WHAT DO I DO WHEN I FEEL LIKE GIVING UP

Sidewalk Prophets, a Contemporary Christian Band, have a wonderful song entitled “The Words I Would Say” and the chorus saysBe strong in the Lord and never give up hope. You’re gonna do great things I already know. God’s got his hand on you so don’t live life in fear, forgive and forget but don’t forget why you’re here. Take your time and pray, these are the words I would say.”[1]

I am guilty of having times when I forget who I belong to and just how strong and powerful He is. God gives us permission to draw strength and power from Him so that we can accomplish the things He wants us to do. We are to be “empowered” by Him so that we can run the race set before us. As Followers of Jesus Christ we must remember that the closer we are to God the more Satan fears us. You see when we are diligent about studying God’s Word, pray continually, and fellowship with Brothers and Sisters in Christ we grow in our strength and power as it relates to resisting the devil’s snares and traps.  By no means can we do this on our own, but it is through the Heavenly Father we accomplish this. When we are “in Him” then we have all the tools necessary to train for the spiritual warfare we will face each and every day. Just as any athlete that desires to successfully compete in their chosen event, we must train to be successful for God in the event known as “life.” When we rely on our own strength and power to engage in spiritual warfare we fatigue and grow weary but God has endless strength and power and He willingly provides it to us upon request. So remember to “Be strong in the Lord and never give up hope.”

Paul tells us “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.”[2]  Spiritual strength and courage are not an option but a requirement to deal with the spiritual warfare that will come our way.  We cannot rely on our personal courage because in spiritual warfare it will reveal our cowardice response to the enemy’s efforts.  We cannot rely on our own strength because it will reveal our true weakness when it comes to the battle ahead.  But as the passage says “be strong in the Lord” and this is what gives us the endurance and ability to enter into battle with confidence and the lack of fear.  God, in His mighty power, equips us to do what otherwise could not be done without Him.  When by faith we trust totally and completely in the God who saved us we are empowered to carry on even in the heat of spiritual battle to be triumphant.  The LORD’s power and strength is sufficient in every battle and we must train and prepare ourselves by using the tools that He has readily provided; God’s Word, the Holy Spirit, and the fellowship of Brothers and fellow Warriors in Christ.

There is a great example of this in 2 Chronicles where King Jehoshaphat was faced with war from the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites.  Scripture tells us “Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyardand said: ‘Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand youOur God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying,  ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’ ‘But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them   See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance.  Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”[3]  Here is a king that is acknowledging before God that his kingdom does not have the ability to defend themselves against the huge army that is coming to attack them.  He states with honesty “we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”  What a powerful and important lesson for us to learn.  No matter how important a title you may have or how much wealth you may have accumulated, there is a vast army of evil coming to do battle with you and you do not have the ability to do anything other than keep your eyes on God.  When Jehoshaphat offered this powerful prayer of faith and trust, God gave the people an answer.

God’s Word goes on to say “Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.He said: ‘Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.  Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel.  You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”3 

What a fantastic discovery when we realize that the battle is not ours but Gods!  If we confess that we belong to Him then whom shall we fear?  He is the Alpha and Omega; the Beginning and the End; His grace is sufficient for all who will receive it.  You see Satan is always trying to put things in our paths that will make us stumble and yes, sometimes even fall; but when we realize that we are not strong enough or courageous enough to fight the spiritual battle on our own then our only choice is to keep our eyes on God and He will secure the victory for us!  And when we secure the victory, we do not need to become arrogant or get on our high horse; instead we should be like King Jehoshaphat and the men of Judah and Jerusalem.  Scripture tells us they “returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies.  They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lyres and trumpets.   The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel.  And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.”[4]

Jehoshaphat is a living testimony of what Paul tells us when he says “Finally, be strong in the Lord and his mighty power.”[5] I pray that you will be one who recognizes your limitations when it comes to battling the enemy but God’s power and strength is sufficient to give us the victory!

 

 

[1] Sidewalk Prophets, WORDS I WOULD SAY, written by MCDONALD, BEN/FREY, DAVID DOUGLAS/MIZELL, SAMUEL C.Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.
[2] Ephesians 6:10 All Scripture used in this article is taken from the NIV translation of the Holy Bible unless otherwise noted.
[3] 2 Chronicles 20:5-12
[4] 2 Chronicles 20:27b-30
[5] Ephesians 6:10

 

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