Bible Ballistics: BBs #234 A New Year’s Challenge To Shine!
As we come to the close of the year 2015, I thought it would be a good thing to offer a challenge to each of us as we go into the new year of 2016! It’s a new year, with 366 new days—yes it’s a Leap Year— of new opportunities and new challenges. And may we remember that for each day, God’s grace is sufficient.
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:34
We are to focus on “TODAY” because it’s all we have. There is evil all around us and it flourishes all by itself, we don’t have to seek it or contribute to it, for it will be there in our face. But on the other hand we’re not to run from the conflict either, we are called to seek God’s face and His kingdom at every turn with each new day, not to be distracted by the pressures or temptations of the world:
“(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:32-33
God has promised in so many places to care for His own, and HE always keeps His promises, even though we often don’t. We serve the God who is working through our trials and circumstances to reveal and manifest Himself to us and to the world, which is watching us every day.
Paul, when faced with a difficult trial/infirmity that caused him great consternation, prayed and asked God specifically to remove the trial from him on three separate and specific occasions, and God’s answer gives us great insight into the motives and principles of God—God is more concerned about my holiness, and likeness to Jesus than my comfort and pleasure:
“For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:8-10
Because of Christ’s strength given to me through the Holy Spirit, I can also say with Paul, “I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”; because it’s Him at work in me, HIS power that sustains, NOT mine, so I also can “take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake….” Take pleasure? Really? You’re kidding? Not in the least, Paul is reminding us that we are living as pilgrims in this fallen world, and that what God is doing isn’t always easy, pleasant or even recognizable as “good” to the world, but we can know that while we march to a ‘different drummer’, we can march on knowing our God is always at work in us.
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27
Because God’s Spirit is within us, and working in us, making intercession for us in all things (good and bad, simple and difficult, now and later) we can rest assured of His ability to not only “KNOW” what’s going on, but to also “KNOW” what He is doing, when it needs to be done, and that He is allowing each and every particular thing in our lives for a reason! And that reason?
“28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:28-29
God is working “all things” for our good, for His glory, for the promulgation (Yes, go look it up) of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and conforming us to the likeness of Jesus. Our part is to “stand” strong in Him and “shine” for Jesus. I’d like to close with a familiar passage, but with a twist. In Ephesians 6 we are called to be “strong” and to “stand”, but I’d like to take the liberty of calling us to see the word “stand” as the word “shine”, and examine our own lives to see what we are “shining” forth to the world? Jesus or something else?
“Finally, my brethren, be strong (to shine) in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand (shine) against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand (shine on) in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (keep shining). 14 Stand (shine) therefore,
having your loins girt about with truth,
and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15 And your feet shod with the preparation
of the gospel of peace;
16 Above all, taking the shield of faith,
wherewith ye shall be able to quench
all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation,
and the sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God:
18 Praying always
with all prayer and supplication
in the Spirit,
and watching thereunto
with all perseverance
for all saints;” Ephesians 6:10-18
So, my challenge to each of us is that we will ‘stand’ and ‘shine’ for Jesus—the only way to God—with our armor on each and every day, so we can ‘stand’ and ‘shine’ with:
Truth—a life Transformed by The Truth on a Cross!
Righteousness—a life Reflecting Redemption!
Peace—a life Profuse with His very Presence!
Faith—a life Fastened to the Only sure Foundation!
Salvation—a life of Service to and for the Savior!
Word of God—a life of Worth reflecting His Word to a
lost and dying World!
As you reflect on the past year, fix your eyes on Jesus to prepare for tomorrow. May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with each of you in the coming year!