation to slander their name or character (see Proverbs 25:9-10 and 22-28; Proverbs 21:23; Proverbs 22:11 and James 3). Entertain a forgiving spirit (See Ephesians 4:32) and pray that they may recognise that their behaviour is un-Godly and causing damage to themselves and others. Go to such a one and debate thy cause, the Biblical way. Matthew 5:44-48 and Luke 6:26-36.
On my journey, I have learnt that people will always do something to hurt you but it is always your choice how you respond. Every moment of the day we are faced with choices. The choices we make today have consequences and we will face those consequences at some point on our journey. We cannot escape the consequence of our choices. For example: If you verbally abuse those you are trying to help, it will hurt and in the long term it will damage the relationship and it will be harder to regain trust--that’s a consequence of your action. You will then be faced with the choice of humbling yourself and saying sorry to such an individual or group of people, in order to stay in line with God’s will (see 1 Corinthians 11:23-30 and Matthew 5:23-24). I encourage you, therefore, to think carefully before you act or speak. When you write your next article or preach your next sermon use words that will edify the body of Christ. If you have to correct, do it in love. We are commanded to love one another and by this shall all men know that we are Christ’s disciples (St. John 13:35).
Do not let Satan rob you of your peace. God gave it to you as a gift (John 14:27) but it is your responsibility to maintain it. When others hurt you, if you lose your cool--act on your anger in a negative way, Satan crouches at your door. He then has the opportunity to rob you of your peace. Peace is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). It doesn’t operate on its own; it operates in harmony with joy, patience, self-control, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and that is love! So when you lose your cool with your fellow believer it means you are no longer operating in love. Think about it! Now put on the armour of God and fulfil the great commission according to Matthew 28:19-20. As we move forward we can join the apostle Paul in saying:
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
(Philippians 3:13-14, NLT)
See Part 1: IF Only--Living in the Past
See Part 2: Having the Mind-set of an Overcomer
See Part 3: A Message to the wounded Soldier
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