“20 See, I am sending an angel before you to protect you on your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you. 21 Pay close attention to him and obey his instructions. Do not rebel against him, for he is my representative, and he will not forgive your rebellion. 22 But if you are careful to obey him, following all my instructions, then I will be an enemy to your enemies, and I will oppose those who oppose you.”
“Sometimes I just want to give up! Nothing in my life is easy! Every time I turn around, there’s another hurdle to jump through.”
Can you sense the frustration and disappointment in the statement above? Sometimes, the Christian journey isn’t easy. There can be jubilant highs and gut-wrenching lows. There are hurdles to jump through, and many trials and tribulations to overcome. These are all a part of life’s journey. But somehow, many individuals think that believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are exempt from challenges and adversities. We are not. The difference between those that have made Jesus Christ their personal Lord and Savior and those that have not is the victory that he offers us through our faith! 1John 5:4(NLT) declares this! It states, “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.”
You may feel as though you’re on the losing side, but this is where faith comes in. We must trust that God set up our journeys in Christ to be victorious and triumphant, not downtrodden and powerless. When we’re struggling to believe this, God commands us to renew our minds so that feelings of defeat and sadness are not our go-to emotions. He wants us to replace these with faith and confidence in Him.
Our struggle begins when we believe that we must strive to be good enough and that we must force ourselves to have confidence. Jesus Christ tells us in John 6:63(NLT), “The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” He’s teaching us the difference between the realm of the flesh and the realm of the Spirit. You and I didn’t save ourselves from the bondage of death and darkness, there was no way we could have possibly done this. Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Through the finished work of his sacrifice and resurrection, God has set us free through His beloved and powerful Son.
He tells us Galatians 5:1(NIV), “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” This means that we’re to abandon the mindset of trying to make ourselves right and lay hold of the mindset of accepting God’s way of making us right through Jesus Christ. We are spiritual beings, and our new way of responding to God and life is through His Spirit.
God teaches us many spiritual lessons about His provision, protection, and power through the Children of Israel in the Old Testament. We see His faithfulness and His desire for a family. And we also see how God expects us to behave as members of His family. He is our Heavenly Father, and He commands us to lean totally and completely on Him for everything. In Proverbs 3:5-6(NLT), He instructs, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” So, even in our emotions and feelings, Heavenly Father expects us to make them submissive to our faith in Him.
We can learn a lot in the Old Testament from the mistakes His people made when they didn’t trust Him. They witnessed God part the Red Sea to rescue them from slavery under the Egyptians. He rained manna from heaven to feed them, and when they complained about the manna, He caused a wind to bring quails to them from the sea. In the wilderness, He split open rocks and caused water to burst forth like a spring. The miracles God showed them were too numerous to count, but even with all His miraculous works, they still did not remain faithful. With everything that Heavenly Father did for them, they were not totally convinced of His love and power.
You and I can be assured that witnessing God’s miracles doesn’t necessarily cause our minds and hearts to change towards Him. This is a tremendous lesson for us to learn. Jesus Christ commands us in Mark 12:30 to love God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. This means that we are to love our Heavenly Father with all that we are. This kind of love comes from Jesus Christ, and it is not dependent on the wonderful things that God does; it is dependent on the reality of who God is. We must love Him because He is the ‘Great I Am!’ He’s holy beyond holiness, brilliance beyond brilliant, perfect beyond perfection, and majestic beyond majesty. He is worthy to be praised because He is who He is. This is the truth on which our faith must be anchored.
This race that you and I are running in life is the race that God has set before us. We didn’t set it, He did. Our lives belong to Him. He knows every detail, experience, and encounter in our lives before these things occur. In Exodus 23:20, God shows us that He will even send His angels ahead of us to protect us, and He will keep our feet from falling while we’re running this race of life, but we must trust Him and He will not force us to do so. Everything we do, think, feel, and say is completely up to us. We are the ones to determine whether we will walk in the victory of Christ based on the choices and decisions we make. God desires that we choose Him and His Word every time. He desires us to walk in the victory of Christ so that we will not be defeated by the tricks of the enemy. He wants us to know that we will outsmart the devil by thinking, speaking, and behaving like Christ, and having the kind of faith that Christ has.
Notice also in Exodus 23:20 that God tells His people that He had prepared a place for them. When He told them this thousands of years ago, He was referring to the Promised Land. But because of what God accomplished for us in Christ, we can walk in the Promised Land every day because God has set us free! We need to focus on the reality of who God is more than we focus on our emotions and feelings. We should never want it said about us that we value our emotions and feelings more than we value the truth of God’s Word.
It’s a mistake to think that God can’t relate to the troubling times we face on earth as His Children. He absolutely does, and He tells us in Romans 8:37 that He’s made us more than conquerors over those things through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Many of us have a pattern of relying on how we feel, and we allow this to govern us, but feeling low, sad, and defeated is not the place God has prepared for us. He wants us to put all our trust on the reality of who He is. He is faithful and has all power in His hands. When we trust in the totality of His goodness, grace, and mercy, He will go before us and lead us every step of the way. He will handle those that talk about us and try to cause us trouble, as we have confidence that victory in Christ will always be our destination when we continue to place all our trust in God.■
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
“The Place God Has Prepared for Us”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!