I Corinthians 15:57-58 (AMP)
But thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory [making us conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord [always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord], knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile [it is never wasted or to no purpose].
Crawling into the gym pressing my physical being with inner determination rather than natural strength, I was tired. Exhausted. Worn out. For more than two months, my spiritual, emotional and physical being has been pressing hard against the “mountain” before me. It has not moved a bit. As though standing at the base with my hands on my hips and surveying the height and sheer mass of such an obstacle – I am perplexed. Not to mention now I was “sick” and tired with a true ailment requiring medical intervention. As I climbed aboard the elliptical just hoping to make it to the end and shake the clouds from my head, my body screamed “why”! I had to stop and ask myself the same thing. Why didn’t I stay home and just rest? Which led me to wonder if stubbornness is my strength or downfall? I refuse to let go or give up. My competitive nature drives me. With each turn of the wheel as my feet began to “walk” the course of my workout I became lost in my thoughts as I do most nights. This time I was looking at the mountain of obstacles before me and wondering why I cannot seem to get over them. I began to remind myself of all the promises that the Lord has whispered to my heart daring me to put my faith and trust in Him as He is my only hope. So why the struggle Lord? How much more pain? Will I make it through the frustration to see your Glory on the earth? I thought we would be victorious but I feel the sting of rejection and see no way to win. Throughout the contradiction in my heart and mind, my eyes are fixed on the pedals beneath me mesmerized as my feet instinctually keep moving even when my human nature is to stop. The big wheel keeps turning and even though my body screams to stop – my feet just keep going. Lord, you promised us victory. You have called us more than conquerors. Why all this? If we overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and word of our testimony, why should be wining? What am I doing wrong?
Endurance is not about all the times you try and fail – it is the one time that you refuse to give up. It is not based on who comes in first but is reserved for the one who is determined to finish the race despite great adversity or overcoming all obstacles along the way. Sprinters don’t need endurance but those who run a marathon do. It is the longest mile that demands less of our flesh and all of the Spirit to get over. God has given us the victory. We are more than conquerors. But in order to claim our reward and experience all that God has prepared for us requires making it to the end with our faith intact. We must learn to be firm, steadfast, immovable always abounding in the Work of the Lord. We must be constantly aware that everything that we do with the Lord in the forefront of our mind will never be futile or considered a wasted moment. Such a revelation will always require being emptied of self to receive more of His Spirit.
Psalm 73:25-26 (AMP)
Whom have I in heaven but You? And I have no delight or desire on earth besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the Rock and firm Strength of my heart and my Portion forever.
My daughters and I live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Not exactly what I would consider, the sustenance of champions but it works for us. I have found that using squeeze bottles of jelly cuts down the time it takes to make all of our lunches. However, to get the jelly that is on the bottom of the bottle to come to the top and squeeze out is a violent process. I must shake it hard upside down until it oozes down to the opening. Sometimes I must beat the bottle to loosen the contents so it will unceremoniously fall to the bottom and be released. Welcome to the world of conquerors and overcomers in Jesus Christ. You are going to be shaken, pressed, pushed, and almost crushed until you are empty. Who wants all that? Those who desire the Lord require such violence to remove all those things that have taken the place of the Lord within us. The point of such occasions is so that we delight and desire the Lord more than anything else. Our flesh must fail and heart give out in order to firmly grasp God and cling to Jesus Christ our Rock, Strength and Portion forever.
Colossians 2:6-7 (AMP)
As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him. Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving.
Deep roots require breaking through hard soil making it soften to receive the seeds that will grow into the massive potential of its Creator. Seeds do not look like much when they fall out of the packet. In fact, they must be buried in the soil to die to return to life. We are created the same way. Unless we allow our physical man to die to self which means traveling to the end of human strength to experience the supernatural power of a Living God, we will never experience the life of overcoming conquerors in Jesus Christ. We must be united with Christ which means conforming our ways to His Way. You will never have strong roots that hold you firmly in place during every storm with a superficial relationship with the Lord. The roots of our being must be firmly planted deep as we become fixed and founded by faith in Jesus Christ. This allows us to mature spiritually which is what prosperity really is. Prosperity means to come to maturity. The more our faith is confirmed and established by faith, God’s Goodness gives us more reasons to abound and overflow in thanksgiving and praise. Those who dig into the Presence of God by faith and refuse to move will be sorely tested. The enemy is seeking who he can steal from, kill and destroy. You are the prime target because of your close proximity to Jesus Christ. You have the power to overcome. You are made to be more than a conqueror. Do you have the strength of strong roots to stay strong, come to full maturity and bring forth fruit in season and out of season as you trust and rely fully on the Lord? “And he shall be like a tree firmly planted [and tended] by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he does shall prosper [and come to maturity]. (Psalm 1:3)
Ephesians 6:12-15 (AMP)
For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere. Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place]. Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God, and having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace.
Spiritual warfare cannot be won without spiritual armor. I battle my body in the gym to prove to it who is in charge. Maybe you are thinking – that’s ridiculous and shallow. When was the last time you battled your flesh to do the right thing rather than what you really wanted to do? This is no joke. That’s why people have trouble with prayer and fasting. They do not want to commit the time to prayer or resist the flesh to fast. It makes me laugh when during a fast someone will say that the Lord called me to fast everything except coffee or caffeine. What I have found to be true is that the one thing you are most desperate to hold on is that which the Lord requires. We must pay close attention to our spirit man in every situation and be sure that we are constantly preparing for confrontation with the enemy. We are not wrestling true flesh and blood but our human nature to rebel against God’s Way. We are fighting the lie of the enemy which always requires the Truth of God’s Word. We must strive to remain righteous taking full advantage of God’s Protection and Strength. I must be confident in the Strong Power and Constant Presence of God in my life even in the midst of loneliness and isolation knowing that He will never fail or forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6) He has given me a firm foundation of faith in His Word. It is up to me to make it my testimony. (Psalm 118:88-90) It tells me of God’s Love that is faithful forever. It established the earth and is all part of His Plan. This allows to walk and not fall – run and not stumble because I can hold on His Instruction. (Proverbs 4:12-13) This is the premise of my life and reason for my existence to pursue the Lord, find Him and hold on to Him both now and forevermore. God’s Love is the inspiration for my life if I put my faith in it and believe that it is real. “Be alert and on your guard; stand firm in your faith (your conviction respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, keeping the trust and holy fervor born of faith and a part of it). Act like men and be courageous; grow in strength! Let everything you do be done in love (true love to God and man as inspired by God’s love for us).” (I Corinthians 16:13-14) When I learn to live wrapped up in God’s Love, I will not get caught up in this world.
Matthew 21:21-22 (AMP)
And Jesus answered them, Truly I say to you, if you have faith (a firm relying trust) and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, Be taken up and cast into the sea, it will be done. And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and [really] believing, you will receive.
The facts of life do not change the providence of God’s Purpose and Plan for my life because it is all inclusive. Not a detail was left out for my good, so no time is wasted when committed to the Lord even my past. When I give my past, present and future to God firmly relying and trusting Him without doubt, I will have the kind of faith that makes miracles a reality. Not because of anything I do, but because I have allowed Jesus Christ in me to take over. It is in such a surrender and commitment to the Lord that He trains me for battle and to win every war. (Psalm 18:32-36) The Lord gives me the strength to walk His Way which is so much higher than my own. He enables me to stand firmly and make progress at dangerous levels of faithful obedience in places I never thought I could go. He teaches me how to fight and win the good fight of faith. Salvation is my shield of protection also labeled by faith and belief that produces confident hope in a very present God! His Grace allows room for any missteps or mishaps along the way. I have nothing to fear anymore. (Psalm 112:7-8) My heart is firmly fixed. I am trusting and believing in the Lord with a steady and established heart that allows my mind to be at peace with my circumstances and situations knowing that NOTHING is impossible by faith. (Matthew 17:20) No longer do I fear sudden terror or panic labeled chaos. I do not fear the storm but embrace the change that is coming. The Lord is my confidence. He is firm and strong. He will keep my feet from getting caught in the enemy’s trap or fall to his lie. (Proverbs 3:25-26) I must only choose to pursue one thing – to remain in His Presence all the days of my life utilizing the Gift of Righteousness that is His Gift to me.
Proverbs 31:17-18 (AMP)
She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm. She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good; her lamp goes not out, but it burns on continually through the night [of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt, and distrust].
God created me with purpose. He has given me all the provision of His Kingdom to utilize on this earth. I step into His Presence through grace using the righteousness He has given me. I allow my heart to be broken so He can fill me up. I endure the pressure and stress of this life as He molds me and makes me into a useful vessel. I am not afraid because I trust the Lord. He has planted my faith and it is growing into confident hope. I choose to prosper and be brought to maturity in Christ by accepting the good times and the bad as all part of His Plan for my own good. He is my only hope. So in the meantime, I will gird myself with His Strength spiritually, mentally and yes, even physically. I will be strong and firm because He made me that way. I will taste and see that the Lord is good because I have chosen to walk in His Way and do His Will focusing all my effort in becoming a light to this world. Even in the darkest night, the Light of His Love will not go out but shine through the cracks of this broken vessel. I will not give up although every part of my mind, soul and body cries out for relief. Why? I am more than a conqueror so I will have the victory. (Romans 8:37-39) I accomplish this only one way! I must fully rely and depend on the Love of God to prosper my life in every situation. Jesus conquered the world for me so who better to trust? (John 16:33) Conquerors are subject to human weakness. We get tired. We are stressed. We get sick and tired sometimes. The only difference between overcomers is under achievers is that overcomers never give up. It is not in their nature because they are filled with Christ! “Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him] and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist], because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world. “(I John 4:4) With live in this world but since we are not of it, we have a definite advantage. We must not be afraid to use it.
I Peter 5:8-10 (AMP)
Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [[a]in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset—rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favor], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen, and settle you.
I have come to realize over the last few years that if I can overcome my flesh and allow Jesus Christ to reign in my life – all I do is win. When my strength is failing and heart on the verge of breaking, if I will just press on and make it through that moment – I win, I overcome and I am more than a conqueror. “Brethren, for this reason, in [spite of all] our stress and crushing difficulties we have been filled with comfort and cheer about you [because of] your faith (the leaning of your whole personality on God in complete trust and confidence). Because now we [really] live, if you stand [firm] in the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 3:7-8)
Hebrews 12:12-13 (AMP)
So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees, and cut through and make firm and plain and smooth, straight paths for your feet [yes, make them safe and upright and happy paths that go in the right direction], so that the lame and halting [limbs] may not be put out of joint, but rather may be cured.