Physical training (discipline) is hard, Especially when you can’t see the outcome right at the moment. I recently started a new job that requires physical strength. It was hard to breathe the thick smoky air as I climbed miles of stairs that seemed like it went on forever! My sweat burned my eyes as I prayed for God to light the path for me to know which path to take as I learn my way in a maze of stairs! Sometimes in physical training, You feel the burn and ache as you push yourself to keep going! You feel like you can’t go on anymore! But you push yourself more as you take each step forward, after some time, you find yourself not aching anymore. Spiritual strength is similarly! When struggles come and conflict arises, you might feel like throwing in the towel and walking away! You might feel like you can’t do this. However, God clearly says in Galatians 6:8-9 NIV, “Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” We have to keep going even when life is hard! The wilderness in our lives prepare us spiritually for what God has next. It’s important that you cling to every word of God by seeking him in every circumstance. You will reap a harvest if you don’t give up! Giving up is the easy way, however there is a consequence, if you sow in the flesh, you will reap a harvest of destruction. We need to sow to please the spirit and you will reap eternal life! God surrounds us with a cloud of witnesses! Hebrews 12:1-3 niv, Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
We are blessed to have scripture to read as we meditate on every word! We can see the living stories in the Bible come alive as we see people go through hard situations not knowing what would happen next. We can see what happens in scripture when they don’t trust God versus trusting God with All their heart. We can see in scripture how God works everything out for good for those who are called according to His purpose. However, we can’t see our future or how everything will work out! We can see how God works everything out perfectly as we read His living words. God will never leave you or forsake you! He has everything worked out ahead of time before you were born! In Daniel 1, we can read how Daniel trusted God completely when he was taken from his home! His whole life was built on a solid foundation of God and he followed God completely! He was in prison with his three friends and even under pressure, continued to seek first God and his righteousness by not eating the king’s food! Even when everyone around them ate the king’s food that was offered to idols, Daniel and his friends didn’t. With self discipline, they ate vegetables in front of everyone! This amazes me because He didn’t conform to the patterns of the world. Even when the king changed their names, to honor their gods. Daniel 1:6-7 NIV “Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.” Daniel and his friends honored and served only their God! Daniel and his friends would not defile themselves and were content with vegetables. Daniel 1:17-20 NIV “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. Not only was Daniel stronger and wiser but his three friends who made the same wise choice were too. Because they honored God in every part of their lives, God blesses them ten times more!
We are meant to be in relationship with each other and help point each other to God by spurring each other on. To help encouraging each other to keep persevering in hard times. To support each other when you are struggling and when influences of world get loud and try to take you off course, help each other to keep your fixing your eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of your faith. God blessed them for seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and everything was added onto all four of them! Even though they were prisoners who were taken from everyone they knew and loved and lived under authority of a king Nebuchadnezzar who didn’t serve God, they didn’t conform to the customs or world. The King knew that Daniel and his friends honored God. Their whole life was built on a solid foundation of truth and now they put into action everything believed! They were the light and the salt in a dark place. They set an example by living their lives for God in front of everyone. Imagine what all those people thought eating the king’s rich in meat and every delicious food you could think of thought about Daniel and his friend being 10 times stronger and wiser than any magician or enchanter. We can choose to encourage each other to live out what we believe and be the light and salt! We can trust in God’s perfect timing in our life, especially when He says “No” or “wait” as each step is revealed. Because like my dad always said, “if you force it, you will break it” I trust His ways over mine! We have a living Father who has only good for you and me all the days of our life! So I chose his goodness!