Saturday, February 2, 2013

Focused and Vigilant

Here we are, joyful, happy and excited.  We are outside of the tunnel.  Things are going great in our lives.  Our families are doing very well, are celebrating and are having fun.  We have reached the significant milestone that we have long envisioned, and we are living in the Glory of our God Jesus Christ.  Everything is in “perfect divine order”, and we could not ask God for any better.  Our days are filled with joy, with sigh of relief, with satisfaction, and with rejoicing.  We are singing and humming great songs all day long.  The air is filled with celebration.  We are happy.  We are “in heaven” on earth.
On a spiritual level, we are praying, we are fasting.  We are giving thanks to God, and we are asking God for directions, for deliverance, for more covering, for insights, and for many other things, including for healing for the sick, and for “our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11).  We are getting great dreams, great visions, great revelations, and great testimonies.  Life is great.  Life is beautiful.

Ding-Dong!  Ding-Dong!  Ding-Dong!  Ding!

This is the alerting Sound of Alarm.  Watch out and Be Careful!

This is exactly the time and the moment to be watchful, to be vigilant, to be on guard, to keep our (“spiritual”) guard up, and not to be naΓ―ve.  When it is the least expected, anything can happen as per the devil’s plan and timing.  Our laurels, our celebrations, our accomplishments, our rejoicing, our achievements, our good times should not sidetrack us, should not diminish our vigilance, and should not hinder our forward thinking.  This is a very realistic perspective based on the current and daily realities all around us.  That is why, on a very serious and proactive note, the sooner we accept Jesus Christ in our lives as our Lord and Savior, the sooner we get water baptized, and the sooner we secure our eternal place with Him in Heaven, the better it is for us.  There is no other “wise choice”, and there is no “better alternative” or “better guarantee”.

Job’s case in the Bible is a prime example to illustrate the previous statements.  The Bible describes Job as a blameless, upright, God-fearing, evil-shunning, and the greatest man among all the people of the East.  Based on the size of Job’s wealth and possessions, we may confidently say that he was also a very hard worker (Job 1:3).  Job found himself as Satan’s testing prey and destruction spree, and in one day, he lost all his possessions, including his children and his servants (Job 1 / Whole Chapter).  Later, Job was afflicted by some serious illness that has kept him in an extremely lamentable condition (Job 2 / Whole Chapter).  The Lord has, without any doubt, granted permission and the liberty to Satan to put Job to the test because the Lord was very sure and very confident about Job’s wholehearted position with respect to Him, and also about Job’s faithful heart condition and his loyal connection to His Divine Love.

Let us examine, for example, this hypothetic scenario.  Let us suppose that one of us, right after accepting the Lord as our Lord and Savior, right after being filled with the Holy Spirit, and right after being full of the overwhelming joy of the Lord in our lives, finds oneself innocently and randomly on the devil’s roaming path, persecution list, and testing spree for absolutely no reason at all (“like in Job’s case”).  What would our normal human reaction be?  What shape would our prompt frustration take?  What would our spontaneous and impulsive decision be?  Perhaps some of us would simply give up and flatly backslide at the “early stage” of their “initial walk” with the Lord.  Perhaps some would begin to resent and to doubt God out of their “tender faith.”  Perhaps some would even begin to question God’s promised protection and His anticipated willingness to shield us.  Our multiple, unthinkable and indescribable thoughts, reaction and decision throughout the whole ordeal go far beyond our human imagination.

The Bible, in 1 Peter 5:8, warns us to “Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  Based on that powerful reminder, and in the light of that insightful teaching, we have to be on guard against all the devil’s sneaky tricks, subtle baits, soothed tactics, smooth approach, scheming language, crafty advice, flattering strategies, enticing offers, illusory propositions, vain and void proposals.  All of these are to cause us to stagnate (or worse, to go backward), and to be fruitless, and to be without success, and to literally fail.  In John 10:10, Jesus said:  “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  In John 16:33, Jesus also said: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  Therefore, by deduction, we also shall overcome.  In James 4:7, it is written:  “Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

It is very important to note that this thing, that circumstance, that situation, that condition, that accident, that cancer, that tragedy, that disease, that specific person, that hospital case that would be the instrument, or the bad tormenting spirit, or the unwanted sickness, or the parasite/bullying/controlling spirit, or the disturbing element, that would come to mess us up, to destroy our peace, to steal our joy, to shake our confidence and our belief in the Lord, to be the tool used in our testing, and that are assigned and sent against our strong standing, against our strong establishment in the Lord, against our real advancement, and against our evident prosperity, could be in our immediate environment, in our own surrounding, in our own backyard, in our own families, in our own bodies, in our bloodline, or wherever we may happen to be, to dwell, to attend, or to shop.  That is why we shall be on guard, we shall always be protected by the Shield of Faith, we shall be armed with the Sword of the Spirit that is the Word of God, we shall be constantly and continually in Prayer, and we shall be ready to trigger our Potent, our Reacting, our Passionate and our Vehement Prayers in any split-second notice as per the Holy Spirit’s warning and alarm sounding.  Our key to Victory and our main course of action in our daily walk with the Lord are to be aware, to be impregnated with Faith, to be prepared to face, to cancel any burst or any attack, and to be Spiritual/Prayer Warriors ready to smash, to paralyze, to pulverize, to nullify by Faith and with our Prayers any (“malicious”) schemes, any (“sneaky”) intrusions and any (“sudden”) attacks of the devil in our lives.

Furthermore, the attempts of bullies and parasites to uproot, to derail, to sabotage, and to mess up our lives out of jealousy, and out of envy, shall have the totally-opposite effect, and shall produce the consolidating and the reverse positive result of strengthening us, of invigorating us, of empowering us to our divinely-predestined Position of Conquest and Victory, and to our divinely-bestowed Anointing of Power, of Authority, of Motivation, of Superiority (i.e., the Best, the Highest, the Top) (Deuteronomy 28:13), of Determination, of Elevation, of Inspiration, of Increased Productivity, of Enhanced Skills and Trades, of Higher Education, of Greater Performance, of Higher Abilities to create and to innovate, of Divine Blessings (Deuteronomy 28:1-14), and of Blessed Prosperity (Jeremiah 29:11).  Like in Job’s case, all this is possible and is consistent with our godly nature and with our divine capabilities to withstand, to endure, to persevere, to strive and to triumph in spite of extreme adversities and in the midst of extremely adverse conditions, situations and circumstances.

The Glory of the Lord that we are carrying makes us a prime attraction for the devil’s multiple forms of distraction due to his covetousness, due to his envy, and due to his laziness.  If we take the bait and fall into the devil’s net or trap, we are finished and done with.  However, and on a highly positive note, our ability to avoid the devil’s traps, to stand firm, to remain unshakable, and to rise up above the devil’s multiple forms of snares and pettiness, makes us invulnerable.  This is also where the battle for the Lord is gloriously won in full confidence, in absolute conviction, in our total surrendering to the Holy Spirit instructions and Leading, and in the steadfast assurance of our Complete Victory.  The Spirit of the Lord that we are carrying in us makes us invincible, and enables us to shame the devil and to nullify his wicked attempts to destabilize us from our strong standing in the Lord.

Job’s wife went on to the farthest extreme to suggest to him to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9).  Job’s friends have themselves widely speculated on the reasons and the causes of his afflictions.  Job himself had some (“respectful”) ideas and comments of his own regarding his turmoil.  Yet, above all, Job did not sin against God.  He kept his Upright Faith in God, he nurtured Great Hope, and he lived with the Firm Confidence of a Better Tomorrow while he maintained his Faithful and his Fearful Connection to God.  Surely, Job was not disappointed.  The Lord, obviously, was very angry with Job’s three friends (Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite). In the end, The Lord has doubled Job’s previous possessions, and has given him twice as much as he had before his ordeal.  God also increased Job's life with longevity, and blessed him with new and beautiful children (the “talk-of-the-town” type children) (Job 42 / Whole Chapter).

Like Job, we will be victorious at the end of any ordeal that we are facing, and at the end of any testing that we are undergoing.  We have to truly understand that our current testing is “just a drill”, “just a temporary phase”, and it is NOT a long term or permanent losing battle.  That is why we are fortunate to have the Bible, to be able to read the stories in the Bible, and to remind ourselves that our valiant, faithful, fearless and powerful Biblical Patriarchs and Ancestors have gone through the same testing long before us, and they have overcome, they have conquered and they have emerged victorious.  We also, with the Power of Jesus Christ in us, and with the Leading of the Holy Spirit, we can, we will and we shall overcome and conquer above all the devil’s battle against us to crush our spirit, to subdue us, to mess us up, and to gain control over us.  The devil is already defeated in our lives because, fortunately, we know better, and because Jesus Christ has made a public spectacle of him by conquering the grave, by His resurrection from the dead, and by proving and confirming that He (Jesus Christ) is higher than any opposition, stronger than any opponents, and more powerful than any opposing forces in our lives. 

Our tears, our sorrows, our sufferings, our miseries, our losses today, although very sad and very painful, will slowly and surely decrease, diminish, disappear, and will make way for brighter days and for greater moments of contentment and of rejoicing in the Lord.  Like in Job’s case, God will bless us manyfold: our losses will be compensated, our torment will cease, and our discomforting sickness will vanish by faith and will be replaced by our total healing.  They are the prelude to our greater happiness in the Lord, to our deeper rejoicing, and to nicer and greater things to come tomorrow.  God will give us solace, the encouragement and the comfort that are required for us to remain strong and to go forward in Complete Peace.  In Isaiah 9:6, Jesus Christ is also called the Prince of Peace.

We will learn and train ourselves to be focused and to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus Christ without wavering.  We will also practice to be on guard, to be vigilant against any attempts, and against any forms of distraction from the evil one.  In Jesus’ prayer legacy to His disciples (and also to us), it is written, “Deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13) because Jesus knew of the power of the devil to shipwreck us and to destroy us.  Fortunately, we have Jesus Christ to be with us, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us, to warn us, to lead us, to protect us, to prevent us from falling into the devil’s traps, to stop us from taking the devil’s bait, to avoid us from falling into the devil’s temptations, and to make us the Valiant Conquerors that we are in Jesus Christ.

It is reassuring to know the end long before the beginning.  It is also encouraging to foresee the victorious outcome while we are being tested, and while we are in the midst of it all.  The end is that the devil is defeated long before he even begins his battle against us.  The end also is that, as we remain focused on Jesus Christ, faithful to our calling, and steadfast to our mandate and to our duties, we have already won against all the unforeseen, derailing and upcoming attempts from the devil.  We Have Won, not by being naΓ―ve, but by being aware, prepared, and ready to put the devil endlessly to shame and under our feet where he belongs (Psalms 110:1). 

Let us enjoy our well-deserved Victory in the Lord.  Yet, we got to remember and to remind ourselves constantly and always to be Alert, to be Focused, to be Vigilant, to remain Steadfast, and to stand Firm in our Lord Jesus Christ.


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