And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 ESV)
Writing this post today is a struggle, but oh so timely. It is a struggle because I am having my own personal battle to remember this and so many other truths from scripture. I am fighting to put what I have been learning from Elizabeth George’s book, Loving God with All Your Mind, ultimately from the Bible itself, into practice. These spiritual battles often hit us out of the blue and at times, even when we are consistent with spending time with the Lord each day, the battle is a fierce one.
I love those days when I don’t have to get “dressed.” Whether I stay in my pajamas or have a yoga pants day, it’s nice to be able to relax a bit because I don’t need to be anywhere. But PJs and yoga pants are not enough for a spiritual battle. The enemy perceives when I am not “dressed” spiritually and knows exactly where to direct his flaming darts.
I am promised in Ephesians 6:16 that the “shield of faith” will extinguish all the “firey darts” the enemy aims at me. ALL of them. But I have to use that sheild! I must consistently wear the armor of God to fight these battles well. How often I head into the day without crucial pieces of my armor. Many times I lay aside the “belt of truth.” Hasn’t that been the focus of this study all along? Focusing on what is true? How easily I forget that belt. How easily I forget to take up my shield. Then my enemy, the Father of Lies aims clearly at places that he knows will cause me to buckle.
Are You Feeling it?
Romans 8:28, quoted above reminds me that my loving Father works ALL things together for my good. How easily I forget that truth! In my own life my struggle is with FEELING it. It doesn’t say that I will always FEEL like He is working all things together for my good. It may not FEEL like He is working this in the lives of those I love either. I have to remember that He works this same truth in THEIR lives as well, if they love Him. I can’t wear the armor FOR them, but I often am weak in that I worry ABOUT them.
What DO I Know?
Too many to list, that is sure! But today’s post is focused on both chapters 17 and 18 of Loving God with All Your Mind, and they are founded on Romans 8:28 and this thought of what we KNOW. Not only WHAT we know, but WHO we know. Who do I know? My God, who is the same yesterday, today and forever! And for the purpose of today, since my current struggle lies in my concerns over those I love, I know that:
- He accomplishes His purposes for them. (Psalm 57:2, Psalm 138:8)
- He began a good work in them and will be faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6)
- God is the one that works in them, even to give them the desire to do what is pleasing to Him. (Philippians 2:13)
- and especially for me today, I know that this testing of my faith produces “steadfastness.” Other words for steadfastness are fidelity, constancy, adherence. And when I let this steadfastness have it’s full effect, I will be “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
Elizabeth mentions several things at the end of chapter 18 that we can avoid if we maintain our focus on the truth found in Romans 8:28. Doubt, bitterness, negative emotions like depression, despair, anger and frustration and the desire to manipulate the situation are some of those given. I won’t go into them as I am being very unsuccessful at the moment at not falling into that trap. The battle can be fierce! Sometimes it is moment to moment of just covering ourselves over and over again with what we know to be true. You see, our bodies are not often in tune with our minds, so we may need to replay them over and over again, until our heart (feelings/emotions) catch up to what we understand from God’s Word.
So if you have not already done so, get dressed! Pull out the belt of truth and put it around your waist. Cinch it oh so tightly! Don’t forget your shield of faith to ward off those flaming arrows that the enemy is hurling at you. If you can share your struggle with a close friend or family member, their prayers and encouragement can help you keep that shield up, when you grow weary and just want to stop trying. We will come through this, with a stronger faith than we had going in, and that steadfastness that James spoke of at the beginning of his letter to the believers in the early church.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4 ESV)