December 28, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1
What a tremendous challenge this verse is to every believer. There are many things in our lives that are not sin in themselves; however, when they dominate our lives they often become distractions and hinder our relationship with the Lord. Satan is very clever and infiltrates our mind and heart to make stumbling blocks of the very things that are good but supersede what should be of utmost importance.
One of the tools Satan uses that becomes a heavy weight to us is despondency...to be discouraged and depressed. Our hearts become heavy, our countenance becomes sad, and our attitude becomes defeated. This becomes a weight that easily besets us and drags us down. We become discontent, critical, and spiritually useless. Such an attitude opens the door, ever so slightly, to Satan's insidious ways to disrupt, discourage, and defeat us at every turn. Let us not give ourselves any occasion to yield to self-pity or question those encounters that will hinder God's work of grace in our lives. Throw off everything that hinders!
Another tool Satan uses is doubt. All of us face difficulties and trials that test our faith. God allows these occasions to stretch our faith and deepen our commitment as we dare to trust Him in them. However, if Satan can cast any measure of doubt in our minds, it will be a costly weight that will discourage and defeat us. When faced with some devastating encounter, Satan seeks to make us think, "Surely God cannot be in this. I feel so distraught and alone. Doesn't God care that I am consumed by this need? Oh God, where are you when I need you?"
I've been there, have you? What has happened to our faith, our joy, and our oneness with the Lord in those times? Satan has displaced them all with his insidious "seeds of doubt." We have opened our heart and mind to question God in this thing. Satan has jumped on the opportunity and magnified it and we have yielded to his infiltration. He has displaced our faith with doubt. Until we recognize the source of our dilemma, we will be the tool in his hand and be defeated.
What is the answer to this spiritual defeat? David said, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 34:7). In spite of whatever discouraging encounter we face, GOD IS GREATER and will enable us "in all these things [to be] more than conquerors through Him that loved us" (Romans 8:37). We can purpose in our hearts to persevere in faith, to conquer discouragement, despondency, fear, and doubt with the same commitment to be victorious over any other "sin that does so easily beset us." Our strength, our refuge, our victory is in Christ!
To "delight ourselves in the Lord" is to find our joy, our peace, our hope in the ONE who has promised to exceed our expectations. We must "fix" our heart and eyes upon the ONE who said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5).
Read what David said after God delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. "The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my Savior" (2 Samuel 22:2-3).
Do not be overcome...be an overcomer in the power of God!
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?date=2023-12-28
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