Devotional—The Struggle of Sanctification—Preparing for the Unexpected is Possible
Achieving optimal health takes discipline and concerted effort. For the mind and body to maintain homeostasis, we must intentionally choose healthy foods, avoid unnecessary distractions, push ourselves to move our bodies [walking is simple with great results] and get sufficient rest. While our best efforts do not guarantee a life without illnesses or disease, at least our Immune system has the strength and resilience to effectively fight against the unexpected onset of sickness. And for those with chronic illnesses, we must care for our bodies like newborn babes to prevent a sudden onset of illness from escalating into a health crisis.
So that covers the human body’s mental, emotional, and physical components. But how do we achieve optimal spiritual growth and development? And how can we prepare for unexpected suffering?
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
First, we acknowledge that our lives will include unexpected hardships that we cannot control or prevent. The way to prepare for the unexpected is to maintain a strong relationship with Jesus Christ every day. Sadly, when peaceful times are present, many become lax in their commitment to daily worship [prayer and study of the Scriptures].
“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3).
God gives every person the spiritual gift of a little faith. Most of us find it easier to use faith [and trust] in the secular activities of daily living as opposed to using our faith spiritually. We have faith the employer will give us our salary on time, the business transactions we engage in are legitimate, and we certainly rely on faith and trust in our marital and family relationships. Yet, we falter when faced with spiritual battles because our relationship with Christ is inconsistent, which results in having little to no faith and trust in God.
“But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
FTO: Faith, Trust, and Obedience are the keys to spiritual preparation for the unexpected. Faith and trust in God are daily spiritual activities that require intentional practice and strenuous human effort. Each of us can testify of the raging internal war of giving in to sinful desires versus obedience to God’s will and plans for our lives. Obedience requires constant prayer and rebuking our heart’s desires to avoid temptation.
Our minds can be trained to focus on Jesus. Reflecting on our past challenges and victories reminds us that God’s Divine Intervention always brings us victory.
Faith and trust in God give us the confidence and courage to keep moving forward. It doesn’t matter if our circumstances appear impossible. They are impossible for human resolution. Yet, we are not anxious or worried. Jesus promises us peace in peaceful times as well as unexpected storms when we maintain our connection to Him. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Humility, the Fruit of Obedience: The character trait of humility requires us to fight against our carnal nature—our carnal desires are always self-centered. Jesus lived to please God, His Father. Christ prayed daily, “Not my will, but Your will be done.” Praying the prayer of humility changes our posture before God. A humble heart acknowledges God’s omnipotence by giving Him reverence, honor, and glory. Not only do we receive the anointing, power, and presence of the Holy Spirit who gives us wisdom, discernment, and strength, God promises when, “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17).
Stay in Jesus’ presence by abiding in Him through unceasing prayer, and learn God’s promises which reinforce our faith. Remember, our spiritual connection is kept active 24/7 by the Holy Spirit unless we choose to turn away from God.
Prayer: God, we thank You for the Spiritual Team of the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and our guardian angels who are ready to comfort, heal, and deliver us from the unexpected hardships of life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.