Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
The Call To Overcome (Part 9)
Personal Battles: Suffering
A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, 'Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?' But he answered and said to him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.'
Luke 13:6-8 (NKJV)*
He who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.
John 12:35 (NKJV)
But now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.
Ephesians 5:8 (NKJV)
We all face personal battles: challenges and obstacles. Some we create for ourselves. Others are thrust upon us. Either way, we are called to overcome them. Because if we can't overcome our enemies from within, how can we overcome our enemy from without?
God loved no man more than David, but his problems led him to depression: 'My tears have been my food day and night... I will say to God my Rock, 'Why have You forgotten me?' ' (Psalm 42:3,9).
God tested no man more than Job, and his trials led him to despair: 'He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone; and He has uprooted my hope like a tree' (Job 19:10).
God chased no man more than Jonah, because his anger led him astray: 'O Lord, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life' (Jonah 4:3).
God buffeted no man more times than Paul, but instead of complaining, Paul bragged about it: 'I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me' (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Three of the four men might be considered to have caused some of their own suffering, but Job did not. Nevertheless, all four men had the same reaction to it: they exposed their pain. They brought it to light. They dug around it with thoughts and prayers. Sometimes they hit pay dirt: understanding. Other times they missed the mark. Even so, God rewarded the effort. All were relieved, restored and improved.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: disease grows in darkness. So does suffering. Treatment begins with discovery. So open up--first to God and then to those you most trust.** Against light, darkness has no chance. Therein, light is Step One in your personal battles to overcome.
To Be Continued...
* The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+13%3A6-9&version=NKJV
** 'I have come as a Light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness' (John 12:46).
** 'Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much' (James 5:16).
** 'If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness' (1 John 1:9).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Call To Overcome series.