I promised at the end of my last posting, "The Overcomer" that the next essay would be about the rewards, but before I post that, there is a subject I want to touch on that is great revelation!! Or it is to me, and it came while ministering to my youngest daughter ( 27 ) who has been harassed by a spirit of fear and anxiety for several weeks now. These are tough to conquer because they're very effective, and a great weapon against people who are not given to sin and are pursuing their faith. In the gospels, Jesus admonishes his disciples, in situations where anybody with any good sense would be terrified, to quit being afraid! After speaking to the woman who had been healed from her bleeding disorder, He spoke to the synagogue leader whose only daughter had just died according to a messenger who had approached them at that moment, and said " Do not be seized with fear and alarm!" That's precisely what this spirit does; it seizes a person with fear while the mind is flooded with the possibility of doom and disaster! It's a great tool of the enemy and I've watched it work and heard testimony ( Rod Parsley, for one!) from tough, strong leaders in the faith who have dealt with it! The good news is that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil! There has to be deliverance, but then there's a subsequent battle of the mind that all Christians, if they are to be Overcomers, must fight!
What appears to be a totally unimaginative title for a website article is actually more homage to these wonderful verses than lack of creativity. I have read these scriptures many times both as a cohesive narrative, and as a basket of great verses to pick from, a couple of which I'll introduce in a bit, but rarely have I been as impacted with a couple of verses as I was recently by Isaiah 30-31. Ordinarily I'll read the Bible with my " Holy Hat " on, siding easily with Moses and Samuel, David and Josiah, and the other faith greats,recoiling at the faithlessness and overall knuckleheadedness of the Hebrews! On occasion, aided by the Holy Spirit, I'm sure, I'll read the Bible and be in complte identification with the faithless and knuckleheaded, and in awe of or mourning my spiritual incompatibility with the great spiritual leaders. In the recent case of reading these two verses from Isaiah, the prophet is speaking for God, and I was overwhelmed with the impossibility of what God was demanding of the Israelites!
So be subject (placed under authority) to God. Resist (fight against, remain strong against the force or effect) the devil , and he will flee from you. Come close to God and He will come close to you.
We were born into sin. We had already been set apart for service; eternal service to rule and reign. But we appeared on this earth profane, common, and vulgar. The calling to serve was made by a purely righteous, just, and glorious God. This dilemma , the soiled and common associating with the just and righteous, was partially overcome by sacrifice, the shedding of blood by an Innocent on behalf of the guilty. We , who had been set apart or consecrated early on, were then made just; we were justified. We can be sure of these truths because of the painstakingly detailed symbolism of the pattern shown to Moses by which he was to oversee the formation and equipping of the tabernacle.
While we are inundated with a message that tries to convince us of God's availability to bless us and His desire to fulfill our hearts' desire ...according to our ability to believe that God's available to bless us and fulfill our hearts' desire, we need only open our Bible to Acts or Paul's epistles to see either he and the other apostles lacked the faith to surround themselves in luxury and comfort, or we've distorted God's view of blessing. I've been saved for 44 years, baptized in the Holy Spirit for 40- notice I didn't say filled! I wouldn't want to embarrass the Holy Spirit with some of my behavior- and very seriously walking in subjection and obedience to the Father for 20 years. My conclusion is that, as Paul said, our greatest purpose is to know Him and be that we not live, but Christ live in us. For that to happen, we must die to self.