Whether real or perceived we all have times when we are pressed in some way and we become greatly concerned about an impending event or encounter or even the gain or loss of something important. The list of things which could be included in this category is probably innumerable, but it is not infinite.
Last night after dinner we were watching “America’s Funniest Videos” with the kids, and there was one segment where animals were trapped in varying ways in things (from peanut butter jars to clothing) and they were momentarily constrained. As I watched this I felt a pressure come upon me, and I was feeling as if I were constrained myself. I couldn’t watch anymore, so I got up and grabbed a glass of ice water and walked out on the porch. Yesterday was the birthday of someone we love dearly, yet with whom we have a strained relationship due to life choices. Shortly before this happened we found out that this person’s phone number had changed and our birthday messages were not received. Robin, having just received the new number, made a phone call and left a message—not having actually been able to speak directly. As this event was occurring with me the phone rang, and it was that special person. Robin talked on the phone, not knowing how I was feeling.
As I stood on the front porch I realized that the real source of this tension, while having physiological symptoms, was really spiritual in nature. I had become so anxious over this strained relationship and some other pending concerns that it affected my body. At that time I spent some time in prayer—casting my anxiety upon God knowing that He knew perfectly what was going on and even what He was going to do, and then feeling greatly relieved I went inside and had my turn on the phone.
It is amazing how paralyzing anxiety can be. This is not something that I really have experienced much to this degree, but I know that there are those who live more of their lives struggling in this area. And I also know that the instructions of Scripture are good and right for those who occasionally struggle with anxiety and those who do so more regularly and even more intensely. No matter the extent, our God is bigger and His power is stronger and His ability to release us from the bonds on anxiety are limitless. In Christ we are made more than conquerors, and this includes over the battles of our mind or the attacks of spiritual oppression by the evil one.
In Ephesians we are told to stand strong, and our ability to do so is found in being properly attired in Christ.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:10–17, NASB95)
“Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:15–17, NASB95)
As Moses and the Lord both told Joshua numerous times (Deuteronomy 31:6,6,23; Joshua 1:6,7,9), “be strong and courageous.” “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9, NASB95)
I read this yesterday several times, but waited on it….
Today in “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young (8/18)
Expect to encounter adversity in your life, remembering that you live in a deeply fallen world. Stop trying to find a way that circumvents difficulties. The main problem with an easy life is that it masks your need for Me. When you became a Christian, I infused My very Life into you, empowering you to live on a supernatural plane by depending on Me.
Anticipate coming face-to-face with impossibilities: situations totally beyond your ability to handle. This awareness of your inadequacy is not something you should try to evade. It is precisely where I want you – the best place to encounter Me in My Glory and Power. When you see armies of problems marching toward you, cry out to Me! Allow Me to fight for you. Watch Me working on your behalf, as you rest in the shadow of My Almighty Presence.
After this I heard what sounded like the roar of a great multitude in heaven shouting: “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God,…” Revelation 19:1