When we’re in the battle most of us will be happy just to survive. But God has so much more for us than survival. His plan is that we thrive.
In part 1 we identified 2 strategies of the enemy to create more battle in our lives: distraction and intimidation. When we know the tactics of the enemy, the things that are opposing us and keeping us from achieving our goals, we begin to get traction. We know the truth and the truth equips us for success.
Every successful battle plan should include staying having wise counsel (we called this a personal trainer) and should include good discipline (training). What does that look like in real life? How do we “stay close to Jesus? and how to we maintain good discipline so that we survive and thrive in the battle.
Before we unpack some application steps, let’s be clear on one important point. God’s ways of helping us survive and thrive will most likely have 2 main characteristics:
It will most likely look very different than the way our society does it.
It will most likely grow some godly goodness in our character.
So what does that tend to look like? First of all, spending time with Jesus is much more than reading a bible verse, praying a generic prayer, and getting on with our day. Spending time with Jesus is about being in a relationship. Both of us get to show up, communicate, and be heard. Spending time with Jesus took a big shift when this began to happen in my life.
Jesus wants to talk with you. Let’s remember that He is God, and He knows a whole lot more than we do. When we approach our time with Jesus ready to hear what He has to say instead of thinking that we need to convince Him to see things our way, we begin to move from surviving to thriving.
I like Hezekiah’s prayer as a reminder when I approach God in a time of battle. Hezekiah gets a nasty letter from the king of Assyria. He takes it to the Temple of the Lord and lays the letter out on the alter. Hezekiah’s prayer begins with bold statements about who God is, then he simply asks, “save us”. 2 Kings 19:14-19.
Try this in your next quiet time. List our some of God’s powerful characteristics, let Him know how you feel, and ask Him to come save you. King David did this all the time! Let’s not try to manipulate God into solving our battle our way. Let’s get real with Him and see how He want’s to proceed.
Listening to God. Yes, He wants to talk. Jesus said “My sheep know my voice.” John 10:27. We are designed to hear God’s voice so that we can follow Him. Personally, I believe He speaks in many ways, but the way I talk with Him most regularly is through journaling. (I like to keep it simple.) I ask God what He thinks and then I write what I believe I hear in my thoughts. It’s from a Mark Virkler book titled “How to Hear God’s Voice”.
The second part in surviving and thriving is to let Jesus work on the parts of our heart and the stinking thinking that He chooses to work on. Let’s trust Him to know what we need to focus on next. Jesus is always concerned with the condition of our hearts and will use battles to heal them. This is the discipline part. It comes with training package. A friend of my quoted this mantra in her book, “the more you sweat in training the less you’ll bleed in battle.” Those words changed my approach to battles. Maybe they will change yours too.
Jesus is the best person to help us through our battles and come out the other side better, stronger, wiser, with more joy and peace and abundance that ever before. Let’s not let distraction and intimidation take us down any longer. We’re smarter than that. We’re worth it.
In the battle with you.