“…the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:2-11
Do you know what’s exciting?! When God comes in and wakes a soul out of darkness. Out of pitch black nothingness, we awake to hearing life, seeing things around us clearly and into an understanding of God’s timing with the purpose of our lives. He intends to completely break the stronghold. Any stronghold. Freedom is on cue and peace comes along with it. See, as soon as you decide your influence in this world doesn’t matter, the devil will be right there at that point to tear it all down. He’ll be more than happy to get rid of anything God has started to build in your life and in your home. But you’ve got to declare that you have weapons he’ll never have. You have the shield of faith to combat doubt, the shoes of peace to combat chaos, the belt of truth to combat lies, and prayer in the spirit to combat fleshly dominance. When I was young, I had one single mealtime prayer and one nighttime prayer. I can still remember them. “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord, my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” Keep, take..? It was all I had. Plus “and God bless Mom, Dad, Bradley, Todd, and me.” An automatic mumble as my head hit the pillow. When I finally had kids myself, I adopted a more positive one from a little prayer book: “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Your love be with me through the night and wake me up with the morning light.” Pretty good but still sort of mechanical if we aren’t thinking about what we’re reciting. Our mealtime saying “God is great, God is good. Let us thank Him for our food. By His hands we all are fed. Thank you God for daily bread” is cute. But shouldn’t it make us think of how big our God is if He is feeding all of us by His hands? Wow. Shouldn’t that make us stop and think and come up with some longer, heartfelt, passionate prayers when we’re alone? If He is so great, so good, and so powerful, why are we only talking to Him or about Him before we eat and sleep? My time with the Lord back then was short and sweet with nothing dynamic and nothing to remember except a yearning that the distant relationship with Him would change somehow. In my early teen years, I hardly knew any scripture and would sit, holding my hard to understand bible.
Years later, unseen pain hit my life. My world was heavy and I tossed and turned at night. For months I prayed for God to do something about it. One night while my whole family was sleeping, I rolled over and faced my pillow. Over the years, a new, dependable, un-fractured relationship had developed between myself and the Lord. The Holy Spirit was now part of the package. Struggles still made their way in but this time I heard something deep within. He said: “I’ve won over this…this battle, is over.” Confidently, authoritatively, He spoke a personal message to me and I whispered it back to Him. That special moment was not something I would describe as careless, unemotional, casual, lifeless, distant, or routine. But rather a manual work of compassion. He was close and I knew I could say anything but many shed tears said enough. I was swept off to one of the most effortless, worry-less nights I’d ever known.
That was a long time ago and there have been too many encounters to even count but I still tell Him from time to time that I remember when I was fighting a battle that I couldn’t win and “You won it for me. It almost took me down. It consumed me and made me feel crazy and lost. But You told me I was free. You took control of the control and made it flee when I kept calling You for help. Finally, when no one else could and when nothing else was working, when the issue had worsened and You saw it was breaking me, You stepped in. Thank you my God! I love You! I love that You relieved my mind and my path was set straight again before me. You still rescue. You still bring us hope.” These are the kind of moments that cause us to be vocal with someone else about Jesus. It will cause others to search for Him and find Him this way when the pain of life comes. And it could make all the difference for them and where they’re at right now. They’re not going to be impressed with your perfections, flawlessness, or faultlessness when pain is this real. (Unless they’re being governed and swayed by the flesh realm) But they will definitely admire the way you carry yourself despite inadequacies you have. Go for excellence instead of perfection. Get rid of the reach for perfection because it can destroy your life. We learn through Jesus that we don’t have to have as much in the flesh when we’re governed by the Spirit. It’s never-ending selfishness when governed by the flesh. The re-fills on what we think we’ve got to have, are constant. The kind of re-fills we get spiritually, empty out into other people and are never waisted. They bring hard to explain satisfactions! This kind of infilling only comes by His Word and His Spirit. The difference is life-altering. It’s worth sharing.