The Other Side of the Coin
See Matthew 6:9-13 (click here to read)
In the first of this three-part series (click here to read) I said that Jesus gave us a prayer to pray which he fully intends to answer when we pray with diligence and faith. God wants us to live a blessed life, in terms of provision, healthy relationships and overall goodness.
In the second part (click here to read), my main point was that if God wants us to have a blessed life, then every single obstacle that prevents us from living this kind of life must be treated as an enemy! We must resist the enemy, whether it is within (sin) or without (the devil or the world).
Now, I must make some pastoral comments about what the blessed life is. The blessed life is first and foremost an internal life. What do I mean by that? I simply mean that we can live in the blessing of God’s goodness even in those seasons when our circumstances might be screaming the opposite!
Let me give you an example: This past Sunday we were visiting a church led by friends of ours. This church is at the moment experiencing some low grade persecution and some difficulties with their location. In spite of these real struggles, we were blown away by the joy, peace and love that were evident in the church meeting and our fellowship afterwards. Even though the external circumstances might indicate real difficulties the internal attitude of the congregation was, “We are blessed!”
How did this church get to this place? Ever since we met these pastors and this congregation eight years ago, we have noticed an increase in a hunger for God. This church is passionately pursuing God’s kingdom. Their worship is deep, they’re praying is heartfelt and their preaching is intense and prophetic. They are a prayerful church with many prayer meetings during the week. They are feasting on the Lord and seeking for his kingdom to come, therefore they are experiencing love, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit.
The apostle Paul makes this statement in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” The immediate context (read Philippians 4 here) of that verse is actually Paul’s suffering. He is saying here that he is actually able to rejoice in the goodness of God even in lack because it is God who gives him the strength to do so. God gives strength to our friends as they endure hardship because they are given to hotly pursuing God and his kingdom. An important point to make here is that hardship was coming to the apostle Paul and to our friends’ church because of persecution, not because they were entertaining or rationalizing evil.
Friends, together let us pursue God and his kingdom with all of our hearts! We will reap the benefits of internal well-being and blessedness. We will also see victory in our external circumstances as we overcome the evil one.