Treasures In Jars Of Clay
The Bible says,
“Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV).
It also says,
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).
We are in a battle that has eternal significance. On the surface, it may seem like a personal struggle with some mental or physical area of weakness. That’s what Satan would love for you to think. This is your problem, your weakness, your failure. And it’s bigger than you are. How he loves to see us defeated in these areas of our lives.
For years, I tried to battle these areas of temptation in my life by drumming up willpower, gritting my teeth, and digging in my heels. Once in a while, I’d have a victory, but more often than not I’d end up on my face, riddled with guilt before the Lord. Have you ever seen a cat toy with a mouse before finishing it off? The cat will sometimes sit in condescending amusement watching its prey struggling to escape. That’s how I felt Satan toyed with me as I struggled to overcome. Then I’d fail and think to myself, “How can I be so weak? I know the Lord; I love the Lord; I know what is right, and I want to change. What’s wrong with me?”
If you are in such a struggle about anything, begin reading at verse 7 in chapter 7 of the book of Romans. As you read on into chapter 8 of Romans, you’ll come to an incredible solution:
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Sprit” (Romans 8:5).
How do we live in accordance with the Spirit?
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’” (Romans 8:15).
The word Abba actually translates to “Daddy.”
This, dear friends, is the key to overcoming. When you are in the throes of temptation, run to the Father! Get into His presence and tap into His power. The Bible tells us that in our weakness God is strong. His presence puts our problems in perspective and floods us with a sense of protection, peace, and power.
If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve been defeated and are filled with guilt, remember,
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
Don’t let the enemy rub your face in the dirt. God’s forgiveness is always extended to us. The Bible says that nothing can separate us from the love of God. When you are in trouble, run to the heart of the Father.
Abba, Father! Help me! The storm is threatening to overwhelm me, and I am weak. I confess my sins and I ask for Your forgiveness. Fill me with Your Spirit and teach me Your ways. Give me the mind of Christ and a vision for who I am in You. I stand on Your Word, which says that “We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us.” I rest in You, my Father.
Streams in the Desert – October 4
- 20224 Oct
So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning (Job 42:12).
Through his griefs Job came to his heritage. He was tried that his godliness might be confirmed. Are not my troubles intended to deepen my character and to robe me in graces I had little of before? I come to my glory through eclipses, tears, death. My ripest fruit grows against the roughest wall. Job’s afflictions left him with higher conceptions of God and lowlier thoughts of himself. “Now,” he cried, “mine eye seeth thee.
And if, through pain and loss, I feel God so near in His majesty that I bend low before Him and pray, “Thy will be done,” I gain very much. God gave Job glimpses of the future glory. In those wearisome days and nights, he penetrated within the veil, and could say, “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” Surely the latter end of Job was more blessed than the beginning.
–In the Hour of Silence
“Trouble never comes to a man unless she brings a nugget of gold in her hand.”
Apparent adversity will finally turn out to be the advantage of the right if we are only willing to keep on working and to wait patiently. How steadfastly the great victor souls have kept at their work, dauntless and unafraid! There are blessings which we cannot obtain if we cannot accept and endure suffering. There are joys that can come to us only through sorrow. There are revealings of Divine truth which we can get only when earth’s lights have gone out. There are harvests which can grow only after the plowshare has done its work.
Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seamed with scars; martyrs have put on their coronation robes glittering with fire, and through their tears have the sorrowful first seen the gates of Heaven.
Psalms 28:7-9 7The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. 8The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. 9Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.
Most of us would not consider shepherding a training ground for a national leader, but that was God’s choice to train David. When the bear and lion came to tear the flock, David knew his strength was not sufficient. He learned to rely on the strength of the Lord. When his heart trusted in the LORD, he found help and ended up writing a song of victory to the LORD.
He goes on to say the LORD is your strength, too. He knew it was true for everyone, for he was just a commoner when he began to find the strength that comes from God. His shepherd heart asked God to save the people and bless them. He knew he could do his best, but only God can save and bless. Then he asked for a very deeply symbolical request. “Be their shepherd and carry them forever.”
When a particular sheep would repeatedly wonder from the flock and get separated, it was in danger of being lost to predators. The shepherd had to exercise severe discipline to save the sheep’s life. He would break the leg of the sheep and then reset it and carry that sheep until the leg healed. That sheep would grow so attached to the shepherd that it would never again stray. Sometimes the only way to save us is to take us through a difficulty that drives us to the LORD. As we cling to Him and He to us, we learn that is a wonderful place to be. When the difficulty passes, we find ourselves remaining there. Look at your painful experiences in the light of this picture and you will have a different perspective on them. Remember, the shepherd took on a burden for a period of time because he cared for the sheep.
Remember the expression, “This is going to hurt me a lot more than it does you?” It did. It does. Let that touch your heart today.
By: Charles Spurgeon
“Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 41:14
Suggested Further Reading: Psalm 8
Behold the heavens, the work of God’s fingers; behold the sun guided in his daily march; go ye forth at midnight, and behold the heavens, consider the stars and the moon; look upon these works of God’s hands, and if ye be men of sense and your souls are attuned to the high music of the spheres, ye will say, “What is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou visitest him?” My God! When I survey the boundless fields of heaven, and see those ponderous orbs rolling therein—when I consider how vast are thy dominions—so wide that an angel’s wing might flap to all eternity and never reach a boundary—I marvel that thou shouldst look on insects so obscure as man. I have taken the microscope and seen the insect upon the leaf, and I have called him small. I will not call him so again; compared with me he is great, if I put myself into comparison with God. I am so little, that I shrink into nothingness when I behold the almightiness of Jehovah—so little, that the difference between the microscopic creature and man dwindles into nothing, when compared with the infinite chasm between God and man. Let the mind rove upon the great doctrines of the Godhead; consider the existence of God from before the foundations of the world; behold him who is, and was, and is to come, the Almighty; let the soul comprehend as much as it can of the Infinite, and grasp as much as possible of the Eternal, and I am sure if you have minds at all, they will shrink with awe. The tall archangel bows himself before his Master’s throne, and we shall cast ourselves into the lowest dust when we feel what base nothings, what insignificant specks we are, when compared with our all-adorable Creator.
For meditation: Nothing is too big for God (Proverbs 30:4); nothing is too small for God (Proverbs 30:24-28). What is man? Both weak and wicked (Proverbs 30:2,3,32). But God still cares (Proverbs 30:5).