There isn’t one person I know, in either the natural or the spiritual realm, that from time to time cannot relate to these words of the psalmist, “…Oh that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest…(Psalms55: 6 NIV).”
There are times when it seems that there is no end in sight to the adversity that comes into the life of a true disciple. Most of the adversity is a result of the negative decisions we make and brings about the discipline of God. Other times, it is the result of negative decisions of others. Sometimes it is the result of the positions that we take as true disciples (2Tim.3: 12).
Regardless of the cause, it can be very painful and disillusioning to be brought to the end of one’s rope and drained of all our natural means and resources to resolve whatever it is that we are dealing with. Such times are the will of God so that we will learn to apply His means and methods to address the adversity that comes or is sent our way for that very purpose. It is in such times that have the opportunity to mature spiritually and bring maximum glory to God.
All of us enjoy those “mountaintop” experiences when we can be alone with God and free of all the distractions that everyday life bring to us. Time alone with the Lord is the most pleasurable hour of our day, but we were not created to spend our day up on the mountain, but down in the valleys of life. It is in the valleys of every day life that we are given the opportunity to spiritually mature and glorify God.
There is a difference between rest at the completion of labor and retreat. God did not need to rest on the seventh day, but He chose to do so.
For humans, rest is not an option. Without rest, our physical resources will be drained to the point of exhaustion. Sleep deprivation denies the body the chance to rejuvenate and negatively impacts our natural immune system. The psychological effects of becoming tired can bee seen in children and infants as well as adults. Although all spiritual production is by and through the power of God the Holy Spirit (John 15: 5), God chose for us to do so while living in physical bodies that do in fact have their limitations and the need to rejuvenate. One cannot perform to the best of his/her ability without sufficient rest and restoration.
Of all the armor (Eph. 6: 13-17) that God provides for the equipping of the Christian soldier, there is not a single peace providing for the protection of one’s back! In ancient times, turning one’s back on the enemy would mean certain defeat and even death. The option of retreating was never in the mind of the designer who created the various pieces of armor in either the natural or spiritual realm.
Frankly, the word retreat should not be found in a disciple’s vocabulary (Luke 14: 28, 29NIV), as it is a sign that he/she engaged in an area of spiritual combat without proper training, equipment, or God’s timing in mind. The time to learn one’s lack of training, equipment, and victorious strategy is before the onset of the adversity, not in the heat of battle requiring one to retreat in order to avoid immanent loss. Engaging the enemy contrary to timing of God is certain to lead to defeat.
Granted, God permits such “retreats” to take place in the midst of spiritual warfare (Eph.6: 12), but they are for the discipline and development of the disciple for future and more productive service.
As one spiritually matures, there will be less and less of the need to “retreat”. As we become veterans in the art of spiritual warfare, each battle will be the means to develop proficiency with the various pieces of spiritual armor. Equally important, we will learn the need of absolute dependency on the power, plan, purpose and timing of our commander in chief, the Lord Jesus Christ.
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (R) Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All Rights reserved.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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