Sunday, March 27, 2011

Into the Valley

"So the Philistines and Israelites faced each other on opposite hills, with the valley between them"
(1 Samuel 17:3).

I have been accused of being a lot of things in my life.  However, I have never, and I mean never, been accused of being a "neat freak."  I'm sure many wish that I were!  Not too long ago, God really begin to show me some things about myself in that area.  My car had become a leading contender for the "Fred Sanford Memorial Museum Award."  For those of you were born after the the 70's and 80's, you might need to ask somebody what that means!  My car was a wreck!!  I knew that it needed to be cleaned.  I was embarrassed anytime someone would come close to it.  I would park farther away, and when it called for it, would hide as much "stuff" in the trunk as I possibly could.  It just seemed like such an ordeal to clean.  The problem was not cleaning the car, but getting started.  It was as if I were on one mountain and the idea of cleaning the car were on the other with this great valley in between.  Finally, I surrendered to God on this area that I had monopolized much of my ability to live free.  I cleaned the car!  Procrastination in dealing with the tough issues of life is something that most people can relate to.

On a different scale, this is what Israel was also facing.  They were on one mountain and the Philistine army was on the other mountain.  God had called them to victory, but they had allowed intimidation to overwhelm them.  They had listened for days and weeks on end from the giant, Goliath, how inferior they were, how defeated they were, and how they would soon become the slaves of the Philistine people.  So, here were two armies standing on opposite hills with a valley in between.  There is a perceived safety on the mountain top.  There is security in knowing that a valley separates you from your opposition.  Rarely are battles fought on the mountain top, and if they are, the momentum is usually with the defenders of that mountain, because it would be an "uphill battle" for the other side.  If you desire victory in your life, you must leave the hillside and trek into the valley, depend upon the God of your salvation, and defeat that giant that has sought to rob you of your victory!

For me, as I'm sure for others, one of the physical battles in my life has been self-control, especially in the area of food.  I had camped out on the hills for too long.  What I had always wanted was waiting for me.  I would never be able to acquire it until I set out into the valley and do what needed to be done.  In the last six months, I have experienced the pains of battle.  The habits of the flesh is an enemy that seeks hard to win, but the God of my salvation, the strength of my heart, strengthens me, and has given me victory down in the valley!

Victory is never going to "just happen."  It will be the result of a battle that is fought and won.  Be encouraged today.  Don't wait for the battle to appear any easier.  It never will.  Your giant is shouting and declaring lies of inferiority, intimidation, and defeat.  Turn your ears to the Lord who reminds that you "can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!"  "You are victorious, more than a conqueror!"  Follow God into the valley today, depend upon Him, and live in the victory that you have been designed for!

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