BEYOND THE EIGHT COUNT
by paul hoffmaster
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All of us have faced a setback sometime in our life. It could have taken the form of a physical illness, a death, a mental breakdown, or emotional instability. It might have been a financial crisis, occupational hazard, or societal disruption. The question that must be presented is, “How did we respond to these negative experiences?” To some of us, the elevator to the basement of human reasoning plummets us to despair. If we are a Believer, the reality of the experience is even more pronounced. To help us to despair with the carnage, Satan introduces thoughts that tend to repudiate Scriptural truths. Questions of doubt are planted in our minds to harvest fear, doubt, and anxiety.
Believers must understand that Satan is not going to sit by and watch the Believer harvest the benefits of the Kingdom of God. He will continually challenge the Christian all the way to the finish line. No matter how much the Believer quotes the Word, he is not inoculated from this constant bombardment. Satan will continue to feed the negatives of life with thoughts that are contrary to God’s Word and, in so doing, causes one to respond carnally. As a result of these assaults, some Believers are forced to take a “standing eight count.” (A boxing term used to save fighter from a total knockout.) The more the Christian responds with feelings and human reasoning, the more the problem expands.
Elijah, the great prophet of God, had allowed fear to control his actions after the victory at Mt. Carmel. He allowed the mental challenges of human reasoning to motivate him into actions that were contrary to God’s plan for him. He even came to the point of wanting to die. From the heights of Carmel to crawling under the Juniper tree awaiting death, Elijah journeyed in self pity. When Elijah faced God at Mt. Horeb, he cried out his case of human reasoning. God simply said, “Why are you here, Elijah?” (See I Kings 19.) When the Believer stands before God with tears of defeat flowing down his cheeks, he will hear God say, “Why are you here?” The Follower of Jesus looks at situations in life and sees the potential for great growth; he sees the “fire” as a period of refining, not as an element of destruction. Christians are not destined to defeat, but to reign victorious. The next time a challenge comes your way, instead of saying, “Why me?” learn to say, “Why not me?” and enter the battle with the Potter ready to mold you and make you into a vessel of honor. (Jeremiah 18) Some time read II Corinthians in its entirety and you will see the arsenal of Satan released against Paul, and yet you will see Paul releasing the power of the risen Savior within him.
Paul wrote to the Philippians telling them that the negative things he experienced in life were assets to the “furtherance of the gospel.” (Philippians 1:12) When the next assault comes your way, meet it with the assurance “that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his promise.” (Romans 8:28) When the next problem comes your way, look for the potential it holds and see the victory rise out of the ashes.
My grandkids had a fog delay issued for their school last week. The buses were delayed because of limited visibility. It is just like our spiritual walk when we limit our vision to only the immediate situation; our progress is impeded. We must learn to see beyond the problem to the clear sighted realm of God’s will and pleasure. Even though you have taken an eight count, it is time to reenter the fight and score a knockout over the wiles of the Devil!
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