The Lord desires that we strive to live a life to please Him. There are many examples where the Lord tested His people to see what was in their hearts. Many times, He sent His spirit to keep us from sinning against Him. The Hebrews were tested in the wilderness and another great example is found in Genesis regarding Abraham, Sarah, and king Abimelech. Because Abraham was afraid that foreigners would take Sarah as their wife and kill him, he and Sarah acted as brother and sister to prevent this from happening.
“And Abraham said of Sarah his wife, She is my sister: and Abimelech king of Gerar sent, and took Sarah; but God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife; but Abimelech had not come near her: and he said, Lord, wilt thou slay also a righteous nation?said he not unto me, She is my sister? and she, even she herself said, He is my brother: in the integrity of my heart and innocency of my hands have I done this; and God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her.”
It is beautiful knowledge to know that the Lord loves us so much that He moves our heart not to go against Him. One thing is for certain, no one goes without scrutiny, search, and testing.
“I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.”
1 Chronicles 28:9
“And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.”
And every child of light should echo:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart:try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).
It is integral to understand that faith without works will profit us nothing. Meaning, some one may have all the faith required for belief in great things to come; the faith is greater than the size of a muster seed; prayers have been prayed in faith and the believer knows they are bound to see manifestations based on the faith that is planted within the heart and the professions they have made.
The only problem here is that the believer was deceived into thinking faith is all that is necessary to produce great things or they became comfortable with the notion that their faith was large enough so that they did not have to physically do anything to witness what they believed.
Now, though faith and the different measures thereof are treasurable gifts, it is different from grace. Though we can pray for grace, grace is freely given without deserving it. We all have a basic level of faith that we were inherently born with (faith in the Greater Power; general faith in people; faith in yourself) but there is a different level of faith required to actually see “things” come to pass. In some cases having faith the size of a musterseed is all you need-maybe to witness a miracle or some form of blessing. Even in these cases, one still has to pray and believe, which is the “work.” But for most things in life, physical actions and your “work” towards the faith is necessary because this is how the Lord tests your faith to show you what level of faith you have and your efforts towards the blessing. Faith without works equates to nothing and is compared to the body and spirit in scriptures:
Overall, everything must be in the will of the Most High in order for you to obtain them.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). This is a great verse to revel in when you inevitably began to get within your darker emotions and feelings and began to burden yourself with whether or not you are doing enough through righteous living and good deeds. Now, one should strive to genuinely do these things but should not mistake this as being enough to gain salvation. Through maturity, knowledge and understanding, one will learn that the gift of eternal life and salvation is worth working towards; worth living for.
That same knowledge, understanding, and maturity will point out that one does not receive grace because of who they are or solely based on the good acts they continuously do, but just because of grace by itself and what grace means. Grace is not earned but is always freely given. We have the power and ability to give genuine grace to others and the Most High through Christ gives us grace on the daily. The difference is that a person’s grace may run out due to principles, error, and emotions, but the Most High’s grace remains constant- as long as you have breath to witness the grace.
Although grace is freely given and one does not have to work for grace, there is such thing as praying for grace. On top of this, one should not believe that just because grace is provided that they do not have to produce anything at all. No. One still has to put in work and vehemently work towards the kingdom as all that we do should be for the Lord and the kingdom.
So one should not sit and twiddle thumbs thinking they can leisurely or passively let life go by. You still have to show the Lord you are always down for Him as He is for you. You still have to use all that He has given you- talents, gifts, abilities, blessings, and your entire life itself to do service towards the kingdom. We must work and build for the Lord on the foundation that has already been laid for us.
Accordingly, 1 Corinthians 3:9-15 states:
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building;
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon; but let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon;
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ;
Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is;
If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward;
If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
So, by grace are we saved, but we still have WORK to do!!
We all want good things and circumstances in our lives. Though we are prone to suffering because it is the effect of the fall of mankind, we really don’t embrace it too well many times. The saying goes, “you are what you think;” “you can have whatever you think you can have;” “what you want will materialize.” In this current century, people from all walks of life are engrossed on the principle of the “Law of Attraction.” If you’re going through hard times, now the cure is “think positive.” If you need extra money, “think positive.” If you’re having a bad day, “think positive.” You need a new job? Well, “think positive.” Personally, this quick band-aid phrase though meant for good, has been quite overused as a quick attempt to show how one has evolved spiritually and because it’s supposed to be the phrase that’s “in,” I guess. It has gotten rather annoying. But shouldn’t we always be thinking positively? Shouldn’t we always be having good thoughts? Of course. The famous scripture before the theory of the “Law of Attraction” was coined states;
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). Again we read, “for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7).
We are created to thrive in good and positive settings; environments where love and peace are fostered and maintained. Things just go wrong when you stand on the principle that everything is going to be fine, if you just think positive.
If this is the sole principle we should stand on then why do bad things still happen when you thought positive, I mean things still go wrong in your life even sometimes after you thought positive and prayed hard.
One, we cannot control everything in our lives, no matter how hard many want to believe this. We are given control over our lives as a gift and free will, but you cannot and do not control everything in your life.
Two, many use the “law of attraction” alone without having other backing principles. What happens after you have continuously thought positive? What do you do in between thinking positive, other than “think positive?”
This is when the truth of the Most High, which can never be made into a lie comes in. Scriptures inform us to walk by faith; pursue righteousness and holiness; pray without ceasing; ask; and speak things into existence:
So, “no,” the “Law of Attraction” does not stand alone. God’s principles are complete and work when applied in it’s entirety. Shortcuts and incomplete philosophies cannot be applied and will only get you so far.
Just because God is doing a new thing in your life and you are building on new ground does not mean the start will be a bed of roses- you cannot put new wine into old wine bottles.
There is new foundation to be built because you cannot build on old foundation; it must be on new, solid ground so that the foundation and structure is everlasting. This means that things (you and all areas of your life) will have to be broken up and shaken up in order to make the end result a sure thing.
“No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse; and no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles” (Mark 2:21-22).
God promises us in His Word that He will strengthen, stablish, and settle us
(1 Peter 5:10) and that He knows our end from our beginning; having an expected end for us (Jeremiah 29:11).
He intends to give us a beautiful, new path with great promise, but the building of that new path and the process it takes to get there will be bittersweet.
The Living God will put you through circumstances and situations in life that will no doubt teach you how to encourage yourself in Him. Some may think, “wait, I already know how to encourage myself; I do this all the time; I’ve been encouraging myself since I was a child.” While all this may be true, there is a distinct difference between encouraging yourself and encouraging yourself in the Lord.
Encouraging yourself in the Lord basically means to trust in God. It means to go through (not around) circumstances knowing that God is with you and that you are not alone. You simply can’t trust in yourself because with the self comes all of the fleshy burdens that will weigh you down through your trials- ego, pride, stubbornness, lack of trust, fears and doubts, insecurities, negative thought patterns, etc.
When you encourage yourself in God, you are remembering the past blessings and great favors God did for you when you really needed Him to. The miracles that came upon you even when you didn’t pray for them. The times He shielded you from shame and humiliation and blessed you openly to affirm that you are the apple of His eye.
The practice usually comes at a point when you are alone, tired, beaten, stressed, frustrated, and in all types of confusion. Usually people have given up on you and you have given up on yourself. You really don’t feel like pressing forward, but you know you have to because you are still alive and the spirit that dwells in you will not allow you to quit. You know at this point that you cannot trust in man or yourself because after all, if trust in man or yourself worked, you would not still be in this predicament in the first place.
We all should learn to encourage ourselves in the Lord. It is not something that happens overnight, but indeed a process that takes wisdom, maturity and growth.
“It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man; it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes,” Psalm 118:8-9.
I ENCOURAGE YOU TO ENCOURAGE YOURSELF IN THE LORD