For years, I have been fighting a spiritual battle in the thought life of my mind. If you have face troubles then you should know that "no trouble or strife of life has been conceived except from fears and lies that have settle in the heart and minds of a person." In other words, any trouble or strife in life begins either in the mind or being stirred in the soul. The mind is where all the thoughts are being conceived and it works closely with the deepest wills and emotions that comes from the soul, and whenever a thought (mind) and an emotion (soul) comes into agreement, it will come to pass in the reality of life (as an action or event). It's interesting that whenever I try to grapple with truths in the Word of God, thoughts of lies are also sown into my mind as well, but I'm glad that the Lord has given us the victory and I would like to share with you the key to also receive the victory for your thought life. Therefore, it is of great importance to guard our minds from the thoughts of lies so that it is possible to surrendering every fear to our Heavenly Father just by believing in the truth from the Word of God - Peace for our minds, and rest for our souls, so that soaring above the storms are possible. (If you'd like to skip the testimony drop down till the end of the next horizontal line)
With that, I want to recount a time when I have seen myself being trapped once in the lies (mind) that I used to believe and hence arises strong emotions of fears and anxiety, along with the working of the events that follow. I had a fear of losing everything that was close to me - particularly my family; people that I love, and it started with my parent's will that I should get a driving license. Now in my mind, the thought on the cost of maintaining a car in Singapore is already very costly and I've had doubts about my confidence of handling the wheel prticularly to ensure safety on the road for me and my family. Expectations: My father was a class 5 driver and we were able to afford a car (even until now, which seems to amaze me), and my younger sister had already obtained her license from the same driving school (CDC @ Ubi) so I urged by the encouragement of my parents to also take up driving lessons in the hopes that I will pass the test. My mind wasn't at rest because my soul has been stirring within me as I believe that: it is better for me to learn the directions and getting around the roads First (which was not taught in driving school unfortunately) and Then learn to drive, because Navigation alone on the ever changing roads of Singapore (thanks to road works), was already a hurdle to face without even considering the need to find a parking lot and possibilities of delay due to traffic congestion. I've also believe that public transport has always been safer (and has usually been) and preferred than the convenience of having a car to get to places at leisure. Still even after weighing the odds of my hopes and fears (which outweigh my hopes), I was reluctant but yet compelled to pursue a driving license as it will bring consolation to my parents and that I could be someone they could lean on in any time that they need a driver, because at that time, it was a need of a driver with the car we had, especially if my sister was working on that day. - Now are these truths? No, but they are facts of life (as with Murphy's Law - anything that can go wrong will go wrong), yes because it is a possibility of an event that can occur, thus we need to consider precautions to prevent these things from happening. Yet, things happen and do not happen by the mercy and grace of our God.
Ever known the weight of responsibility? Yes, this is what I'm talking about - before my father went home with the Lord, I expressed my deepest fears before him about failure in the tests of life and it is because of this fear that has always motivated me to work harder (I am indeed a hard worker), but fear in itself if not overcome, the storms of life will always be overwhelm us, like fighting a battle that already has been lost. My dad, knowing me very well, spoke to me gently "Be patient with myself because he has seen how I've grown up as a eager learner but made errors that are uncommon to man, thus setting me back ahead from others, but he knows that I will succeed one day as long as I am patient and learn to forgive myself along the way."
Was there strife along the way? Sure, I had expressed my beliefs and fears to my parents on the matter even and it always turn into a disagreement, because anger always conceals fears and is the best way to show strong disapproval on any matter, as I felt not ready, and resent the thought of driving and being responsible for the safety of my family if not for witnessing car wrecks before my eyes on the road while taking a bus down to the driving centre. There was indeed no peace in my heart and therefore no rest for my soul.
Yet, Jesus said, "All things are possible to those who believe", believing is tested by the need of patience, which is birth forth from the "Rest for your souls." (where all emotional turbulences come from". This Rest can only be found by believing (in the soul) and being reminded (thoughts of mind) of the assuring and steadfast love of God that never fails even when we fail. The testimonies for our lives are evidences to remind us of His faithfulness, because we do sink like Peter even after obeying the command of Jesus "Come!" to get out of the boat to walk to Jesus on the waters, and denying Him before man is still possible because of the fear of men to take our lives. Do we grieve Him when we don't believe His words? Yes, certainly. Yet, Jesus reassured Peter that his denial has not broken the trust that Jesus have on the ministry that of Peter to establish His church ("feed my lambs and tend my sheep"); For I am convinced that niether death nor life, niether angels nor demons, niether the present nor the future, nor any powers, nor any height no depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39) If it is true even for Peter, what about you of little faith?
So how do we rise above Murphy's Law (the possble realities of life)? Murphy's Law includes sickness, loss, accidents and tragedies of our lives that could happen to ourselves or any of our loved ones. These thoughts definitely work us in fear to do something about the situation, but any course of action that is not of faith but of fear will result in calamity, that's for sure. Fear is faith on the facts of life and the lies of the deceiver. Yet, thanks be to the grace of God, "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)
The strategy then is:
1. Do not be anxious about anything, 2. but in every situation, by prayer and petition (casting of cares unto HIm), with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 3. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, 4. whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. (Philippians 4:8). Do not be anxious about anything, because Time is in the hands of God, so it is best to put our confidence in the mercy and grace that has been given to ask (to us), we can rejoice again knowing that we have a great high priest (Jesus) seated at the right hand of the Father, ever willing to intercede for our behalf, because Jesus has won for us the favour of the God of the universe; let us therefore come bodly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy in times of need. And likewise to Meditate on the promises of God so that we may believe and remain in His rest.
To be honest, I like to do it with the covenant meal (the Lord's supper), because it's such a blessing that you and I can be a part of His grace and promise, and a reminder of our coming Lord and Saviour in the time to come. It is important that we remind ourselves that the Son, Jesus Christ has came to reconcile us back to God the Father by bearing the consequence of disobedience: Surely we have considered him striken by God, wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities so that the chasticement for our peace fell upon Him. It was all done so that we were once enemies of God are now adopted as Sons and daughters (just wow, what great peace we have - God is now on our side). And that we can know of our Father as it was revealed to Moses and David: "the Lord our God who is compassionate and merciful, slow to anger, demonstrating and abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin, by offering up His only Son as the lamb for the atonement of our sins." (Exodus 34:6-8; Psalms 145)
Yet, the Holy Spirit pleads for us (in Hebrews 3 and 4) that we should work "as long as it is called today" to remain in his promise of rest, because the Father of lies comes to sow seeds into our thoughts that God is still willing to judge us and thus distort our perception of a compassionate and merciful God, and causing us to turn to unbelief and thus revoking the promise of the finished work of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we have to remind each other (those we love) that our peace and rest is found in Jesus (our great high priest who has walked in every way being tempted like we did, yet blameless before the Father) and His finished work to bring about our peace to God, in which the Israelites hardened their hearts because they turned back to the life of Egypt (if only they had food in egypt - garlics, etc...) and would rather die in the wilderness. (they got what they wanted eventually). It is a scary thought that they who worked under slavery wanted their master pharoah to be Lord over them.
It is so powerful to know that the God of Peace (the Holy Spirit) will soon crush Satan under our feet. (Romans 16:20) happens when we believe (with our heart - that is mind and soul in agreement) that we stand on victory ground and the battle has been won by the Lord. Such a supernatural peace that transcends beyond all understanding that even the Father of lies cannot interject lies into our minds to disturb the peace and rest for our souls. Remember Jesus went to forgive sins, and the Pharisees couldn't believe it that Jesus was God who can forgive sins (because none of the prophets ever forgave sins), yet at the crucifixion He became sin by knowing our inquities (which are sins in the heart), because he loves us, therefore He had to come to the full knowledge of the wickedness of the heart of man - sin and rebellion that keeps testing on the mercy of God, knowing how much it grieved our Lord Jesus and our heavenly Father, he sweat drops of blood. And yes, even we believers grieve the Holy Spirit, but it's just amazing how we are still alive and living, when it can only be by the grace and mercy of our Father. That's really the power of His forgiveness for our disobedience, isn't it? Since we have found such favour and grace in His sight, all the more should we plead for the cause of others (forgive them) and not grieve the Spirit of God by unbelieving His finished work and the promises that are freely given to us by the price of His Son. Because He has the power to harden our hearts in unbelief if we continue in unbelief like the Israelites did by testing the mercy of God in the wilderness.
Now back to my driving story...
I came to know that patience and forgiveness towards myself for my failures and even my parents, sibilings and friends (70x7 times, that's a plenty), is ultimately the only way to know how deep and wide, to understand how much God has forgiven us even when we disobey Him grieve Him painfully, a parent towards a child, yet His love never fails, and great is His faithfulness towards us. (it's really an amazing and enduring love) Oh, I thank you Lord for your patience towards me, for had I not known how good You are to me, I would die in unbelief (being unsaved), but Your mercies are always new every morning (not yesterday's mercies like today and today's mercy like tomorrow), and that you will do a new thing everyday with whatever I have in my hand. Today, I have finally obtained my license after my 3rd attempt of driving test and passed, I have my driver's license :D All glory to Him!
(will add pic of my license next week)