Survival Secret #4: Keep Your Eyes on Jesus!
Part 4 of 6 Survival Secrets to Successfully Battling the Storm
By: Elizabeth L. Creecy
The world’s philosophy is, “What can’t be cured must be endured.” But Paul radiantly testifies, “What can’t be cured can be enjoyed. I enjoy weakness, sufferings, privations, and difficulties.” So wonderful did he prove God’s grace to be, that he even welcomed fresh occasions of drawing upon its fullness. “I gladly glory … I even enjoy—my thorn.”
– J. Oswald Sanders
Last week I wrote about how our Heavenly Father WANTS to rescue you! He wants to save you and bring you home to Him. As I said last week, when we find ourselves in a storm, it can be pretty easy and natural for us to focus on the storm’s lack, hopelessness, fear, unknown, and discomfort. (Note these are all our senses – our carnal mind, not the mind of Christ which we have).
Many times, that is what the devil tries to do. He sells you antichrist thoughts for you to believe against God’s Words, which makes it antichrist. These thoughts and sensations feel very real because that is how the devil tempts you – through your carnal mind and five senses. It is incredibly easy for one to be swayed by what he/she sees and feels when walking through a hard time.
Remember, the devil knows how to stir you up. He’s watched you and learned about you. But, our God is bigger than the devil! Our God reminds us His Armor is what protects us from the devil’s schemes.
Our Father knows the intense difficulty all believers will face on this earth. He knows that believers will face suffering and persecution because Jesus faced it too.
If you think you are better or more significant than Jesus, well, I’m here to tell you, you are not. Since the Father knew that we would live in and face an evil world dominated by evil spirits, He has provided us Jesus’ authority and many verses throughout the Bible that says He, our Heavenly Father, will NEVER leave you, abandon you, nor forsake you!
You must understand that in Christ, you have the greatest riches, gift, possession, and survival raft ever created. What is it, you ask? It is possessing Jesus who promises I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)! This verse indicates the impossibility of Christ deserting His own.
Part of what Hebrews 13:5 is telling us is that we must learn to be content with who we have, what we have, and where we are – even in the midst of the storm. Now, many of you will first think of your material possessions before you think of your relationship with Christ. As a believer in Jesus Christ who is not from this world, you must understand and have the revelation that God’s sufficiency for your needs is all you need. If you don’t have this revelation yet, that’s okay. Keep praying and asking the Holy Spirit to reveal this to you. It’s like what Jesus says in Matthews 7:7:
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you (NLT).
Sometimes we call God a liar – unintentionally, of course. How do we do this? Usually, it’s through our actions and how we are responding during a storm. It can be easy to agree with God when things are going well in your life, but it can be an entirely new story when things are unstable in your life. I can’t speak for you, but when the Holy Spirit convicts me for thinking, doing, or believing that God is a liar, it goes to my bones. I immediately repent and consciously pay better attention, so I don’t fall into such a trap again – at least in the same area where I was convicted.
For instance, some Christians who focus on accumulating money or who may struggle with Fear of Poverty may be saying through their actions that God cannot take care of them the way they want. Yet, the Word clearly says,
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus
(Philippians 4:19 NKJV).
Now yes, this promise is in congruence with the description of a believer’s faithful stewardship. In other words, if a believer has given their material resources to God, even to the point where the individual’s livelihood was endangered. God would supply their every need.
You see God’s asking every believer to walk in faith, not sight. The Father wants you to put your COMPLETE trust in Him. Now, He also understands it’s going to take time. That’s okay. If you are a babe, toddler, kid, teenager, young adult, or adult in Christ, you can always ask God to help grow you to fully and completely trust Him. But you have your part of doing as well. Faith without works is dead (James 2:26).
It’s incredibly easy to take Philippians 4:19 out of context and use it to soften the Christian walk. Especially for the Christians who are squandering their money on themselves with seldom thought for the work of God. Remember, God’s about servant leadership and sacrificial love. Yes, in a general sense, God will supply His people’s needs; however, Philippians 4:19 is a specific promise to those who are faithful and devoted in their giving to Christ, will never suffer lack. Another reason, for you to rely on God, not yourself or what the world says! Let me ask you, are you using your resources and materials to glorify the Father or yourself?
Yes, you have a part in all of this. God gave you free will, and He’s going to respect it. You have your work, where God has called you to be obedient, and God has His work; you can trust Him to do it because He cannot lie nor change (Hebrews 6:18).
Here’s the thing though, feeling rich, poor, anxious, insecure, hopeless, or fearful can cause you to fall for the lie to love money, which in turn can cause you to lack compassion for others and fall off God’s track for you. Trusting in God to meet ALL your needs will dissolve and wash away all contentment, and isn’t that the scariest part of all storms? You feel like something terrible is going to get in the way? Do you feel like God will not help you? Or maybe you worry God will not come in time!?
God’s ways are perfect (Ps. 18:30). You can trust Him to do what He promises! Below is a sampling of things God promises when you are in a storm:
- Do not fear for God will strengthen me and help me (Isaiah 41:10)
- The Lord is good, a STRONG refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in him, (Nahum 1:7)
- The Lord is my light, my salvation, and the strength of my life; who should I be afraid of? (Psalm 27:1) With such protection, I need not be afraid of anyone or anything!
- Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).
Psalm 22:55 tells us to Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. This verse tells us that in times of trouble, the best course is not to run away from the storm but to cast the burden of the storm(s) on the LORD. It’s like I said above; God wants to do more for you than you may realize. He really does want to do all the heavy lifting! All you have to do is trust Him, stay obedient, and do what He says! Psalm 22:55 is telling us that God is requesting us to now and forever permit Him to bear the burden of our cares! Let God have it! It doesn’t matter if you understand or can even see how God can fix the situation. It’s not about you; it’s about Him.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths!
Are you letting God direct your paths? Or are you fighting God for control because you are afraid and don’t believe He has you?
Sometimes it can be encouraging to remember that not even Apostle Paul’s prayers were answered the way he hoped! God said to Paul; I will not remove the thorn, but I will do something better!! I will give you the grace to bear it. Paul, I’m going to provide you with what you need most deeply. Paul wanted God’s power and strength to accompany him during his preaching, and God saw the best way to give that to Paul was to keep him in a place of weakness. As humans, we can easily buy the lie that our life on earth needs to be easy, comfortable, and effortless.
I know it might be difficult for our human brains to comprehend what God told Paul and tell us with this verse below, but it is better than you may think.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Cor. 12:9 NKJV).
You see, God is telling us the companionship of the Son of God inside us, and the assurance of Jesus’ strength and grace is better than the removal of trials and suffering! It really comes down to where you are going to put your attention and how you will choose to show up! Never is God upset that you may be afraid or have a concern. He gets upset when we allow that fear to control us and stop us.
We see this with Paul. Instead of Paul grumbling and complaining about the thorn, he would rather boast in his infirmities. He would get down on his knees and thank the Lord for them. Paul would gladly endure them only if the power of Christ may rest upon him, which Jesus did!
You have to remember, like Paul, to be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV).
Express thanks to God, by praising Him and trusting that He will meet all your needs when you are obedient and faithful to Him. If He doesn’t answer your prayer like Paul, then rejoice and allow God’s grace to be enough for you! The Father will meet you where you are! He wants to do more of the work for you anyways. He needs an open and soft heart.
As we close this survival tip, let me ask you:
What do you need to start or stop doing to believe that your God is with you wherever you go?
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4 NKJV).
Prayer: Father God, thank You for always being with me. Thank You for never leaving me. Father, help me to keep my eyes on Your grace in the midst of a storm. Give me the strength to always glorify You. Help me to trust You and not to lean on my own understandings. Father, I acknowledge I may not always understand why I am walking through a storm, but I know I can always trust You. I ask you to help me understand Your plan for my life. I thank You for redirecting me and establishing my steps. Father, I give You all of me and my life. I ask that You do Your will in every aspect of my life, and I thank You for your love, gifts, and grace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.