Just read an excellent devotion by Bill Johnson in Spiritual Java. It was on strengthening yourself in the Lord, and was based on David’s response to a serious situation at Ziklag when the wives and children of he and his men were kidnapped while they were off fighting a battle elsewhere. His men were going to stone him, but he strengthened himself in the Lord and then led his men to take back their wives and children. The article was about being able to press into the Lord and then taking a courageous step that requires faith. Bill Johnson says that doing so helps us grow in favor with God.
I wonder what pressing into the Lord looks like practically? I think it must be more than simply being courageous, or at least acting like we are courageous. I think it must involve coming to the Lord, and in our time with him grappling with and agreeing with what he wants us to do to step forward in the situation.
I experienced this about 6 years ago when my consulting business wasn’t bringing in enough money, and I failed in my attempts to drum up more business or find an alternative job. I was scared and thought for sure I needed to sell my house before it got foreclosed on. But God spoke to me in his quiet voice and directed me to look at Isaiah 7, in which Isaiah challenges the king to take a stand against the foreign army. In verse 9, Isaiah basically tells the king (and this is paraphrased into how I interpreted it for my situation), if you don’t stand firm in faith now, you’ll always be running in tough situations. So, as a result, I redoubled my efforts to pray and trust God, and I got a phone call from someone offering me a position I neither knew about or applied for. And I am there to this day.
Truthfully, over the course of my life, I have had more failures than successes in this area, but as I grow older, I hope to see many more successes than failures. For us to do this, I think this requires us to both recognize that God is mighty, but also recognize ourselves as people valuable enough to God that he will act on our behalf. Consider the second part of Hebrews 11:6, that faith requires us to believe that God rewards those of us who seek him.
May God give us strength to stand firm in faith, to go up against giants, and not shrink in fear, but go forth using the weapons that we have!