Friday, June 20, 2008

don't go back

I find during those inevitable low points that come, that I'm tempted to give up "good" ground gained when all seemed well in the sense of following on with the Lord. For me the key is whether or not I'm going on with the Lord. The arrows sent my way by the evil one, often challenge the good I see in my following of Jesus, even while at the same time knowing I've not (and never will in this life) arrive.

The point in this post: Don't go back. As Ben Witherington points out in the commentary I'm reading, the posture of the Christian in the spiritual warfare passage of Ephesians 6 is one of resistance and of standing in defending one's ground. This will involve struggle as the passage plainly says, and it certainly is not a kind of push button strategy to take care of the problem. We must be engaged- in the strength and armor of the Lord, with prayers.

So, don't go back. When you are in the darkness, don't abandon what God has revealed to you in the light. Or abandon the freedom God has given you in the light (I heard this said in the past, by Chuck Swindoll). And hang in there in the dark valleys. Hopefully I can learn to negotiate such valleys better, though I think I've come a long way in doing so over the years.

What would you like to share on this that can help us, or any thoughts about this?


Anonymous said...

thank you for your faithful uplifting posts that remind me to think of such things which are important to my faith. your gift of encouragement mixed with your unending commitment to give that gift is a blessing to everyone that you communicate with in this way.

may God bless you and keep you

Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

I certainly understand what you're saying - but it doesn't seem like a valley to me but a mountain with uncertain footing and several diverging paths. I think the trick for me to remember is that I cannot stop because when we cease making progress, no matter how slow, we begin to regress - and the danger in that is even more prevalent.

Anonymous said...

by the way...i have shared a new song on my blog today, though i do not know how to share the tune, the lyrics are there, and you can use your own tune.

yipeng said...

Consider it pure JOY, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because the TESTING of your FAITH develops PESERVERANCE. Peserverance must finish its work so that you may be MATURE and COMPLETE, not lacking anything.

Rachel Mc said...

Ted, very good post and encouraging words...that bring up a question. While I certainly believe in the fall and evil and satan and such, I wonder when people attribute incidences in their life to satan. "The arrows sent my way by the evil one" exactly what does that mean? You don't attribute all the bad/evil in your life and in the world to satan, do you? I don't think that makes sense. Don't just some things happen because they happen? (I don't believe everything is pre-destined because that would take away free will) I was at a womens' retreat last year and as we were all leaving someone locked her keys in the trunk of her car, as she was loading her luggage. Immediately some women said "satan is trying to ruin her weekend with the Lord" and I thought, "How crazy - she just locked her keys in her trunk"
Just a thought your post brought out.....

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks for your most kind words, and for your benediction. I need every word of it, myself, of course- and more! That's why I appreciate all that is shared by others here and on their blogs, which can help us in this journey in Jesus.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Well put. Yes, on the heights it's dangerous as well, or just the trial mentioned here is quite precarious.

I was thinking in terms of the TNIV rendering of Psalm 23:
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

Sometimes the light just doesn't seem present and in that dark I have to trust in the Lord as my shepherd, in a fresh way, so as not to fear, but rather receive his comfort.

But wise words indeed from you: about not stopping, or ceasing to make progress- even slow progress, or else we regress with some possible dire consequences. How true.

That must be our heart's desire and goal and prayer to God, and endeavor no matter what. And by the grace found in Jesus, it's there for us. We just need to keep on that path by faith. It just doesn't get easy for us here, it seems. (and if easy, then I'm probably on my way off the path!)

Ted M. Gossard said...

Amen, Yipeng. Good passage. We're being changed for the better as we don't go back.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks. And no I certainly don't attribute all evil to satan. God's word makes it clear in James 1:13-15 that we are our own worst enemies. The only thing satan does is tempt us to do evil, but it is we who must give in. And being sinners, we don't even need the devil in that way, because we do quite well in giving in to sin, ourselves.

I like the way C.S. Lewis describes it, in the introduction, I believe, to his classic, "The Screwtape Letters". Some Christians see the devil everywhere and in everything, and other Christians see the devil no where at all. There has to be a medium in that, in balance with Scripture, which refuses to put the devil on a par anywhere with God, yet is aware of the devil's/ememy's schemes and has discernment to recognize and resist the devil (sometimes a good way is to simply ignore them), with the promise that he will then flee (James 4).

We are sinners, and the world is under God's curse, and that alone causes enough problems. The devil is present to try to thwart God's good work in Jesus through us, and oppose all the purposes and goodness of God. But the gospel in Jesus takes care of all that. We need to major on the gospel which is the power of salvation to all who believe, and the lordship of Jesus in this gospel by itself, takes care of the enemy, even though we have to be aware and strengthened in the Lord and fully armed with the armor and weapon of God (Ephesians 6).

I like to think in terms of just trying to keep the balance in this we find in Scripture. And there are books in which the devil is hardly mentioned at all, but where this entity is mentioned, we need to take note, and be aware of it, and know and apply the victory we have in Jesus over them.

Most of the time, though, I don't think of the devil- just short intervals probably daily. And we must not focus on the enemy. Our focus must be on Jesus, and in God's word.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy, The sharing of the song reminds me of Scripture telling us that God's people in Jesus share songs from the Spirit (Colossians and Ephesians, I think; TNIV). We need to do more of that, to share what God gives us. Important in the Body of believers in Christ.