recognizing God in the battle

19 03 2008

// becoming… victorious \\

i want to share some thoughts and points from a message I heard about 2 years ago about “recognizing God in the battle”. it was relevant then… it is relevant now… and maybe this is not just for me…

it is important to realize the spiritual dynamic to “winning” and recognize and discern God in the middle of my situation. God does not always show up the same way or in the same form, so i can’t be so dedicated to a past experience that i miss
him altogether as i face new situations and seasons. we have to be careful that we don’t allow our past perspectives to shape our present situations.

in exodus 17:8-12, joshua was leading the battle against the amalekites in the valley, and while he was fighting, moses was on the mountain. as long as moses’ hands were raised, joshua would prevail, and when he dropped his hands, the enemy would prevail against joshua. today, we know this because we have the benefit of the perspective from the mountain. but joshua wasn’t on the mountain and didn’t know this. he was fighting in his strength and did not realize that that shift of the battle was because of moses on the mountain.

it is vital to realize that the things that we are up against are not about us. it’s not about me getting the victory. this is not me using God to get my victory, but rather it is God using me to get his victory. when we fully grasp this, we can operate from a position of strength and not one of strain. we spend so much time, energy and resources trying to do things in our own strength, trying to fight our battle. 2 chronicles 20:15 tells us that the battle is not ours, but it belongs to the Lord. so, why do we get so wrapped up in trying to fight our battle? the enemy is his. the battle is his. the victory is his. the enemies of God will attack us and try to cause us to believe that it is our fight, thus producing a self-reliant stance where we don’t turn to God and trust him to conquer the enemy.

when joshua encountered the Lord as he was preparing for his battle with Jericho (joshua 5:13-15), he didn’t know it was the Lord. when he realized it, he fell down and worshipped. what separates mediocrity from greatness is the ability to see holy ground on the battlefiled. can I actually start seeing the battle as an opportunity for a fresh encounter with God. can I see my situation as a sanctuary? can i drop to my knees and worship with the arrows flying just above my head? there’s a visual for you.

right when joshua recognized God in his battle situation, he turned it into a sanctuary by worshipping. once he did that, joshua 6 shows how God then gave him the strategy to overtake jericho. it’s very easy to see our situation as our battle, and develop our own strategy, things that we can do in our own strength and understanding. but seeing the battle as God’s frees me to receive his strategy for his victory.



HIS purpose in HIS strength

13 03 2008

// becoming… weaker = getting stronger \\

a good friend sent me this excerpt from the Jesus Calling devotional today, and it was right on time for me.

walk by faith, not by sight.
as you take steps of faith, depending on Me, i will show you how much i can do for you.
if you live your life too safely, you will never know the thrill of seeing Me work through you.
when i gave you my Spirit, i empowered you to live beyond your natural ability and strength.
that’s why it is so wrong to measure your energy level against the challenges ahead of you.
the issue is not your strength but Mine, which is limitless.
by walking close to Me, you can accomplish My purposes in My strength.

reading that really encouraged me, but also convicted me at the same time. how often do i find myself in situations where i have exhausted myself, expending all my mental and physical energy, only to finally ask for God’s guidance or wisdom? how often is the counsel of God my plan b? or c or d?

also, i am learning more and more how challenges teach us who we really are and show us what we have in us… the good and the not so good. there is nothing that is produced by your expereinces that wasn’t already in you. i was talking to someone about this tonight, saying how that the challenges and obstacles we face don’t put anything new in us… but rather they bring to the surface what was already there. hopefully what is brought to the surface is a good and Godly character trait. but sometimes it is not.

my strength has a limit. His does not.
my wisdom has a limit. His does not.

so why do i have to hit a wall while spinning the wheels of my own devices before i pull on the limitless and abounding strength of God? i’ve heard this saying before, something to the effect of “where i end, He begins,” or “his strength picks up where mine left off”. the church i grew up in sang this song “when you’ve tried everything, and everything has failed, try Jesus…” but why do we have to get to the end of our own rope before we grab on to His? why can’t we rest in the confidence of the absolute sovereignty of God from the beginning?

Father, please forgive me for foolishly allowing myself to believe that i was actually supposed to carry out Your infintie call with my finite abilities and resources. thank you for being faithful to remind me that while You did call me to accomplish Your purpose, You never asked me to do it in my own strength.

my grace is enough; it’s all you need.
my strength comes into its own in your weakness.
once i heard that, i was glad to let it happen. i quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. it was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. i just let Christ take over! and so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
– 2 corinthians 12:9-10 (the message)