"'Man, your sins are forgiven you!'... But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, answered them, 'Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, Your sins are forgiven you, or to say, Arise and walk? But that you may know that the Son of Man has the power and authority and right on earth to forgive sins, He said to the paralyzed man, I say to you, 'arise, pick up your bed and go..." (see Luke 5:20-24)
The Lord called these words to my mind this morning as we were talking over the last number of days. I've been in a season of battle. One of the battlefronts has been speaking the Truth to myself when my emotions have been telling me something different.
For example, my emotions have screamed at me, "this is too hard!" The Truth is "now what I'm commanding you this day is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach." (Deuteronomy 30:11) Or, "I can't do this!" needs to be defeated by "I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:13) I could give numerous more examples but the Bible says that I'm not being tempted by thoughts that are uncommon to man. You probably can fill in the blanks because you hear the echoes of lies yourself.
Well, I've been struggling with all my might to combat these lies with Truth. Part of me recognizes that there's progress in this - at least I'm fighting! I've spent most of my life rocking on the sea of my emotions. But the Lord revealed to me that I've slipped back into that performance-based "got to get it right so that I deserve His love" mentality instead of admitting to myself that I'm incapable in my own strength and deferring to the Almighty One.
God is so good! He knows that I like to see the picture. The battle began and I raised my Sword high and shouted the Truth! Then, as war raged around me, I lost sight of my Commander and the ground I was taking and saw instead every one of my imperfections. Before long, I was no longer advancing declaring "victory is the Lord's" and raising Sword and Shield but I was cowering on the battlefield, hiding under a shield that I was no longer using properly.
There is a vast difference between standing on the Truth and walking by faith. If I've spent a lifetime retreating, standing on the Truth is a good start, but the Lord has so much victory for us. Christ died so that our victory could be complete!
Just like the paralyzed man in the verses above, I have been paralyzed by my defeats rather than remembering that I'm forgiven. Grace (undeserved favor & spiritual blessing) is lavished on me just as I am. I've been redeemed! The ransom has been paid for me to walk free! And He said, "Arise... and go..."
Lord, I'm learning! I used to look longingly towards Egypt and retreat to there at the first sign of battle. Praise You that I have been able to stand on the Truth of Your Word. Forgive me for focusing on my errors and not Your prevailing might. Lord, Your Strength is at my constant disposal to advance! May I arise from this place where I had fallen and go to the place You are calling me to. Please fix my eyes on You. You are the Author and Perfector of my faith - my Commander and Chief - and You will never forsake me. In faith, I'm getting up and following You... so be it!
May you be encouraged by the following verses as I was. I hope they remind you of the strength of your sword, give you courage to once again dust yourself off, arise, raise your shield of faith and keep on taking ground! The battle belongs to the Lord!
"Now faith is the assurance (the title deed) of the things we hope for, being the proof of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality (faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses)." Hebrews 11:1
"By faith, Abraham, when called to a place he would later receive as his inheritence, obeyed and went. Even though he did not know where he was going." Hebrews 11:8
"Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the (victorious) God of my salvation! The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds' feet (of a deer) and will make me to walk (not to stand still in terror but to walk) and make (spiritual) progress upon my high places (of trouble, suffering or responsibility)!" Habakkuk 3:18,19
"For we walk by faith (we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk) not by sight or appearance." 2 Corinthians 5:7