“To attack on all sides; assail to trouble greatly or grievously; to afflict with mental or physical suffering; harass:”
This is the definition of the verb, “BESET.” Now before you write it off as some old, antiquated term(AKA King James Version), let’s dive deeper into it’s meaning.
Attacked on all sides…Do you ever feel like you are being attacked at every turn? That no matter what you do you seem to come up short in your struggle?
Troubled greatly or grievously…Are you or have you ever been so bothered by something that you can not rest or sleep? It even produces anxiety and it causes anxiety and unsettledness in your soul!
Harass…Have you ever been so afflicted by something that it causes you mental and physical distress?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions then you understand the term BESET!
Let me speak for myself when I say, I understand this old, antiquated term BESET quite well!
For the majority of my adult life I have woken up every morning and started with the best of intentions on a healthy eating and exercise plan. Only to fall short over and over again, sometimes on the daily! Now this may or may not be a “BESETTING” sin for many of you. But for me it is a matter of self-control. I give it to God regularly and then take it back on my own almost as regularly!
So is it hopeless or is there a way to gain victory over a BESETTING sin?
Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
There is good news, it is not hopeless!
The only bad news comes when it is hopeless because you keep relying on yourself!
Leave it to God to give us the solution in the next verse!
“Fixing our eyes on JESUS, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:2
TAKE YOUR EYES OFF YOURSELF AND PUT THEM ON JESUS FOR THE VICTORY!
When you are walking in the presence of Jesus, full of His spirit, you will have all of the fruit of His Spirit! And for me, that includes self control! What fruit of the spirit do you need Jesus to give you the victory for?
Starting and failing, does anyone have a problem with that like I do?
I have the best of intentions to get up early every morning and spend an hour with God before I start my day.
I have a perfect plan for my healthy eating to start and stay on track.
I have prepared my mat for pilates in the morning to stretch my body and clear my mind.
I have scheduled time in the late afternoon to get my cardio in before sunset.
I have bought the book and signed on the dotted line to begin that new bible study.
I have visited the bookstore (yes, an actual brick and mortar store) and paid for the book to read that will provide me with mental stimulation while I relax.
The list goes on and on, and repeats itself over and over as I START AND FAIL AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN!
Is it time to throw in the towel? Do I need to wake up and smell the coffee? Am I destined to defeat? NO, NO, and absolutely NOT!
“NO, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.“
Romans 8:37 NIV
In the NLT it says it this way;
“NO, despite all these things, OVERWHELMING VICTORY is ours through Christ, who loved us.”
Now that is something I want to grab hold of! Overwhelming victory is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord. Then why do I start and fail over and over again?
The why is in the I! Every statement of attempt at a new start above, I began with I!
I have prepared, I have bought, I have visited…..I, I, I!
On my own, I can not accomplish it. The victory is mine through Christ Jesus who loves me. He loves me so much that He died for me! Through His death I have the VICTORY!
Just take a look at the passages from Romans 8 that come right before verse 37.
Is there ANYTHING that can separate us from God’s Love? What if we have trouble, distress, disaster, disillusionment, discouragement or DEFEAT? Defeat that causes us to start again and again!
“NO, despite all these things overwhelming VICTORY is ours through Christ Jesus who loved us.” Romans 8:37
VICTORY IS OURS THROUGH CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD NO MATTER WHAT!
True failure is in giving up and not trying. No matter how many times you have to “Start,” He is right there with you encouraging you to victory! Turn your “I” into a “He” and see the victories add up!
I like to think of myself as a flexible, adaptable person. I can jump into most “new” situations with little to no anxiety. I enjoy learning something new, visiting places I’ve never been, eating foods I’ve never tasted, being introduced to people I’ve never met before and even attempting a language I’ve never spoken before! But ask me to change my Christmas morning from presents, coffee and sour cream coffee cake in Christmas Jammie’s, to stockings and a formal sit down, dressed in your Christmas best breakfast and I become the Rock of Gibraltar! “Thou Shall Not Be Moved!”
Whether change comes easy to you or you have already broken into a cold sweat just thinking about it, change is hard! It requires us to let go of something to take hold of something else. In letting go we feel loss, vulnerability and fear. In grabbing hold of something new we feel similar. The new brings fear of the unknown and complete vulnerability in embracing and learning the new.
The problem is we do not grow if we do not change.
God desires us to grow, and in order to grow we must change!
One of the most painful seasons of change I have ever observed was watching my grandson learn to ride a bike! He is hands-down the most coordinated, gifted and natural athlete I have ever seen! Therefore, my husband, his Papa, who adores him and loves nothing more in life than doing activities with him, set out on a quest to teach him to ride a bike! His sister who is 2 1/2 years older had mastered the bike at a very young age! But her brother was not following in her footsteps. Papa bought him a new bike just his size, he bought him all of the padded gear necessary so he wouldn’t hurt himself, and set out instructing him on all the finer points of bike riding! Cade would have nothing to do with it. Weekend after weekend Papa bribed him, I mean told him he would reward him, if he would just try riding. Cade wasn’t bending! Papa coerced him saying that he and his sister were going to go on a long bike ride, didn’t he want to come too! Cade stubbornly refused to ride the bike and ran the entire bike ride along side the two of them! Papa never gave up offering him money if he would ride etc. etc. etc…a whole year went by and Cade out grew the first bike! When the size of the bike became his excuse he received a new one for his birthday! His dad worked with him holding the back of the bike seat and showing him all kinds of strategies! It was still incredibly painful to watch as Cade could not overcome his fear of letting go of something old and embracing something new!
Now before you go and write us off as torturers or something, please know that we know Cade. We knew he was more than capable of balancing on and riding a bike! His fear and vulnerability had just taken deep route and was consuming him.
Now you’ve probably already guessed the end of my story. The minute Cade decided to let go of his fear and embrace the new he took off like a light! It’s true, that’s exactly what happened and he’s never looked back!
Do you ever do that? I know I do! I can feel so comfortable and in control of where I’m at that the thought of letting go and embracing something new chills me to the bone.
If Cade would have done that he would never have learned to ride a bike! And if we do that, we will never grow and become the children God intends us to be!
GOD INTENDS FOR US TO CHANGE BECAUSE HE INTENDS FOR US TO GROW!
“Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature.”
Change is essential for our spiritual growth! It is frightening and difficult but we do not have to do it alone!
Just like Cade’s Father and Grandfather held onto him until they could let go and he could do it on his own, your Heavenly Father will hold onto you!
It’s September, school has started and they’ve released pumpkin spice lattes again and we are in the middle of a heat wave. In California right now there are record breaking high temperatures, severe heat warnings, and days on end with no relief! You cannot even escape to Newport Beach where they are known for their moderate temperatures and even they are in the 90’s! Lake Tahoe and Mammoth, the same!
The heat wave will end, as miserable as it is, and the cooler temperatures will come.
So, why do I mention it? I mention it because it is our human nature to long for something better. To anticipate change when we think it should come. And unfortunately, to grow weary in the waiting.
I have shared with you before that Summer and heat are not my jam. So, the extension of it when Fall is anticipated, is hard to handle. I long for those crisp morning walks, with leaves turning, sweaters worn, and a hot pumpkin spice latte being sipped.
Now, if you love Summer and the heat is your friend, then put yourself in the month of February with the temperatures still in the low 30’s! You long for a morning walk without your puffy coat. The warm sunshine streaming through the tree branches and filling you with joy and happiness. Either way, my point is made, we long for something better.
We want COVID to become a word we faintly remember hearing once or twice in the past. We want that relationship healed that seems to have been severed for so long. We want that job we have longed for to become a reality. We want that child we have prayed for to come back to Jesus. We want that loved one(or ourselves), healed from that sickness. We want that dream to become a reality. More than anything else, we want that promise from God fulfilled!
Waiting is one of the most difficult things we face in life. You don’t believe me? Think about the last time you stood in line anywhere. You may have reacted in one of several different ways. You may have stood there in perfect calm and peace focusing your mind on something else until the line moved and you finally reached the front of it. If so, you should be writing this Blog, not me! Most likely you sighed heavily, rolled your eyes and stepped into the line as you accepted your fate of WAITING! If you were having a bad day, you might have uttered a few choice words and turned and walked away. There was no way you were going to wait. At your best you might have chosen to use the opportunity to show goodwill and accept your fate of a slow moving, long line, and let the person in front of you go first. This may have calmed you a bit, but the frustration of waiting still loomed.
We do not like waiting. We want what we want and we want it now!
So, when God calls us to wait and endure, what do we do?
Recently, in one of my morning readings I found the answer…
We GO, ENDURE, and TRUST again and again and again!
I’m sure that is not the answer you were looking for. But, that is the answer God gives through His prophet Elijah.
“He (Elijah), said to his servant, “Go up and look toward the sea.” So he went up, looked and said, “There’s nothing.” Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” I Kings 18:43
They were living through a severe drought and famine. Does anyone else besides me feel a “severe drought” of health, kindness, economy, godly commitment to His Word and Truth?
We must still GO!
God had promised rain but there was no sight of it. Not a single cloud in the sky!
Does anyone else besides me feel dry and weary from the belief that something better is coming but the waiting is leaving me parched?
We must still ENDURE!
They went to look for rain at the edge of the sea, and kept going time after time even when they could see nothing!
God has told us He will never leave us or forsake us. He has promised to hear our every prayer and answer them according to His will. But we have waited, and endured and we grow weary and discouraged.
We still must TRUST!
If God has said it, He will do it! We must walk by FAITH and not by sight!
“Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
God knows we will get tired and grow weary but He is faithful to supply all of our needs if we just keep GOING, ENDURING and TRUSTING!
“On the seventh time, he reported, “There’s a cloud as small as a man’s hand coming up from the sea.” I Kings 18:44
Friends, going, enduring and trusting over and over and over again is HARD!
But our God is FAITHFUL! He is looking for “SERVANTS”, that will listen, look and obey when He tells us to GO, ENDURE and TRUST again and again and again!
When we keep enduring we will begin to feel the drops of rain that He has promised to those who BELIEVE!
FAITH TO ENDURE CAN ONLY COME THROUGH JESUS CHRIST LIVING IN US!