Sometimes we forget about the heat of battle. We are tempted to think that everything should go smooth for a child of God.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." [Joshua 1:9, NKJV]
Why would God issue this command? If the Christian life is a bed of roses and Jesus instantly answers all our requests/prayers, why would we need to be strong, courageous, and not be afraid? Are we God's little darlings leading a sheltered life or are we front line soldiers under going the heat of battle for the cause of the Kingdom of God? [By the way, if you have never read "Hudson Taylor - God's Man In China" you should. Here is a man who through faith and prayer brought the gospel to China but not without cost. Hudson Taylor learned to rely on God alone.]
I realize that in all things there is a balance, but I want to briefly look at why, when we do everything right things still go wrong. We have to face the fact that if we are going to possess our land in God [personally, nationally, or world-wide] we are going to face opposition, suffering, and trouble. It is not a sign that we are doing something wrong or are out of the will of God. Jesus went to the cross in the will of God, Paul went to prison and other sufferings in the will of God, Job underwent tremendous trials as a faithful man. None of these suffered because God was displeased with them, in fact God was very pleased with them. He even "bragged" about Job to Satan! Read 2 Chr. 32:1. Because Hezekiah was faithful [one of the most Godly kings Judah ever had] God allowed the most cruel nation available [Assyria] to invade.
Why is this so? Why does the Kingdom of God advance with the blood and suffering of the saints. There may be many reasons, but I am going to focus only on one. Jesus defeated Satan at the cross. As the saints of God [and that is you if you are born again] stand faithful and thankful in the face of suffering Satan is humiliated in the presence of God and one more demon power falls. God has allowed us the privilege of sharing in the defeat of Satan and the Kingdom of darkness. The greater the trial the greater the confidence God has in us...and the greater the reward for us at the end. Job ended up with twice as much as he had at the beginning. When Hezekiah stood firm against the violent hordes of Assyria, God sent an angel [only one was needed] and wiped out the Assyrian army.
If we are going to experience the victory, we must go through the heat of battle. There is no other way. The hotter the battle, the greater God's trust in us, and the greater the victory. However, we must stand strong and courageous and remain faithful to God even when it appears we are being overwhelmed. If we lose heart, abandon God, whine and complain, we will lose the battle and the reward. [There are Christians in the world today giving up their lives for the sake of Kingdom of God. Christians are dying for their faith and 82% of North American Christians can't even "suffer" enough to pay their tithes.] That is not to say God abandons us. He was with the Israelites [although not impressed] all through their 40 years of wilderness whining. He continued to love and work with them. But it wasn't until they were ready to go into the heat of battle in Canaan against the most demonized armies in the world, that He really got excited.
The experience of faithful men and women in the heat of battle has been in the end a greater joy and relationship with Jesus [although sometimes in the midst of the heat of battle we feel abandoned by God]. The three Hebrew Children were thrown into the fire because they were faithful...and in the fire they walked with the Son of God. See Phil. 3:10.
There are two wrong responses to the above. One, we can become discouraged at the thought of battle [or in the heat of battle]. If you have been faithful and God is allowing you to go through a battle, He trusts you, He loves you, and He will see you safely to the other side. God will never allow anything to happen that you [through the power of the Holy Spirit] are not able to handle. Stick with God and you will possess your land. The second wrong response, is to have a martyr complex or go out looking for trouble. We don't go looking for or create our own troubles.
The right response is to simply faithfully follow God, obey His leading, and courageously face whatever battles He leads us into. We don't look for trouble, we don't fear it, but neither are we surprised when it comes. If we are to reach our destiny and possess our land we will face suffering but through it all [as we remain faithful] we will come through victoriously with a greater relationship with Jesus than we had known before.
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