Where are YOU in your walk with the Lord?
Earth is God’s training ground for our eternal existence. For that reason, we are in a constant battle between good and evil. Negative experiences are the tools God uses to build up our spiritual awareness. “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.” (James 3:16) Our assignment from God is to bring order and light to every negative situation we encounter. These moments in life can be difficult, painful, and hard to endure; nevertheless, when we face failure, betrayal, and temptation we are at the same time given the necessary wisdom to overcome these obstacles. And in the end, we will benefit greatly from fighting our way through the solution. “Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4) Nothing is more rewarding or important than working our way through one of God’s lessons of endurance. Indeed, James tells us that a victory over our various trials is God’s perfect result.
We can’t allow difficult encounters to push us off our path to achieving God’s ultimate plan for our lives. We can’t let the enemy distract our God-given design and manipulate us into a compromise that will block our further spiritual progress. In Romans 5:3 we are told, “We also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance.” We have to turn our back on the enemy and praise the Lord for his difficult lessons knowing that there is enormous value in every moment of tribulation. The enemy has no power over us unless we give in to his lies. We simply need to keep our eye on Jesus without looking to the right or the left, knowing absolutely that the victory has already been won.
We all have some measure of excess baggage that we are dragging around in our lives. For some of us, it is unresolved bitterness or anger and for others it is inappropriate behaviors that go against the clear teachings of Jesus. In Hebrews 12:1we find this admonition, “Let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us.” It’s important that we take control over this excess baggage so that it does not have an opportunity to hinder our spiritual progress.
Sadly, some of our excess baggage will be people who have not trusted the Lord and who find pleasure walking in the darkness of this world. Of course we have to do what we can to bring these people to the light, however, we can’t let them manipulate our decisions or disrupt our mission to serve God. We need to pray for these lost souls and give them the respect they deserve. “Pay to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; respect to whom respect; honor to whom honor. Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the Law.” (Romans 13:7-8) But in the end, those who are disruptive in our lives should be moved off to the side where they are no longer an obstacle in our path forward.
In short, we have to get rid of any extra weight we don’t need to carry. Our lives are short and we have to travel light if we are to achieve everything God has planned for us. Like an Olympic athlete, we have to condition ourselves to run this race with speed and endurance. Eliminating any excess baggage will give us the needed strength to achieve victory. “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” (1 Corinthians 9:24) We have to take complete control over our lives in order to be true servants of God.
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