There is a chasm between the ways of the world and the ways in the Kingdom of God. The world works on the barter system; if you do this, you may obtain that; whereas the Kingdom of God is about what Jesus Christ has done and can only be received. The world's ways are often laborious and burdensome; a list of do’s and don’ts, rules, and laws, whereas the Kingdom of God is founded on His righteousness, which is received by grace through faith in Jesus.
Faith is how all God’s promises are realized, starting with the most crucial one ~ Salvation. Faith is the currency of heaven, but you don't have to take my word for it; I implore you to set aside time to comb through the Scriptures for yourself and allow the LORD to minister to you. If you want a concise breakdown of this principle, you can read Hebrews chapter 11. I encourage you to take time to read the stories connected to the individuals listed in the Hall of Faith because each one points to the faithfulness of Christ. You’ll notice as you dig into the word of God, each individual went through something (we all do), but they all realized the power of God’s presence.
Friends, we live in a broken world, and life sometimes can become complicated, filled with situations beyond our control. Let's face it, at times, life can be hard, but it doesn't have to remain that way. Some will say, how can you say that didn't Jesus say, you will have trouble? My answer is, yes, He did, but look at the verse in its entirety.
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 16v33.
Did you see Jesus prefaced His words first by extending His peace to us and note the end of the verse; "take heart; I have overcome the world." The passage is a beautiful sandwich that begins and ends with words of comfort and promise. I am guilty of extracting a portion of Scripture quickly, but I encourage us to take our time as we read God's word so that we allow it to work effectively in us. Natural eyes are often attracted to the worst, which is the residue of the flesh, but we are of the Spirit, and as we read the word, we do so with the wisdom that comes from God.
God in His awesomeness and providence never leaves us hanging. He gives us an answer for every situation we could possibly face in the Bible. It may not say anemia, cancer, depression, or hypothyroidism, but as we become acquainted with His word, we see that God left nothing to chance. We need to take time to know His word that we would be able to walk in them. He is certain, and His word is sound. He didn't forget to give us instructions, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, we receive revelation to understand things from His perspective rather than our own.
Some may say, "Andrea, you don't know my situation," and you are correct; I don't. But, I want to reassure you, although I may not know what you are going through, Jesus is intimately acquainted with the season you are in (Psalms 23v4). He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13v5). Beloved, His promises are sure, and I know this first hand because He continues to walk me through each season.
I have walked through a season where my husband suffered a devastating back injury, and we are in a season where he is currently disabled. He lost his job, we lost our home, I went through several years of severe depression, anxiety, and self-harm, but God never left me. He did not bring these things upon us, but He continues to produce fruit from them by teaching us to trust and rely on Him.
As we walk through the next verse, please don't feel I am making light of your situation or pain; instead, I am simply providing a biblical perspective that I pray will give you hope and strength.
“Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.”Proverbs 13v15.
The word, understanding, in Hebrew is ‘Sekel’ meaning prudence, wisdom, insight, good sense, discretion. The word favour in Hebrew is ‘Chen,’ meaning grace, charm, elegance. I love this verse because I always have said, “this is hard” or “that is hard,” but in reality, it doesn’t have to be. According to this verse, as we move using God’s wisdom, grace is amply supplied. Therefore, it would be wise not to stir in our strength or depend on our intellect as we face the day. It is wise to walk in humility with an awareness of His presence. In this way, we are positioned to receive everything we need for the situations we face. Does it mean things are perfect, always go the way we think they should, carefree of challenges, or just plain easy? No, but it means God is with us and will strengthen us as we walk moment by moment. We are given a practical way to appropriate our faith.
Now the second part of this verse, the word transgressors in Hebrew is ‘bagad,’ meaning to act treacherously, deceitfully, deal treacherously, faithlessly, offend. What stuck out to me was faithlessly or unfaithful. I look back and can see difficult seasons became exceedingly hard when I attempted to handle things myself. Life in many respects became unbearable because everything, from my perspective, was contingent on me. It's so clear, looking back on it. I can hear myself saying, “I have to get dinner ready; I have to pay the bills; I have to deal with this issue; I, I, I.” It’s sad, but when everything is focused on me, there is much toil and frustration. Have you found this to be true in your life?
It's no wonder the apostle Paul constantly reminds us; we are new creations. He drives home the point of renewing our mind to the truth, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2v20. This verse is my verse for the year, and I am convinced it can never be said enough, "It is no longer I who lives but Christ lives in me." We must come to terms with what has occurred, so we won't struggle to receive all that God has for us and desires to do through us. Jesus did so much for us on the cross. It is the Divine exchange. His life for ours. Did you get that? His life completely ~ for ours. This is why we are done with the ways of the flesh and all that is attached to it. Our new habitat is in the Spirit, for in the Spirit is who we truly are. As we walk in the Spirit, we can take part in His awesome invitation to process life differently. The Lord gives us spiritual wisdom and revelation to guide our steps so we won't be beset or ensnared. It doesn't mean we are void of trials, but it does change our perspective so that we are more than prepared when we walk through them.
Jesus said, “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”Matthew 11v30.
Jesus is the truth; His word is truth. His request for us to take His yoke is a beckoning to allow Him to work in and through our lives. He is asking us to lay down our need to be in control and trust His sovereignty. We are encouraged to bring Jesus into everything we encounter. The Bible says, “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2v13. As followers of Christ, we are not doing life solo. We have a Pilot who knows the destination and is capable of navigating the course. When I look back over my life, I have often made things more complicated than they needed to be, fighting battles that are already won. What makes life hard and painful is walking through seasons as though we are orphans and do not have a Heavenly Father who cares for us intimately.
As children of God, we have a Father who loves and provides for us. Therefore, we live with intention for Him, walking as wise that we would fulfill His purpose and plans. We no longer step to our own tune, which is by the way, so very contrary to the world. Instead of grinding to make things happen, we are often prompted to slow down and be still. Friends, the life we are called to in Christ is higher. We must orient ourselves to our identity in Him, for in there is a promise:
“Her ways are ways of pleasantness, And all her paths are peace.” Proverbs 3v17.
Consider the deep truths in the word of God. How will you move forward and apply🗡🛡 the truth in these verses today? I'm going to bring everything to God in prayer. It is a simple, practical step that demonstrates dependence on Him.
Until next time, may God's grace and peace be multiplied to you.