21st JANUARY 2020“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” – 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Today, we continue our discussion from yesterday’s devotional. One of the missing links in our Christian life is our unwillingness and inability to accept suffering as part of our journey to Christhood. To follow Jesus, we must be prepared to carry our cross and that entails a lot! To carry the cross is to live a life of sacrifice while we focus on the crown! But the crown does not have to be in the afterlife, for eternal life starts from NOW while you are still here on earth! Therefore, as you overcome each travail step by step, you are greatly rewarded with everlasting joy in the lessons that you have learned! Therefore, while we shall continually face tests and trials in the areas of our wrong moral judgement, or where we have failed in obedience to God’s word, we certainly will earn the joy that comes from loving Jesus as we follow His footsteps! Obedience to God’s word is the bedrock on which we are tried and tested! Paul was tested in the areas of his weaknesses throughout his missionary journey, and in the end, he declared with confidence in 2 Timothy 4:7, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith’. But the good fight we are called to fight as Christians, together with the race we are expected to run are not easy tasks I must tell you. BUT ‘the race’ and ‘the good fights’ becomes easy when we become ‘active doers of the word of God’ and we are able to listen to God talk to us! God does not want us to suffer or make any mistake. That is why He gave us His word and His Holy Spirit to be our teacher and Guide. But often times, we missed the guidance of the two, and allow lust and freewill to mislead our appetites into making wrong choices at very critical situations. If we are not humble in learning to follow the right paths, we definitely will be forced on the right track someday. Tests and trials are forceful ways we are made to learn the lessons of life contained in the word of God thereby forcing us to bow in obedience to His commands. Again, this is one reason Paul tells us, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (I Peter 4:12–13). Yes, we are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, BUT in the process, we are made strong by the power of His resurrection, His blood and our oneness with Christ. Therefore, we shall always overcome, PROVIDED we are ready to accept the destiny and the lessons that brings us closely aligned with Christ. The question then arises, ‘what does God wants from me at this point in my life’? A time of trial is a time for reflection. This is a time to evaluate what we are called to do as children of God so we can mature into Christhood!
When we aligned with Christ, His nature becomes our nature, and being illumined by His divine Spirit, we shed our old moral weaknesses, thereby revealing our inner and outer beauty, radiating the undying love of God to ALL! The beauty of the crown is not just a heavenly bound experience, but the joy and fulfilment that comes to us in life when we become less unperturbed by the allurement that leads us astray, and having completely mastered the tricks of the devil, your very presence makes the devil to become powerless!
Father in the name of Jesus Christ, I thank you for this infirmity and travails, I ask for thy grace to overcome the various vicissitudes confronting me at the moment. Father, I know that you have permitted this trial to occur. Therefore, I purge myself of all moral weaknesses and I declare that I am sanctified by the power of the Holy Spirit. I bear no grudge against anyone. I freely forgive all those who wronged me. Therefore, I am free from every bondage of ill-health, emotional trauma and psychological prison. From this moment onward, I overcome every inner and outer void standing between me and the fulfilment of your plan and purpose for me. I am victorious and I remain a conqueror. Thank you, father, for giving me a new life. AMEN.
FURTHER READING: Romans 5:3–5; Hebrews 5:8; Matthew 19:21