Right or Left, where does the follower of Jesus stand?

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Earlier in the year, I wrote a post on the tension I was grappling with where politics is concerned. That was in the run up to the general elections in Kenya, but now the electioneering period is over with the climax being voting last week.

The post election atmosphere is far from what most of us hoped it would be; “let this hullabaloo end we go on with our normal lives”. There’s much uncertainty with the declared ‘winning side’ on one hand celebrating, and the ‘loosing side’ on the other hand refusing to concede.

It is not for me to say what side one should stand on, as I had a surprise thought last week while considering what Jesus’ position was on some of these disputes;

“13 And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.

14 And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?

15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12)(emphasis mine)

Often times I’ve wondered why Jesus would sound so unconcerned about such an ‘obvious’, or ‘outright ‘ case of unfairness. The details of that response may not be the subject of the current consideration, but rather where the believer stands and the effect on us when these scenarios are presented to us.

It is increasingly becoming obvious to me that the interest of God on earth is on a family, a body He can express His will on the earth in and through, the Church. His focus therefore becomes the transformation of those in the family to a place of standing for love towards all, and an invitation to those outside to join the family so that they can be part of this family that He by His love in and through them draws the world to Himself.

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom 12:2)

..By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”(John 13:35)

I sign off today with a excerpt from an article I read this morning which really expresses in simpler language what has been in my heart;

Genuine Christianity is neither left nor right. It is not a sub-culture but a counter culture….https://acalltotheremnant.com/2017/08/14/we-are-neither-left-nor-right/

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Christ, the basis of our unity.

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1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 2 It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; (Ps 133. KJV)

“Will He answer this my prayer?” asked Dr Rachel. “Yes, He always does.” I responded. This was part of a conversation my wife and I had sometime earlier in the year with a learned acquaintance.

The conversation led to talking about whether God answered every prayer of Jesus while on earth. According to Dr Rachel, God did answer all apart from two instances. “What! which ones?”, I was obviously very curious to know which these instances were where God the Father did not answer the prayers of His Son, of whom He said He was well pleased.

Dr Rachel proceeded to give the two instances;
1.”39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.(Matt 26)“, and
2.“that they may be one, just as We are one.”(John 7:22.)

The consideration for this post is more for the second prayer, and less for the first one. Perhaps in future God will give us an opportunity to examine the first one in another post. The question then becomes, “Did God answer Jesus’ prayer for unity of believers or not? ”

If one is to just look at what is evident externally in Christendom, there are as many believe systems among Christians as there are denominations if not more. In my own christian walk, I’ve been to at least 5 denominations and to some degree each has been different from the other. The answer may not always be evident to the natural eye, but I believe the Holy Spirit is working towards that end;

“13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph 4.KJV)

Oh, what a glorious end!…,but how shall this be?. I believe the Holy Spirit is at work in every child of God, conforming us to the image of God’s Son, leading each to submit to Christ as the head of the body, the church, the one new man.

So to my friend and many that may be wondering whether Jesus’ prayer for believers’ unity was answered or will ever be answered, I can answer that with confidence, a resounding yes! , and urge us all to let go all other ground (nationality, race, gender, creed, …) of unity, apart from Christ, for all other is sinking sand, the ground upon which if we build our lives upon will eventually crumble, but Christ the foundation which has been laid will stand for eternity…Christ our life, and only basis of true unity!

“I am your inheritance.”

16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.(Rom 8)

Mutuku stretched out his hands as he suddenly rose from his desk realizing he was almost alone in the office. They had had a long meeting where he had reported on the progress of the project he had been in charge of; which was largely going on as planned. The meeting had stretched beyond the envisioned two hours as different people sought to verify the statistics he was presenting, and that is how he ended up having a late lunch. When he had come back to the office, he succumbed to the demand of a full stomach and drifted into a light nap.

It was as in this half asleep state that he contrasted the events of the last one year with those of the rest of his life since he was a young child. Going back to his early years, he remembered how he had gone to Sunday school and been taught to be a good boy. At the age of fourteen, he responded to an invitation in a school evangelistic meeting and given his life to Jesus. After that he had committed his life to living the best of life he could.

He had played by the rules both at home and school, which had worked very well for him as he was a favorite of his teachers and an envy of his peers. From his performance in school and all the way through college, it was obvious he was going to make a good life for himself , and he truly did not disappoint when he got into the job market.

On the flip side however, Mutuku had some misgivings about his life that he had not shared with anyone. With all his successes in life, he did not feel like he was good enough, that he had accomplished as much as he’d have wanted, or that would please God. That feeling of inadequacy led him from church to church seeking the knowledge of God that would enable him to please Him enough.

In all the five church congregations he had been part of, he incidentally had found himself rising to the place of various responsibilities by virtue of his diligence. From the outside he seemed fine and doing well, but he was dying from the inside, because of the pressure to maintain the image of one who has every thing in the right order .His life had become like a clay pot that was suspended and he needed to support it, and he knew if he let go it would crash into many pieces that he could not reassemble back.

Ironically, the fact that he looked ‘with it’ on the outside mostly worked against him, as more people around him even had more expectation of him, in effect making the ‘pot’ even more heavier/laborious to hold in place. It had taken Mutuku’s wandering mind to realize that even though the laborious life had become the norm in his life, the last couple of months had been significantly different. He could not exactly put a finger on the exact time that the shift had occurred, but there was a definite change.

The Different Life:

In Mutuku’s reflections he observed the recent changes in his life evidenced by not only his experiences, but also the comments of some people around him. “Mutuku, do you know you have changed?”, one of his colleague had asked him after a potentially explosive conversation the previous week over work done poorly and delayed in delivery by one of the people he had been supervising in a project under him. Instead of his ‘no nonsense’ usual stern way of dealing with project team, he had sought to know why the usually efficient worker had done so dismally this time. It was upon asking that he’d learn later that she had had a sick child that week, the same week the husband had deserted her for another woman. Mutuku’s wife at home had also commented that he had become kinder to his children and no longer shouted at them.

In his personal life, he noted that he was no longer under pressure of circumstances. He was calm under pressure, and seemed no longer hurried in anything, and most importantly in his time of reading the scriptures and in prayer. While he had had a lifetime of daily devotion, it had become a religious activity to the extent that he would either feel guilty or hurry through whenever he missed a day. Now he was having a most relaxed time of meditation, reflection and communion with his Father.

What had happened to Mutuku?:

Dear reader, it is at this juncture I share the moral of Mukuku’s story. Many of us can identify with Mutuku’s life to some degree because we all start our life journey thinking that our works are the ones that count for acceptance and a life that is pleasing to God. While there is a lot that accrues to a life that is lived according to the rules, there is yet more when we count all that is gain apart from Christ as ‘dung’ compared to that which is promised in Christ.

“20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth.[j] What do I still lack? 21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”” (Matt 19)

The change in Mutuku’s case, had been different from what people around him had thought, which was the loss of his mother exactly an year before. Most people especially those in the office did not know that there was a crisis where the family estate was concerned, with every of his siblings wanting to have the best share of his parent’s property. It was as he was wondering what part of the property he’d claim, that he started hearing a statement;,

I am your inheritance.

At that time he did not even know that statement as part of scripture, but somehow he knew it was God speaking to him. He soon did the unthinkable and disinherited himself from his parent’s property to the surprise of all – including himself. Just to make sure that he was serious, and not just making an empty threat, his siblings asked him to sign on paper that he would not claim anything. He went ahead and put it in writing and signed it.

That day as he bent his head on that desk, he realized how in more than one way, the statement that had led to his decision one year before had taken real meaning with practical outworking of the same. He observed that he no longer held anything worldly too dearly to allow it to stress him up or burden his life. He held everything loosely, apart from that one treasure, the Lord his inheritance.

Like Mutuku, we can all get to that place where the Lord is our inheritance. The place where we cease from our labors and enter Christ finished work, the place of rest. That is the place of knowing no one or anything according to the flesh, for the flesh profits nothing while the spirit gives life. It is resurrection ground where all things have become new.

Beloved, there remains a place of rest, let us enter it.

The Present Lord.

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Photo by Victor Maina

“Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb 13:5)

“For He says: “In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2Cor 6:2)

Have you ever been under much pressure to make a decision on something where you are not sure and then felt relief when the urgency is removed, maybe a deadline has been shifted to a later date? Not that you have resolved the issue, but just the fact that you do not have to make a decision that moment makes for a feeling of relief? I have been, more than once and comforted myself that by the time the new date comes I will have made the decision, or gotten a solution.

I was in such a place three weeks ago, but it was unfortunate that the relief was not out of confidence that God is in charge, but rather that I had some time to get a solution. My wife had just gotten a baby which was a source of great joy to the Maina family and friends. There was on another hand a part of the story that was hidden to many and that was the hospital bill which was way beyond what we had capacity to settle. Initially, I got frantic thinking what I was to do, and I even made a call to one friend against my decision earlier to never tell any human being my needs unless led by God to do so.

True to the word, the person could not help me and that is when I realized I had not talked to God about it. The situation looked impossible, but then, “Is there anything impossible with God?” Somehow I started reminding myself that the Lord is aware of the situation and there is nothing too difficult for Him. I cannot dare take any credit for what happened later in the day as I believe God orchestrated it all, for all the while I was fretting, He knew my need and had a way to meet it using someone I could not have thought of even if I was to seek for a solution.

It happened in the evening as I bowed my knee crying out to God. As I started to pray, I was not sure how to pray and I made it as clear in my conversation with Father. Before going too far, I heard a text message on my phone, and there was the solution to my issue. I did not respond to the individual immediately as I was not certain there was no mistake, but true to the word, the issue was sorted that night through that text message.

Beloved, our God is faithful, and is dependable – He can be trusted with our lives, and no one that puts their trust in Him shall be ashamed. His seeming quietness in our time of great need is not an indicator of His absence, rather an opportunity for us to exercise ourselves in absolute trust in His manifold wisdom.

The question becomes, “will I bow to the demands of the systems of this world when under pressure, or will we draw from God’s abundant grace, and like the Hebrew boys say, ”

“O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”(Dan 3.)”

It is a we stand for the testimony of Jesus Christ that the He will be manifested to the world;

25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”[a]”

Dear friend, I hope you can in the midst of these words I share glimpse what I am trying to communicate, that God is not just in the past, or in the future, but also in the present. He has made Himself known to us as the present God, the great I AM.

Natural vs Spiritual, which serves the other?

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“11 (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), 12 it was said to her, “The older shall serve the younger.”” Rom 9.

When we are introduced into how this world works as little children, we grow up knowing that as the path to fulfillment; get good education, get a means of livelihood, start and raise a family, and then the cycle is repeated by the next generation.

Somewhere along the way, we encounter the Lord Jesus and a new worldview is introduced. “31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God[e] above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matt 6.)”.

There is a danger that lies in not apprehending the fullness of the implications of the new life, the new paradigm, and this is the danger; taking the new life as a support for the natural pursuits.  How is this expressed? In our prayers, we’ll be found asking the Lord to bless our pursuits as if that is the reason we believed in Him, to give us success in the world.

The new paradigm requires that the nourishment and growth of the new man of the spirit in Christ becomes the new pursuit while everything else serves that pursuit. For example in my current circumstance, I trusted God for a job and He gave me one, but I have found challenges during the time that have pushed me to almost quit. Lately however, I have thought that sometimes I get this thing the reverse way i.e. the pursuit of the Lord serving my natural circumstances, while it ought to be the other way round.

I believe the right way is God using my natural circumstances to serve His spiritual end which is conformity to the image of His Son. “28 And we know that God causes everything to work together[m] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.(Rom 8)

God’s end in His dealings with us is our conformity to the image of His Son. This process takes the form of our daily circumstances, be they good, not so good, or bad to our natural man and our response to the circumstances.

Are we going to respond carnally or is our response informed by the ever willing and present guide, the indwelling Holy Spirit? More than once He’s stopped me in the middle of  ‘standing for my rights’, or ‘giving a piece of my mind’ in an unfair situation. I believe part of the reason God allows us to go through sometimes very trying situations is to bring us to a place of total dependence on Him.

Blessings to all that wait on Him.

To vote or not to vote…whose side are you on?

ballotboxJoshua 5: 13 Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”

14 “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord[b] have for his servant?”

Sometime last month, a friend of mine sent me a message (I think it was a group message) declaring his intention to vie for a political post. This came at a time I’ve really been evaluating my position on politics and governance systems of this world in light of how diametrically opposed they are with governance of the kingdom of God , of which I am a citizen.

The need to take a position has been fed by three significant events; the US elections last year, a book I read recently, ‘Jesus Untangled‘, and the forthcoming elections in my resident country this year.

Like it is the case of previous election periods, most of us tend to withdraw from our normal unifying elements, to the enclaves that set us in the camps of “us” vs “them”. In kenya, this is normally across ethnic lines, and to a lesser degree party lines. If you think that the people of God are imune to this trend, you will only need to look at the news to change your mind.

One notices the increased attendance of politicians in churches and them kneeling for prayer so that they would succeed in elections, oh not to mention “prophetic words” of who God has appointed to win, don’t worry that the predictions do not have to be true. Normally these partcicipation in church activities will have significant relationship with who is the leader in those churches and what side of the divide they represent.

My thoughts have been revolving around what position a child of God ought to take in a contest like elections which are more often than not, very very divisive. Is it possible to take a preference for one camp against another, and still maintain a kingdom position of love for all?

I’d like to say it is possible, but I am increasingly being persuaded that it may not be. This has included a possibility of my not participating in the electral process as a personal choice, and leave my role to : “.. making supplications, prayers, intercesssion, and giving thanks…for kings , and all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty.“.

Before I am accused of being unpartriotic, I think it is good to consider that from the perspective of the kingdom of God, to whose King I pledge my allegiance, “I am in this world , but not of it“. That makes me, and every follower of Jesus a foreigner in any nation of this world, and as is normal practice, foreigners do not vote.

Having said that, I do not think voting is a sin, any less not voting counts for righteousness. As you may have already realised, I’m still working this in my mind and heart, and therefore would encourage you not to allow me to confuse you – just follow your heart. Whatever your decision, remember the admonition that,

“supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour”

..and to, as you listen to the Lord, Jesus,

“Do whatever He tells you.(John 2:5)”

Blessings to all that call upon His Name,

Love in Him,
Patrick

“Travel Light.”

Used with permission from theromansblog.wordpress.com

Used with permission from theromansblog.wordpress.com

This should probably have been posted earlier on, but again today could just be the right time.

A very happy new year to you dear reader!

Lazing in bed after a late night or should I say early morning getting to sleep, I am meditating and praying as some expression very clearly comes to mind, “travel light.”.

I am not very big on annual themes and new year resolutions, but if I was to give one to this year, that would be it.


“Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light..”
Says Jesus (Matt 11:28).

“….let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God….consider him who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself , so you will not grow weary and loose heart..” Says the writer of Hebrews (12:1-3)

Let us travel light going forward, His grace is sufficient for us.

Your fellow pilgrim,
Patrick

Christ, our Promised Land.

promised_land

“That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Heb 6:12)

Of all the types in the old testament, the one I have found most compelling is the story of Abraham and the promise of God to him, and how that plays out down the generations. I particularlly find the journey of Abraham’s descendants from Egypy to Canaan, the promised land quite intriguing.

The bible in a number of places describes the land of promise as one flowing with milk and honey, indicating a land of plenty and abundant supply.

“And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Exodus 3:17)

The promised land for the natural descendants of Abraham was a place locatable even today on the map of the earth, but what is the promised land for the spiritual children, heirs of the promise according to the new covenant?

This may be elementary stuff to some, but it has been a source of immense freedom, the understanding that the land of promise for the followers of Jesus is of a spiritual nature, not a flesh and blood or natural one.

For many years, I was taught , and believed that the land of promise is the place of life fulfillment in a natural sense, like the good life (power, wealth, and health…). That persuasion caused me to be on an unending quest for the ‘good ‘life, comforts of this life, until a different kind of land was shown to me;

“9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (Heb 11)

Abraham was already in the land promised by God, but he did not settle, because he knew that the promise pointed to something greater,

“40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” (Heb 11)

Words simply fail me to describe what I have lately have had my eyes opened to concerning what the promised land is. I am persuaded that the promised land for the saint is Christ, the reason why He’d say,

“4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (Jn 15).

Christ is our dwelling place, and outside of Him, we can do nothing.

My prayer for all saints is that our eyes be opened to our promised land, a land filled with milk and honey. May we ever find strength to keep moving forward, and like our father, Abraham not settle for the type, but keep our vision of the real deal ever alive. He who has called us is faithful, He will not only get us there, but also keep us.

Love in the promised land,
Patrick

Christ, our sufficiency.

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scavenging“Are not even servants in my father’s house eating to their fill, and here I am scavenging with pigs to feed myself? I will go back to my Father….” (Luke 15:17-18)

Three years ago, I left an employment of fifteen + years to be self employed. I figured that with the flexible nature of self employment, I’d have more time to do the things I really want to do, not just the ones I have to do.

Like most things in our lives, that phase did not go as planned/hoped and I found myself very hard pressed even sometimes incapable of putting food on the table for myself and my family. I wish that I can say like some Christian friends that they trusted God entirely and somehow God always provided – but I can’t. Sometimes I had to ask for help from friends. It was a tough two years until sometime earlier this year when I got an 8 – 5 job.

That period, though very trying , had lots of lessons I feel could not have been learnt any other way, but by experience. One of the lessons I learnt, and still learning is to look up to God for my needs, trusting Him to determine the means through which these needs would be met. The means ranged from unsolicited gifts from friends and family , short term work, and sometimes remembering sources long forgotten like some stocks.

By the time my current job came, it was a welcome relief from the anxiety of not knowing where the next meal will come from. A couple of months down the line, I am starting to be conscious of the risk of losing something very precious acquired during that phase of our lives, dependence on God.

…be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. (Deut 6:12)

Like any other place of work, my job has its own kind of challenges, but for us believers, we must be careful not to let our jobs become our source, such that our faith is no longer entirely on God, but shifts to the job.

The question then becomes, “how do I keep my trust in God for my upkeep/provision while I have a guaranteed income?” This is a question I am still grappling with, to which I think we can find some help from the scriptures.

“…., but seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you…(Matt 6:33)”

There is a time I thought that our relationship with God helps us succeed in life in a worldly sense, health, wealth, power, etc, but I have come to appreciate that well apprehended, a relationship with God detaches us from the things of this life, leaving it to Him to add them to us as He deems necessary; “He knows that we need them,

Beloved, let us keep our trust and hope entirely in the Lord, not in things, even the ones He has given us; for, in Christ, the Father has given us all we need for life and godliness.

“Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.”(Ps 146:5)

Love in Him,
Patrick

The Battle You and I have to win.

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“3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (2Cor 10)

You have had a busy day at work and now it’s time to go home. You board a bus and the FM radio on the bus has this talk show about the latest trending topic in town. You are not interested for all you are thinking is how you can have some quiet and just relax your system. You cannot seem to close your ears to the already too high volume of the bus stereo.

You consider another tactic and this time you reach for your phone and hope you can get some sobering inputs from your social circles. Fortunately the bus has some free Wi-Fi and therefore you do not have to spend your data bundles. The tactic seems to be working when you open the first social media site, until you realize that the last site you subscribed to, has about 10 affiliates that send daily updates to your email. This is depressing as you try to scheme through the now overflowing inbox which you cannot hope to ever read all emails. By the time you get to the house, all you want is a quiet time in your room. Luckily today, the rest of the family is away at the grandma’s place until tomorrow.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matt 11:28)

You put down everything and kneel down to pray. “Phew!”, you think to yourself, “at least I can now have some quiet”, but wait a minute, you might have celebrated too soon. As you try to give some focus to your prayer/meditation, another innocent sounding player in your mind starts speaking, “this would be a good time to fix the sink that has been leaking, or maybe watch that movie that you’ve been postponing to watch because you’ve not had time.”

The ‘innocent’ player moves from one proposition to another, and before you realize, it has been twenty minutes of battling with giving your complete focus to Jesus on the one hand and getting occupied with something ‘more useful’ on the other.

“..men ought always to pray, and not to faint;…..4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me… (Luke 18)

You do not give up because even with these many better sounding use of your time, deep down you know that there is no better place to be any time than the presence of Jesus. With persistence, the alternative thoughts seems to be giving in and you start thinking about the story of Mary and Martha and what Jesus said, “42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Luke 10.)”

Your previous thoughts about chores and activities you could otherwise be doing begin to be replaced by thoughts on scripture as you remember the story of the unjust judge and the persistent widow (Luke 18.)

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.(1Tim 6:12)

Beloved, what am I trying to communicate? It is my experience, and I believe that of every saint of a daily contention for ‘what is’ vs ‘what seems’. The enemy will use our thoughts, will, and emotions, mostly fed by happenings and circumstances around us to create a reality above what God has established eternally for His people by Christ Jesus.

Christ’s victory over the enemy of our souls is an indisputable, but we on the other hand have to apprehend it daily by faith. Why is this so difficult sometimes? It is because the enemy has some sort of partnership with our old nature (read un-renewed soul) to defeat our new nature (spirit). The battle/fight now becomes one of supremacy, as in who takes charge. Our spirit on the one hand is in tune with the Spirit of Christ and hence has capacity to bring the reality of peace and rest to us, while on the other hand, our soul is in contact with the natural world of troubles and anxiety. This battle we cannot win by our own selves, but thank God for Jesus, for the battle is not ours, it is the Lord’s.

Be encouraged brothers and sisters, for “…Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”(2Chr 20:15)

Love in Him,
Patrick