“You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, for he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)
When we find ourselves in dangerous territory, our natural inclination is to look out, watch out. But when that dangerous territory is in the spiritual realm, it is more important to look UP and acknowledge our total dependency upon God for our help. Look up and cry out. “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Imagine you’re a soldier (which you actually are if you belong to Christ Jesus) and you’re walking through a field. Now, you know perfectly well that this field very likely has mines in it, but do you know exactly where they are? No, you don’t. You’ve never been in this particular field before. But your Commander knows where they are. He knows where everything is. Your seven-star General (Revelation 2:1) is going before you and preparing the way for you. Don’t run on ahead of Him and try to make your way safely across that field! You’ve got your eye on some destination that looks mighty appealing to you, but along the way there are mines that you can’t see. Only God can see them. He knows what will happen to you if you step on one of them.
Now imagine you’re like Dorothy Gale in “The Wizard of Oz,” and you’re on your way to a place like the Emerald City. You can see it, you’re almost there, and you know this is where you’re going to find what you’ve been searching for. But along the way, you encounter the enemy. In Dorothy’s case, it was the wicked witch of the west; in your case, it’s Satan. He doesn’t want you to get the help you need, and he certainly doesn’t want you drawing nearer to God. He’s going to distract you with those beautiful poppies that contain opium. He’s going to send something into your world that will make you ever so drowsy so that you will no longer want to pursue the righteousness of God. You’ll want instead to settle into a life of ease and comfort. Suddenly that Emerald City doesn’t hold the same appeal. Now you just want to relax and have fun.
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, glad with exceeding joy.” (1 Peter 4:12)
When you find yourself in the thick of battle (spiritual warfare), don’t look out, look UP. Open your heart completely to the word of God and allow Him to instruct you as to what you should do next. When I was experiencing something painful and distressing, I said, “Father, what do You want me to do?” He said, “Draw near to Me, and I will draw near to you.” He had some teaching to give me, and I needed to be teachable if I wanted this experience to move me into even closer fellowship with Him. I thought I was already about as close to Him as I could get. I thought I was already a pretty mature believer. But He showed me that I still have a lot to learn. Fortunately for me, my seven-star General is very patient and compassionate. He not only instructs me but also supplies me with the help I need to learn the painful lessons He wants me to learn. And what I learn I am to pass along to others who also are struggling with such issues as pride, arrogance, self-centeredness, carnality, fear, and rejection. Our beloved Teacher/Counselor/Doctor/Attorney is constantly reviewing our case file and providing us with the support and guidance we need in order to develop into people God can use to expand His kingdom. We are not only His bondslaves but also His ambassadors.
If you find yourself on a road that’s treacherous, you might be tempted to back up and go another way. And that may be just what the Lord wants you to do. On the other hand, He may want you to remain on that road but change vehicles. Our minds are like vehicles, and if we are not properly equipped for rough terrain, we’re going to get stuck. Let’s make sure we’re in vehicles that are specially equipped for the challenges we’re going to encounter on this journey of ours. That cute little sports car looks impressive, but will it get you over those big humps or through those deep caverns wrought with weeds and bramble? Maybe the Hummer isn’t as good looking, but it is tough and sturdy for those treacherous roads that lie up ahead. It’s not about looking good, it’s about finishing well.
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)