Wednesday, December 11, 2013


You know the saying, 'three steps forward, two steps back.'  But it doesn't have to be that way, because I was not made to live in defeat.  No, victory is there for the taking, providing I'm willing to step into the battle.

This week I've been fighting fierce.



And with all this fighting I was given a clear picture of how life happens.  Once again, our beloved football team, the Broncos, provided the illustration.  In their most recent game against Tennessee, they drove down the field towards the goal line, even taking some risky moves, but were at last rewarded with the touchdown.  Hard work and a job well done.

However, when Tennessee received the ball back, they ran it all the way to the other end of the field for an immediate touchdown.  Oh, so sad.  Really?  What happened to our defense?  

Sometimes I treat life that way.  I work and work, beating my body and making it my slave, only to have it be for nothing.  In a moment of weakness, all that effort slips away.

I used to think that surrender to the Lord meant I sat passively by while He did the work through me.  Now I realize that though I am dependent on the Lord, I still have a part to play that is very aggressive.  This life I live is a war and I must fight both offensively and defensively.

But the amazing thing is, all God requires of me is faithful obedience.  Plain and simple.  Obedience breaks down the wall of unbelief and passivity.  It is the point at which I enter into God's rest.  My circumstances do not have to rule over me.

As I reported for jury duty, I was determined to bless.  I would not murmur and complain.  I would speak words of life.  I embraced the assignment and told God that this time He could trust me.  It seems backwards.  We are the ones who are supposed to trust God, right?  But when He turns up the dial on fiery trials, can He trust us to respond correctly?  These are tests. 

I had learned from my mistakes of the past where I sought to convince the court to cut me loose, excuses that might merit my absence.  I joined the other jury candidates in complaining.  But not this time.  I would pass this test. 

God commands me to give thanks in all circumstances. . . even jury duty at Christmas.  Would I believe it not an accident that I was summoned?  Would I trust that if called to stay God would give me wisdom to make the right decisions?  Thankfulness and trust were the obedience God required of me here. 

I realized that this was my fight.  I must battle for the grateful heart, the trusting heart.  It is all a surrender to God's way over my own desires.  And in that obedience I score the touchdown.   If I play the game right, the end zone brings a peace that passes all understanding. 

The trial was canceled and so I did not have to serve.  Once again I am overwhelmed with the mercy of God, using this experience to confirm that surrender to His way is what wins the fight.  I must be alert always, because I am not as strong as I think I am.  The moment I let down my guard, my own selfish tendencies take over.

Yet, in Christ, I can do all things, for it is He who gives me strength.  And with that, I do not have to just 'get through' this Christmas season.  I can embrace obedience to God and thrive in it . . . even worship. 

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