The best way to find God’s will is to say, “I will” to God.
God may give you your choice, but He alone knows what is best, so you’d better ask Him what that is. How do you find God’s best? The first requirement is having no will of your own. According to the Scripture, you need to surrender your life, your mind, and your will, and not be conformed to this world:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).
Ask God to lead and guide you. Ask Him to open your heart and mind to His truth. Ask Him to help you to understand it and follow it. Be willing to yield to His will, whatever it may be, and then you’ll find out—you’ll know—because then you’re in a position for God to show you. If you’re His child and you’re letting Him do the choosing, what’s He going to choose for you? He’s going to choose that which is the best for you.
He knows, He loves, He cares,
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives His very best to those
Who leave the choice with Him.
The secret of success: Choose and yield to God’s will.
God has given us a free will, but to be successful for Him or even as happy as He would like to make us, we have to continually yield that will to Him. We have to find out from Him what His will for us is—what He knows is best for others and us—and then choose that.
Once you have found and chosen God’s will, He will reach down and take ahold of you and move you where He wants you to go. Everybody has their place and job for the Lord, like the pieces on a chessboard. Chesspieces have no will of their own. When a player picks up a chesspiece and moves it to another square, the chesspiece doesn’t protest; it yields and goes where it’s sent, right? Well, you’re in the hands of the Master Player and He’s going to put you wherever He wants you, so trust the Lord.
You don’t have to make all the decisions; you only have to be yielded to His moves and let Him do the thinking and the choosing. You’ve got very limited vision, but He can see the whole game, the whole chessboard and all the pieces. It’s wonderful to let God decide, because He always has our best interests at heart and He knows what’s best.
Don’t trade the best for something merely good.
A lot of people try to get away with what they call “God’s second best.” They desert God’s highest calling because they aren’t willing to pay the price.
But we shouldn’t even consider second best because as far as God is concerned, there’s only one best—the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14 KJV). If we take second best, it’s not really His second best; it’s our best.
What is sin? It’s missing the mark, missing the target, missing the bull’s eye. It’s not really doing the most important thing that God wants us to do. So “let us lay aside the weights and the sins” (Hebrews 12:1)—anything that keeps us from doing God’s highest and His best, anything that keeps us from being where He knows we’ll be of most use to Him and the biggest blessing to others.
(Prayer:) Lord, bless and keep us all in the center of Your will. Keep us single-minded, single in purpose. We have no idea how great Your purpose is, but we’ve answered Your call. Do help us to do Your best—the best we can, and nothing less.
The first place we look for the will of God is in the Word of God.
God’s written Word is the known, sure, absolute, revealed will of God. So when you aren’t sure what to do or how to go about it, look in His Word at all He’s said before. If God never tells you another thing, if you never get a revelation, if you never see a vision, if you never receive a message from Heaven in prophecy, if you never have the gift of knowledge, if you never have wisdom, if you never have discernment, if you never have the gift of healing, if you never have the gift of miracles, if you’ll just operate according to the written Word of God, you’ll accomplish a whole lot.
Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:35). The Bible also tells us: “Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in Heaven” (Psalm 119:89). When God speaks to you right from His Book, you know it’s right. There’s no question or any doubt about it! It never fails!
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled!
—John Rippon, A Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors, 1787
The safest place in the world is in the center of God’s will.
No matter where you are, or how you are, or what you are, or what’s against you, God will keep you safe if you are in the center of His will. It’s a charmed circle where you live a charmed life. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10). “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).
Don’t run outside that circle of God’s will and protection, or God may allow Satan to give you problems. We can suffer sometimes for our sins of carelessness, prayerlessness, haste, and disobedience to the Lord. God is bound by His own rules and laws, and He can’t protect you when you violate the rules. When you’re out of His will, He may even allow you to fall prey to the snares of the Devil.
(Prayer:) Help us to stay close to You, Lord, in the center of Your will. Then we know we have nothing to fear because we’re also in the center of Your provision and protection and blessing, and can trust You utterly because we know we’re being obedient and doing Your will. Amen.
God’s will for you is what He made you for.
Believe it or not, God has a special and unique calling for you—something that only you can do. He is the One who designs both the jobs and the tools to get those jobs done. He knows what kind of tool you are. He knows which job you’re best suited for and what He wants to use you for, so you’d better do what He knows you can do best. Find the job that God has gifted you for, and then stick to it.
If everybody would only be willing and satisfied to fulfill their calling and not want any more or any less, God could greatly use them and make them very happy. But we sometimes make ourselves unhappy by being dissatisfied with what God has given us to do for Him because we haven’t learned, as the apostle Paul did, to be content in whatever state we’re in (Philippians 4:11). We all need to learn to be satisfied and thankful for the place and ministry God has given us.
“Make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall” (2 Peter 1:10 NIV).
* * *
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
Make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall.
–2 Peter 1:10
Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto Thee.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.
Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done.
Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
–1 Samuel 15:22
If ye love Me, keep My commandments.
Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.
Copyright © The Family International. All Rights Reserved.
For life to have real meaning and purpose, we have to believe in something. Then we have to be ready to stand up for what we believe; we have to have conviction.
God likes wholehearted, stouthearted men. If He is what you believe in, have you got the guts to be one of these? If you’re going to serve God, know what you believe and serve Him no matter what anyone else says. Be prepared to take a stand of faith, like Martin Luther (1483-1546) did on the issue of salvation by grace before the religious council of his day: “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture, I can and will not retract. Here I stand. I can do no other. So help me God!”
You cannot stop the man of faith. You cannot dissuade him. You cannot divert him. He’ll go on with or without you or right over you, if necessary. He is determined to go on by faith because he has found the truth. He is of one mind, one heart, one soul, one spirit, one purpose, and will not quit!
Beware of compromise.
The Devil will do everything he can to tempt you to forsake God’s way. If he can’t get you to stop, he will try to get you to compromise. He tempts you with half-truths that make you doubt your convictions or not live up to them fully.
Most people don’t realize that if they hold one little thing back from God, if they make one little compromise, they are distancing themselves from God. One little disobedience leads to another, one little refusal and denial leads to another, and one bit of selfishness leads to more. You may think, “Oh, just this one little sin, just this one little thing, it’s not important,” but that crack in your armor is all the Devil needs. His gas of deceit begins to seep in and poison your mind because you disobeyed what you knew God wanted you to do, and pretty soon you’re totally off the track.
Don’t let that happen to you. Be faithful to the Lord. Be faithful to the voice of His Spirit when He tells you to do this or that, or to not do this or that. Be loyal. “Resist the Devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Don’t give him an inch, or he’ll take a mile—everything you’ve got. Give no place to the Devil (Ephesians 4:27).
“To obey is better than sacrifice” (1 Samuel 15:22).
A lot of people try to go ahead in their own strength and their own wisdom and do what they think is God’s will and God’s work, but we can’t serve God unless we obey God. We can’t just do what we think is right, no matter how good it might be. Our best isn’t good enough; it takes God to really do the job right. Our best, your own human strength or supposed wisdom, is not sufficient.
Do exactly what the Lord tells you—no more and no less. King Saul thought he could do better than that, and he lost his job. He had God’s anointing and blessing as long as he obeyed and waited on the Lord, but when he started going his own way and disobeying, he lost it (1 Samuel 15:1-23).
There’s no “little” disobedience to God. Any disobedience is a big one. Nothing short of right is right. It’s either all or nothing at all with God. You’re either obedient or disobedient. God’s Word says, “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:19).
Wait and obey. That’s one of the most valuable lessons you can ever learn about serving the Lord!
* * *
I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air.
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot. I would that thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.
Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of Man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy Angels.
For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto Salvation to every one that believeth;
Copyright © The Family International. All Rights Reserved.
by David Brandt Berg
Since we believe that the Bible clearly states that once we become the Lord’s child, we will always remain His child. “I give unto them Eternal Life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.” “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved” (John 10:28; 6:37; 1Corinthians 3:15)–I have taken this scripture in Hebrews 6:4-10 to mean that if they were truly saved and knew the truth and yet went back, fell away–and the Lord says in the Last Days there shall come a great falling away (2Thessalonians 2:3; 1Timothy 4:1-3)–they’re still saved, but “shall suffer loss.” They were really Christians, but misled, deceived or offended. Something caused them to fall away and they turned back.
Even if they were actually saved, they have just fallen away and that fulfills that scripture there in the 6th chapter of Hebrews. They’ve known and they’ve seen and they’ve even tasted of the Spirit.
What does repentance mean?–Change of mind. Metanoia is the word, literally. They’ve gone so far that they can’t change their minds, they can’t change their way, they can’t return to their former state of faith, dedication or helpfulness to the Lord and others.
And God’s Word says “some shall be raised to shame and everlasting contempt!” (Daniel 12:2). Think of it! That is perdition and punishment enough for a formerly dedicated Christian–or one who once had faith–to find that he has forever transgressed to where it is hard to make him change his mind and renew him to repentance, so that God has to let him go on his way.
God says they can be saved, but they can’t be renewed, they can’t be changed, they’ll never be brought back to the former state. They will have lost their reward; they will have lost all claim on many of the promises, etc. (Ezekiel 3:20; Revelation 3:11), and they will live in a constant state of shame and contempt. (See also Isaiah 66:5; 1John 2:28.) Imagine! Heaven would be terrible to those people, to have to live with God and God’s people! It would almost be torment! That’s punishment enough to realize what they missed, what they did, and how they are now the lowest of the low in Heaven.
God’s Word doesn’t say the backsliders are lost. In fact, He even says, “I am married to the backslider” (Jeremiah 3:14). It’s like a wife who has deserted her husband. They have deserted the Lord! They’ve known Him and believed in Him, but they have deserted Him and His work and His people. But the Lord says, “I’m married to the backslider. She’s a bad woman, she’s sinned against Me. But because she at one time received Me, I’m married to her and I’ll have to save her and not send her to Hell.” But she’s going to have some pretty unhappy times in Heaven, considering the shame and the reproach and the contempt she will have to suffer.
I don’t know what the state of those people is. Only God knows! But it certainly seemed as though they knew the Lord and had received Jesus, so maybe one of these days they’ll wake up in everlasting shame and contempt and realize how wrong they were.–And then when they have to live in Heaven, they’d almost rather be in Hell! Heaven will be Hell for some people to have to be that close to God.
So we don’t know now, but one of these days we’ll know, “even as also we are known” (1Corinthians 13:12). Praise the Lord!
* * *
The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways.
And many of them that sleep in the dust of the Earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works.
For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
And all the churches shall know that I am He which searcheth the reigns and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
Copyright © The Family International. All Rights Reserved.
We can sometimes get so busy serving the Lord that we forget to love Him. This is one of the greatest temptations of workers for the Lord, and one of the greatest dangers. If we neglect our fellowship with the King of kings because we’re so busy with the affairs of the kingdom, it can be disastrous to our spiritual life and communion with the Lord.
No matter how sincere our motives or how faithful we are to His work, we must put Him first—not the work or even others. God doesn’t fit second place, and He won’t take it. “You shall have no other gods before Me. … For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” (Deuteronomy 5:7,9). That is probably the greatest mistake of sincere Christians: to make a god of God’s service.
Your service is nothing if you don’t give the King your attention, your love, your time, your communion. He desires your love and intends for you to love Him first of all and above all. You cannot do the Master’s work without the Master’s power and guidance, and to get it you must spend time with the Master.
Let Jesus be your “first love,” and always keep Him in that place (Revelation 2:4).
For Christ to be valued at all, He must be valued above all. You must seek first the King and His kingdom, and to seek first means foremost and above all—before everything else, above everything else, beyond everything else, and more than anything else. The first place must belong to Him.
What Jesus values most from us is our time. To neglect your fellowship with the King of kings because you’re so busy with the affairs of the kingdom can be disastrous to your spiritual life and communion with the Lord. “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3)—not even His service or lost souls. So it behooves you to give Jesus time, and you should give Him some time every single day.
If you’ll just put Jesus first and delight yourself in Him most of all, then He can trust you with other things, because they will not come between you and Him. They will not supersede nor distract, but they will augment your service to Him and “all these things shall be added to you” in His time (Psalm 37:4; Matthew 6:33).
God’s love is the reason and purpose for all things.
Why did God make this wonderful world for you to enjoy?—So you’d know that He loves you. Why did He want you to know He loves you?—Because He wants you to love Him. God made you to love because He needed someone to love.
What is the whole duty of man?—Solomon says it in Ecclesiastes: “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV). But Jesus boiled it down to something even simpler: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). Jesus made it a more personal loving relationship between Him and you and others. Instead of “fear God,” He said, “love the Lord.” Instead of just “keep the commandments,” He said, “love your neighbor as yourself.” In this is fulfilled “all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:40).
You’ll never be able to enjoy life to the full without Him, because He has created your heart with a vacancy, a hollowness, an emptiness, an aching void that only He can fill. He saved one spot in your heart, the very core of your life, for Himself. He created you to love Him. You’re His creation, you’re His child, and He wants you!
Enjoy yourself and enjoy life—but enjoy the Lord most of all!
God intends for you to enjoy life. He made all things for you to enjoy, and He created the very senses with which to enjoy them. Every good and perfect gift that God has sent down from above, He created for you, His child, to enjoy (James 1:17).
Enjoy the pleasures that God has given you as much as you please and as much as you need. Just don’t enjoy them more than Him. If you have an inordinate desire for too much of certain things, then it becomes a form of worship, and that’s a sin. “Do not love the world or the things in the world,” the Bible cautions us. “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). Don’t let the blessings of God take first place in your life, because God will not take second place. He wants your love above all else. He says, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3).
Be sure that you put God first. Love and worship Him above all, and thank Him for all of these other things that He has given you to enjoy. Then you can have all this and Heaven too!
* * *
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?
Whom have I in Heaven but Thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside [more than] Thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear [love and respect] God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.
But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things [food and clothing] shall be added unto you.
Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.
One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in His temple.
Copyright © The Family International. All Rights Reserved.
The Devil is always on the job, tempting us to disobey God. And though nobody can keep temptation from coming, we don’t have to yield to temptation. God gives us enough sense by His Spirit to know the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s good and what’s bad, then He lets us choose. The Devil cannot prevent us from choosing. That’s the one thing we can do no matter what the Devil does. We each have a will, and we can choose to ignore the Devil and resist his temptations. “Therefore submit to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
It is impossible for the Devil to win over you unless you give in to him, for “He who is in you [Jesus] is greater than he who is in the world [Satan]” (1 John 4:4). The only way the Devil can win is if you quit, give up, give in, surrender, or stop fighting. As long as you keep fighting, you keep winning! So when the Devil tempts you to get down and discouraged—fight back! Put on the armor of God, that you may be able to withstand the Devil’s attacks (Ephesians 6:10-17). Don’t even listen to him, much less surrender!
We don’t need to fear the Devil or his demons. Jesus is with us!
Just as the fear of God leads to life (Proverbs 19:23), fear of Satan leads to death. Fearing God is a form of worshiping God. It’s giving Him the reverence He deserves. But to fear the Enemy, to fear Satan, is giving him just the kind of worship he wants. It’s really worshiping the Devil, so don’t do it—not for a fraction of a second!
Satan’s powers are not to be feared, much less worshiped. They are to be resisted and rebuked and gotten rid of! You have to fight fear like you have to fight the Devil. Resist it with faith and the Word of God. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7). Give God due respect by putting your faith in Him, and all fear will disappear.
Although this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed,
His truth to triumph through us!
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him!
His rage we can endure,
For lo, his doom is sure!
One little word [Jesus] shall fell him!
—Martin Luther (1483-1546)
“Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against … the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV).
We are fighting in a war, not against carnal man, but against spiritual forces. That war is going on all the time in the unseen realm of the spirit that is all around us and even in us. It is a war between God and the Devil, between the forces of good and the forces of evil, between the angels of Heaven and the demons of Hell, between the people of God and the Devil’s agents on earth.
“The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4). We need a lot more than mere physical weapons to fight and win this war. To tear down the spiritual strongholds of the evil forces that oppose God and His people and His purposes, we need to wield the powerful spiritual weapons of God’s love and Word.
It’s serious business fighting the Devil, but it’s a fight that we’re destined to win. As long as we stay on guard spiritually, as long as we stay close to Jesus and His Word, we can’t be beaten. How can we be so sure?—Because He who is in us—Jesus—is greater than he who is in the world—the Devil (1 John 4:4).
If you want to drive away the Devil and his doubts, start praising the Lord no matter what’s happening.
The Devil can tell you a lot of truth about yourself that’s horrible, not to speak of the lies he tells you. One of his favorite tactics is to try to persuade you to quit by hitting you with a barrage of doubt, discouragement, and self-pity. If you don’t keep your eyes on the Lord and your mind on His Word when that happens, you’re doomed to defeat, doubt, discouragement, and final failure.
When you’re discouraged, the Devil tries to make you mad at the truth because he’s afraid of being defeated by it. If you listen to the Devil’s lies, you’ll forget the words of God. If you spend your time listening to the Devil’s doubts and singing his dirges, you’ll forget God’s praises.
So rebuke the Enemy in Jesus’ name when he tempts you with negative thoughts. Start praising the Lord and you’ll often praise your way right out of the pit into which the Devil is trying to cast you. When he comes around with his doubts, lies, and fears, don’t just stand there—do something! Sing, shout, praise the Lord, quote Scriptures! Sock it to him with the Word! The Devil can’t take the Word. He’ll turn tail and run every time!
We need to understand the difference between the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the condemnation of the Devil.
Not everything that goes wrong is necessarily your own fault or a result of your mistakes and sins, and not all trials are because God is punishing you. Sometimes these things are attacks of the Devil, who is trying to defeat you, trying to belittle, trying to accuse, trying to get you down and discouraged. He tries to convince you that you’ve made too many mistakes and failed too many times, so you might as well quit.
But God always has hope for you. Even when He has to correct you, He does so in love. His dealings are a proof of His love (Hebrews 12:5-6). He sometimes scolds and applies the rod, but He always adds love’s healing balm afterwards to soothe, encourage, comfort, and give you hope of recovery and redemption. His encouragement after His correction is like the sun after a storm.
So don’t give up the fight, especially when the Enemy of your soul is doing his best to discourage you and depress you. God will forgive you for past errors, and He can still mightily use you. Simply acknowledge and confess your sin, accept God’s forgiveness, and get on with living for His honor and glory.
The Devil can’t win for losing!
It is impossible for the Devil to defeat you unless you give in to him. “Jesus who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Jesus has already defeated the Devil (1 John 3:8). If you keep fighting, the Devil cannot win.
The Bible says, “Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). As long as you keep resisting, he’ll keep fleeing, but if you stop resisting, he’ll use his lies and doubts to try to persuade you to quit. He’ll try to persuade you that you’re a hopeless case, so you might as well surrender and leave the field to him. “It’s no use,” he says.
Don’t listen to him! Get tough and fight back with the “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). Don’t let the Devil say “boo” and scare you out of doing what God wants you to do. Stand up and fight, and he will flee from you!
Put your faith in the Lord and His Word, and you’re bound to win. Put on the whole armor of God and go on the attack with the truth of God’s Word (Ephesians 6:10-18). The victory is already yours. With Jesus on your side, you can’t lose for winning as long as you keep fighting!
“When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19).
Sometimes living for the Lord is a real fight, but the Devil can’t prevail against you if you resist him with the Word of God. The Bible is God’s standard, like a banner or flag that we can wave in front of the Devil’s sharp pointed nose to make him flee (James 4:7). He can’t take the Word.
When the Devil tempts you, what’s the first thing you should do?—Ask the Lord for a Scripture to answer the Devil’s lie. That’s what Jesus did. He just quoted the Scriptures. Of course, the Devil also tried quoting Scripture to Jesus, but he twisted them and took them out of context. So Jesus just fired Scriptures back at him the way they should have been applied: “It is written” (Luke 4:1-13). And the Devil fled!
The best way to stop an attack is to counterattack. The best defense is an offense. Wage a militant warfare against the Devil. Pray. Memorize and quote God’s promises to the Devil, as well as to yourself, to bolster your faith. Put the Devil out of action with the Word. Bury him in a flood of the truth!
Don’t let the Devil get you down.
Discouragement is one of the Devil’s favorite weapons. He tries to get us looking at our own mistakes, sins, weaknesses, and failures. The Devil, the accuser of the saints, picks on all the little things, all our tiny faults. If he can’t discourage us any other way, he tries to belittle us and belittle what we’re doing. He whispers the lies that are the most easily believed, either about us or about other people.
But the Bible doesn’t say to look at yourself or others. It doesn’t say to look at all the problems and troubles either. It says, “Look to Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2).
What does it mean to be discouraged?—It means to not be encouraged, to be without courage, or when courage is at a low ebb. Discouragement is really a loss of faith.
“Faith comes by hearing the Word of God” (Romans 10:17), so when you get discouraged, the quickest remedy is to start praying and reading the Word and quoting Scriptures and telling the Devil he’s a liar. That’s how your faith will grow, and as it does, the doubts will flee and you’ll be on the road to victory again. So when things look darkest, don’t look down, look up! Start praising the Lord and you’ll often praise your way right out of the pit into which the Devil is trying to cast you!
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When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
–2 Corinthians 2:11
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.
–2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Neither give place to the devil.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith.
–1 Peter 5:8,9a
The Word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.
–1 John 2:14b
Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.
–1 John 4:4b
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If you don’t get the credit here, you’ll get it in Heaven.
What a surprise we’re going to get when Jesus hands out the rewards, as to who was really greatest. Some people serve unselfishly, sacrificially, utterly giving themselves to the utmost, yet they never seem to get any credit for it and are virtually unknown. But God has a great big book, and it’s known to Him. He’s writing it all down and will reward everyone accordingly. “For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Hebrews 6:10). “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Salvation is free, but rewards are earned. At the judgment seat of Christ during the marriage supper of the Lamb, Jesus will greatly reward all those who had the faith and perseverance to stay in His school till class was dismissed (Revelation 19:6-9; 20:4; 2:26-28). Be faithful to the end so when that time comes you will know you have done your job the best you can. Then you will “rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in Heaven” (Matthew 5:12).—Not always here, but always there!
Only one life, ’twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last!
Every Christian was intended to lay down his life and take up his cross and follow Jesus in order to bear fruit, more Christians like himself (Luke 9:23– 24; John 15:8). Jesus said, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain” (John 12:24). If we will bury our lives in the soil of God’s service, if we will “die daily” for the Lord by giving our lives to help others (1 Corinthians 15:31), we will bring forth much fruit—more Christians to preach the Gospel to more of the lost and win them to Jesus—that He may have much fruit.
What a small price to pay for all the blessings, happiness, and eternal rewards in Heaven that He has promised you in return! If you give your all, God will reward you a hundred times over (Matthew 19:29). You can’t beat that kind of investment. There’s no other investment in this world that guarantees that kind of return.
What are you doing and for whom? Will it last forever for Jesus and others? Don’t waste another day! Spend its precious time for Him and His, for eternity!
“She has done what she could!”
Remember what Jesus said about the dear woman who anointed His head with costly, fragrant oil before His death? He said, “She has done what she could” (Mark 14:3-9).
Maybe you feel you can’t do very much, but at least you can do what you can! If you will be faithful to do your best at the job God has given you to do for Him, however great or small it may be, He will greatly reward you one of these days soon when you stand before Jesus at the “judgment seat of Christ” (Romans 14:10). You will reap eternal rewards and everlasting glory, and have a feeling of genuine permanent accomplishment from your investment in His work. “Well done, good and faithful servant,” you will hear Him say. “Because you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord” (Matthew 25:21).
Have you done what you could, or are you going to be sorry for your sins of omission? Don’t lose your reward or let another take the crown that God has for you (Revelation 3:11).
I am satisfied with Jesus, but the question comes to me,
As I think of Calvary, “Is my Savior satisfied with me?”
—B.B. McKinney (1886-1952)
Do you want a crown?
The heavenly crown the Lord promises us is not our salvation. We have eternal life through His Son, which is the gift of God (John 3:36; Ephesians 2:8-9). The crown is our reward, given only to those who run and win the race (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
God’s Word tells us to endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, and to not entangle ourselves in the affairs of this world, that we may please Him who has called us to be soldiers (2 Timothy 2:3-4 KJV). If we fail the Lord, we will lose our reward and another will take the crown that God intended for us (Revelation 3:11).
So watch and pray that you do not enter into temptation that might lead you astray from the straight and narrow way that leads to a crown and great reward. Fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). Keep the faith, finish the course, and win the crown. Keep your eyes on the goal and your hand on the plow (Luke 9:62). “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life” (James 1:12 NIV). When this life is over, if what you did was right, you’ll shine as the stars forever (Daniel 12:3).
May you invest your talents wisely and reap great reward.
The more you use what you have, the more you give, the more God blesses and gives to you. The more you use what you’ve got, the more God will increase it. “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6). As in the story Jesus told of the man who was given one talent, the man who was given two talents, and the man who was given five: The thing that was important was not that one was given more than the other, but how they each chose to use what He had given (Matthew 25:14-30). It’s not what you’ve got that determines the outcome, it’s what you do with what you’ve got.
So “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58). You will be rewarded!
“He will reward every man according to his works” (Matthew 16:27).
We can’t earn or work for salvation; it’s a gift. But we can earn special praise and special commendation from the Lord and we can work for rewards. God is no respecter of persons when it comes to salvation (Acts 10:34), but when it comes to works and accomplishing something for Him and His kingdom, He is a great respecter of persons.
Heaven is not going to be a classless society. In Heaven, there will be all kinds of grades and levels of reward, just like there will be all kinds of grades and levels of punishment for the unsaved. Each person will shine with a different glory, depending on how much they did for the Lord. Some of the Christian heroes of the faith who were living saints in giving their lives in love so others could be saved will be where they deserve to be, at the top, near the Lord’s court. But some Christians who ignored His call to service and lived selfishly all their lives will be rewarded poorly.
Are you accomplishing all you can for God? Will He say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord”? (Matthew 25:21).
A crown of life is even more than a reward.
Jesus has promised, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). He’s not talking about your salvation there. Salvation is a gift of God (Romans 6:23). You don’t work for it or earn it at all, but your crown is your reward and even more. It’s not only a reward but also recognition before all of a job well done. Once we receive Jesus, we’re saved whether we endure to the end or not, but we’ll be given special rewards and special honor if we are a special blessing while here (Daniel 12:3; 2 Timothy 4:7-8; James 1:12).
Of course, you’re going to fall down before Jesus and cast your crown before His throne like the 24 elders in Revelation 4:10. Every time you start praising the Lord you’re going to forget all about that crown and it’s going to tumble off right at His feet, but you’d better pick it up again and put it on and wear it proudly, because that’s why He gave it to you. That’s what’s going to show what you have done for Him, and He wants the world to see it—your badge of faithfulness, a crown of life!
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Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.’
Behold, I come quickly; hold fast that which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
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 on that Day — and not to me only, but unto all those also who love His appearing.
–2 Timothy 4:7,8
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord hath promised to those who love Him.
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
And they that are wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He shall reward every man according to his works.
Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of Life.
But as it is written: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”
–1 Corinthians 2:9
Copyright © The Family International. All Rights Reserved.