We are told in 1 Timothy 6:12 to “fight the good fight of faith.”
The Apostle Paul reminds us in Hebrews 12:4, that “you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”
What do the words “the shedding of blood” refer to?
It is understood that our battles must resemble those of our Master and King, our Beloved Jesus who we seek to be transformed into the likeness of, after we have fought to the best of our human capabilities in learning to do GOD’s will by surrendering up with great joy in the Spirit our self will (the flesh – the “old man,” Ephesians 4:22) and doing so until our last dying breathe or else until our last conscious moment of existence in the flesh.
Our consecration vow of following in Jesus’s footsteps isn’t just for a season but for however long our Creator wishes us to be trained in the School of Christ for and each day is another chance to improve, to develop our weaknesses so they become our strengths. Each day is a new opportunity to prepare ourselves like young Esther did, to be found worthy of becoming the Bride for Christ.
It means actually going through experiences of suffering for righteousness sake (Matthew 5:10-11, 1 Peter 3:14)… suffering in our battles to do good and do how our Heavenly Father would want us to, in order to please Him.
It is enduring with cheerfulness in the hope set before us, the war with the Spiritual Mind which results in more life to the New Mind in Christ and deadens that which is corruptible–all the things pertaining to the flesh (Colossians 1:11, 2 Peter 1:6).
By resisting unto death, it must cost us our lives to be faithful to the truth and righteousness, and our Heavenly Father seeks such as will be faithful until death. If it be the surrendering up of fleshly interests, or perhaps careers or prestige or positions of authority, or your good name being spoken of in a wrong or unkind way, then one will thank God for all the experiences endured patiently with great joy in the precious promises of the Bible, seeking more and more, day by day, to clean out in ourselves what needs to be cleaned, relying on the strength of the LORD as our physical bodies waste away (2 Corinthians 4:16) due to the severity of the trying experiences, and try even more to seek to AGAPE and pray for those dear ones who perhaps may not see the good in us, and thank GOD for their presence in our lives, for it is actually such who do help us develop the highest form of love, agape love. Such are used as instruments by our Heavenly Father to exercise in us greater humility and develop the glorious fruits of the spirit which the LORD wishes to see developed and be maintained such as long suffering, patience, cheerful endurance!
Consider the following analogy of kernels of corn in a pressure cooker sitting on boiling oil. If you feel like such a kernel of corn ready to pop under pressure of heat and the oil then REJOICE in the spirit. It means GOD is allowing His child to be TOTALLY TRANSFORMED into Christ-likeness as he relies on God’s guidance and assisting grace. It means GOD loves us and has His jealous eye on us in a most loving way wanting us to come to a fully knowledge and understanding of His principles. And, GOD is trying to test us under enough pressure of trials which GOD KNOWS we CAN bare and not just what WE THINK we can bare (Romans 8:28).
Let us SURRENDER to the experiences GOD may allow upon us as HIS PLANS ARE PERFECT (Psalm 18:30).
Consider opening up the Bible and just for this exercise focusing on all the promises you can see in one of the Books of the Bible.
How many on your list?
You will be transported into another world in your mind, if you focus on such joys and pleasures of what we can already cling onto NOW as one’s journey of maturing in the Faith into Christ continues. Let us focus moment by moment on overcoming the challenges that would help make GOD as well pleased as is possible with the time that remains in our lives. This is what our covenant of sacrifice is all about.
It is good to remember that DIVINE TIME is not HUMAN TIME. So let us PATIENTLY ENDURE ALL & ANY EXPERIENCES, striving to develop the kind of patience that GOD has toward us (2 Peter 3:9) and in our daily imperfections of the flesh. We could think of it like this… if one day for the LORD is 1000 years for humans (Psalm 90:4), then:
1 divine hour may be approx. 42 earth years;
5 divine minutes may be approx. 3.5 earth years;
1 divine second, may be approx. 2.5 earth days.
Our Christian warfare involves
wearing the FULL uniform of Christ-likeness ALL the time
not just when it’s most comfortable to do so.
It requires discipline, determination, zeal and a lot more which can be acquired through study and prayer… and theory must be put into practice or else it be a waste of time.
In 1 Corinthians 13:1-2 we read, “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”
Positivity is required by a soldier of the Cross to fuel their zeal in climbing and not resting then longer than they need on a plateau.
If you long to be in a place where we can one day be found by GOD’s grace, in the most responsible positions that our Heavenly Father would trust us to be in, then we must go through many trials and experiences now without wavering or complaining.
No cross, no crown.
The narrow way trodden by the footstep followers of Christ is not an easy way, yet it is THE MOST JOYOUS PATH OF LIFE that can only be felt by those who walk on it!
There is only enough room on it for ONE and JESUS at a time, hence it is called a NARROW way.
IT IS POSSIBLE to achieve the CROWN OF LIFE if one seeks it with their whole heart and continually asks GOD for help, for HIS MERCY… and asks GOD to allow the impossible TO BE POSSIBLE. Which teacher would not help their student who is asking for help?
“4 Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. 5 Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:4-5).
In Mark 10:25 we read, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
In this parable, Jesus told the young rich man that to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, he needed to disentangle himself from his wealth first like you would have to unload all that was on a camel’s back to get through the eye of the needle. Unfortunately, the young rich man in the parable was not willing to unload his back and he missed out on what his heart was looking for.
[Photo Credit: BiblePictureGallery.com]
The photo above of a similar gate in Nazareth illustrates the eye of the needle gate quite well. You can see that a camel could not pass through the gate unless it first had all its baggage removed and then stooped to get through the gate.
This discipline in faithful patient endurance to achieve victory in CHRIST and be one of the Bride will require the surrender of ALL ONE POSSESSES and it is worth every and any earthly pleasure/comfort gladly surrendered up now in order to belong to Christ and bring joy to our Heavenly Father by OVERCOMING the flesh, the world and the Adversary!
“Be watchful (alert), stand firm in the faith, act like men (courageous, be brave), be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).
Have you asked the Father for a greater measure of His holy Spirit:
– to increase one’s faith, trust in God’s power?
– to place full confidence and reliance on God’s strength working through the carnal flesh as the New Mind in Christ matures into Christ ?
– to not fear what the world fears?
– to discern God’s will?
God teaches us uniquely individual lessons hence it requires very careful listening to the voice of GOD which comes from walking closely with HIM and learning HIS principles and HIS ways.
“The one who says he resides in God ought himself to walk just as Jesus walked” (1 John 2:6).
Other Holy Scriptures about walking with God include: Micah 6:8, Deuteronomy 8:6, Romans 13:13, Ephesians 2:10, John 4:32-34, Hebrews 10:22, Luke 10:27, Romans 8:29, Philippians 1:6, 2 Corinthians 5:7, 1 John 1:6-7, Galatians 5:16, John 8:12.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ASK God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5).
In Hebrews chapter 12, Apostle Paul encourages us not to slack off from our privileged Profession as Soldiers of the Cross of Jesus. We are to be vigilant and continuously on guard protecting our New Creature Mind in Christ as if we were a Body Guard standing in front of Paul Gauguin’s 1892 oil painting titled “When Will You Marry?” which hangs at the state-financed Qatar Museums and was bought in 2015 for almost $300 million, smashing the record for the world’s most expensive single work of art…
“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.”
GOD’s Truth is THE MOST PRECIOUS thing we own now.
Let us GUARD IT and PROTECT the mind in Christ because the devil roars around like a lion wanting to deceive whomever he can.
“Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world” (1 Peter 5:7-9).
Dear friends, every spiritual help and assistance we receive are parts of the Father’s good providence for us whereby we shall be the stronger in the spirit, the more courageous, the better prepared for further trials, besetments, difficulties and conflicts with the world, the flesh and the Adversary.
But when we reach the glorious condition mentioned by the Apostle, all the trials and testings will be in the past.
Then finally for us there will be no more sighing, no more crying, no more dying, no more fightings, no more crosses, no more sufferings, but instead, life eternal, joy eternal, glory, honor and immortality at our dear Redeemer’s right hand of favor.
Let us console ourselves with the thought that WHATEVER IS GOD’s WILL concerning us must necessarily be for our HIGHEST welfare and BEST interests.
If, therefore, it is not yet time for us to pass beyond the veil, it is because our Heavenly Father and our Redeemer have A WORK for us to do in the present life–either a work of further polishing upon our OWN CHARACTERS or a work of HELPING the brethren, or both, for we remember the declaration that Christ’s Bride is to make herself ready for that event.
We are to build one another up in the most holy faith, encouraging, strengthening, sympathizing with and assisting one another in running the race for the great prize.
What gloriously wonderful precious promises we have in the Bible to rest our minds upon, in full reassurance of the hope we have in Christ:
“I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).
“My grace is sufficient for thee, for My strength is made perfect in thy weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
“If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (2 Timothy 2:12).
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17).
Dearly beloved Brethren in Christ,
May we not lose heart and flee from the battle, but rather, as a company of good soldiers who have been refreshed and encouraged and stimulated, we will return to our duties full of good courage, full of joyful anticipation of the coming Great Home-Gathering of the Church of the Firstborns; full of renewed determination that by the GRACE OF GOD, and with the assistance of our great Advocate, Jesus CHRIST, WE WILL make our calling and election sure by so running in His footsteps as TO RECEIVE the great Prize which Our Heavenly Father has offered to us.
“For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?”
1 Thessalonians 2:19