I want to begin today by saying how much I appreciate you for being a faithful reader of this newspaper and this column. Newspapers are still considered valuable to the older generations as they remember their grandparents and parents who embraced the daily news as part of their regular routines. As technology is constantly advancing, we see younger readers choosing to receive their information through various forms of modern media rather than holding the printed page. I’m personally grateful for all the great publications that agree to carry columns like “Living On Purpose,” as they believe sharing positive and thought-provoking content is a blessing to their audience.
Since the beginning of the year, I admit the messages have been rather sobering. Focusing on self-examination and searching deep into our soul about what we believe is usually not a top priority. We talked about the carnal desires of our flesh, compromising, justifying our rebellion, and how we have the free will ability to ignore intentional sin without the concern to repent. By the way, repentance is more than saying we’re sorry. We used the example of Achan and asked if intentional sin is hindering the churches and the demonstration of God’s glory today. We agreed that sin offends His holiness and obstructs the advancement of His kingdom.
Is something making you sad or anxious today? Have you spent time with God about it? Facing hardships and trials is a part of life, but holding on to the one that does not falter and is never caught by surprise is our greatest hope for being content and enjoying the abundant life we will ever have. There is no such thing as God being confused and pacing the floor, unsure of what to do. The mountain plateaus feel good and we love these seasons of victory, but when we enter into a dark valley, though it’s not pleasant, it can give us peace and security to understand that Christ is always teaching and ready to carry us through suffering in His perfect time.
We decide which view of life we will embrace. If our mind is set on being negative, there is little anyone can say or do to cheer us up. However, for those who choose the higher road of embracing optimism, no dead-end or dire situation can prevent faith and hope from declaring that anything is impossible with God.
To think or say there is no answer to a certain circumstance is revealing to ourselves and the world we no longer believe that God is who He says He is. Ephesians 3:20 promises, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” If the devil or anything in this life is more powerful than God, then either He is not the Almighty or our view of Him is in error. Which do you believe? God’s word reassures us in Jeremiah 32:17, “O sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth with your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too difficult for you!”
We know the dark side is not trying to help us be a light for God or a spiritual overcomer, which should inspire our faith to become stronger in our quest to please Christ. We become good and faithful soldiers through extensive training and developing a passion to be a living sacrifice for His glory. We cannot succeed for the Lord if we are ready to give up every time we are challenged. Babe Ruth hit 714 home runs but also struck out 1,333 times. Cy Young is famous for winning 511 games, but did you know he lost 316 times? The point is that defeat does not mean failure and no one that is known for great accomplishments has ever avoided disappointments.
It’s easy to stay enthused when times are good, but our perseverance goes on trial when we face discouragement from difficulty. Our thoughts can come from God or the devil and both have a plan. If God is saying to stand and press through the pain, then He has a vision that will eventually bring victory and joy. However, if we choose to agree with the enemy, he will forever keep us offended and tangled up in a depressing victim mentality. God can help us succeed when we have an unrelenting determination to become like Him.
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