Standing Firm and Steadfast – blog

 In Daily Encouragement

I have one more session remaining with my personal trainer.  It will be our 18th meeting in two months.  I have lived a rather sedentary lifestyle with little to no exercise for about the past 30 years, so I thought I would just bite the bullet and get some help doing what I should have been doing all along.

At the age of 65, I want to be running 180 Ministries for another 10 years.  In order to do that my body needs to be cared for.  It seems to be doing fine for now with no major problems.  In fact, there is more of it than there used to be, but that is part of the problem.  Just as spiritual health takes work so does physical health and I am quite sure that in many ways the two go hand in hand.

Today my trainer, while he is putting me through today’s torture, shared with me his life verse.  It is 1 Peter 5:10.

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

What I really like about that verse is that it has real life all over it. It is not just some pie in the sky platitude about how things are going to be peachy and nice.  It is not some idea like so many believers think, that if they will just accept Jesus as their Savior everything in life will be fine and easy.

As people struggling with sexual brokenness, we know that is not true.  We have experienced a lot of suffering and we have caused a lot of suffering.  In the never-ending pursuit of sexual pleasure, we have gone from being the consumer to the one being consumed.  We have so strengthened our sexual desires hoping to never get caught and consuming as much as we can, to becoming the one who is caught and entangled in this highly addictive sin.

And yet, the God of all grace still loves us and is still wanting us to turn around and head home to Him.  As we all know too well the journey of recovery is not an easy road and turning around, though easy to promise is difficult to do.   So, the Spirit through Peter tells us that there is going to be suffering involved.  Suffering for a little while.

But you reply that you have been suffering from this for years if not decades.  Yet, is not the suffering you have had the result of your own choices?  Have you not chosen to let your spiritual life with the Lord gradually decline while your lusts of the flesh have been steadily increasing?  Have you not pursed your own sinful desires and revealed in actions that give you escape from your pain while you fill yourself with the sexual garbage of this world?

So, guess what?  To turn around and do a 180 is going to be a long and difficult battle and after you have suffered a little while the Lord himself is going to restore you.  However, that restoration is going to take a lot of work.  Just as I am now suffering twice a week with my trainer making my body do what it does not want to do so we all must do the spiritual disciplines that are essential for spiritual health and personal holiness.

However, slowly I have been getting stronger.  I am less dizzy and less easily exhausted in the workouts.  I can do more reps with more weight for longer periods of time.  And because I am doing this work two days a week, I am looking forward to being active four days a week so that I might become stronger, firmer and able to be more physically steadfast.

And that is what God wants to do in your life.  His goal of perfecting you will be completed on the day you die.  However, until then, after you have suffered awhile learning and doing your spiritual dailies and living daily connected to a community of other believers, you are going to become more strong, firm and steadfast.

Paul says that in the passage where he is talking about daily putting on the full armor of God because we are in a battle with demonic forces of evil.  He writes in Ephesians 6:10-11;

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”

In fact, just before Peter writes verse 10 he wrote these words;

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a    roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

So, which will it be for you today?  Working out or jerking off?  Growing stronger in the Lord or going deeper into sin?  Choose the first and over time you will grow stronger in the Lord and be able to stand steadfast in Him.

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