I would like to offer some ideas on how to cope during this uncertain time. When we can’t control our external environment, it is helpful to take control of things we can.
Saw Thousands of Miles, but Can’t See Five Miles
About 350 years ago a shipload of pilgrims landed on the northeast coast of America. In the first year they established a town site. The next year they elected a town government. The third year the town government planned to build a road five miles westward into the wilderness. In the fourth year the people tried to impeach their town government because they thought it was a waste of public funds to build a road five miles westward. They exclaimed…
Who needs to go there anyway?
Here were people who had the vision to see three thousand miles across an ocean, and overcome great hardships to get there. But in just a few years they were not able to see even five miles out of town. They had lost their pioneering vision.
Where there is no vision or prophetic insight, the people lose focus and purpose. (Proverbs 29:18, JHP)
With no spiritual insight of what we can do and/or become in Christ, even the smallest obstacle poses a serious threat to our growth and success.
Count the Stars
Abraham was given the ominous title of The Father of Faith, but not long after leaving his homeland he grew discouraged. That’s when God appears to Abraham and reminds him of the promise that he would be the father of many nations. To which Abraham responds,
“Who me? Look God, You have given me no offspring!” (Genesis 15:3)
But instead of reprimanding Abraham, God brings him out of his tent and points up to the night sky. Then God speaks to Abraham…
“Look up! You’re head’s been down too long. See those stars? I put those there and I’ve named every one of them. And even though you don’t understand or see how it’s possible, those stars represent how many blessings will be in your life.”
Those aren’t just words to Abraham, they are words God is also speaking to us. It’s time for us come out from the things that keep us from seeing His promises. It’s time for us to trust that His promises are just as true to us as they were to Abraham, and everyone else who’s proven God faithful. It’s time for us to shake off spiritual nearsightedness and pioneer again!
STEP No. 1: Feed Your Spirit
“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4, NKJV)
This verse says we cannot live on just food for our body—we need food for our spirit, too. People who level-up spiritually know the reality and severity of the works of the devil and understand the importance of developing a strong spirit to resist him.
How do you feed your spirit? By reading God’s Word. Every. Day.
It’s also vital to know one snack each week (church on Sunday) isn’t enough to sustain us through the trials Jesus told us would come our way (John 16:33). We need daily hot meals to stand on top of every trial in a victory stance.
You must arrange your schedule around the Word instead of trying to make the Word fit into your busy life. That means the Word of God has to become a priority in your life—not something you do in your spare time.
STEP No. 2: Build Your Faith
“David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6, AMPC)
Faith is your responsibility. It isn’t God’s, it isn’t your pastor’s, and it isn’t your spouse’s. The only one who can guarantee that you enjoy a strong faith is YOU. God has given you the tools you need to develop a strong faith—the kind of faith that moves mountains, shuts the mouths of lions, quenches the flames of fire, turns weakness into strength, and puts whole armies to flight.
How do you build that kind of faith? By hearing the Word of God again and again (Romans 10:17). God’s Word is the seed; hearing it again and again is how you water the seed and build faith. Just as with natural muscles, repetition is the key to building strong faith.
Keep your phone loaded with Bible-based podcasts. When you drive to and from work, listen to teaching in your car. When you work out, go on a walk, or take your lunch break, put in your earbuds and feed your spirit.
As you feed your spirit, remember that faith comes by hearing, but so does doubt. So, what are you listening to? What is the news telling you? What are your friends telling you? Guard the precious Word you’ve sown into your heart by refusing to consume anything contrary.
When you build your faith by hearing the Word on a daily basis, truth will come, faith will come and then—victory will come.
STEP No. 3: Speak the Word
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21, NKJV)
You’ve heard the saying that you are what you eat. People who level-up spiritually have learned to speak the Word over their lives and the lives of those around them. They know it is often a matter of life and death. And, they don’t intend to waste the power and authority Jesus provided for them.
To get to a place where you speak the Word over every situation, work on mastering the first two habits. By putting God’s Word in your heart on a daily basis, speaking His Word will become your knee-jerk reaction to any situation, which means you will react with an automatic, predictable response—FAITH.
No matter what you’re faced with, speak healing, speak blessing, speak abundance, speak forgiveness, speak peace. Speak the Word again and again and again and again. Fire off Scripture like a machine gun. Confess God’s Word in faith—it will change your life.
HABIT No. 4: Control Your Thought Life
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8, NKJV)
Is your thought life healthy or toxic? The mind, spirit and body are interconnected—your thoughts affect your words, which affect your health, prosperity, joy, peace and every other area of your life. So, it’s worth taking the time to perfect!
Dr. Caroline Leaf shares the connection between thoughts and overall success in life, “Thoughts are real things—they occupy real estate in your brain. ‘Bring all thoughts into captivity.’ Our brain is designed to do that. And when you do…your brain [will] start operating correctly.”
To bring every thought into captivity (2 Corinthians 10:5), begin focusing on what you’re thinking about. Thoughts like, you’re not going to get healed; you’re going to die; you’ll never get promoted, need to be captured and cast down. You resist them. You answer them. Never let thoughts like these go unanswered. Instead, say, “I’m not agreeing with that thought because that is not what God has promised me”
HABIT No. 5: Strengthen Your Heart Through Praise
“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” (Psalm 34:1, NKJV)
Be fluent in praise means no matter what is happening in our lives, we have countless reasons to thank Him for what He has done, what He is doing, and what we know He will do.
Praise is not just when things are good. No, that’s easy. Praise is an act of faith. If you believe you receive what you’ve asked—you’ll thank God for it—even if it hasn’t manifested. Praise says, “I know it’s coming.” People who level-up spiritually know there is a connection between praise and strength. They know a spirit of praise puts you in position and produces spiritual strength.
HABIT No. 6: Pray in the Spirit
“Building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.” (Jude 20, NKJV)
People who level-up spiritually know the importance of keeping their spiritual batteries charged. That’s where praying in other tongues comes in. When you pray in the spirit, you edify your spirit, which means to uplift and strengthen. It builds up your spirit and your faith.
The powerful part of praying in the Spirit is that it allows you to pray above what you know in the natural. It takes you into the spiritual realm and opens the door to revelation, wisdom, instruction and encouragement.
Habit No. 7: Get Rid of Baggage
“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.” (Hebrews 12:1, NKJV)
Streamlining is an important concept in aerodynamics. To streamline is to reduce resistance, creating a faster and smoother journey. It is studied by NASA engineers, airline pilots, shipbuilders and even athletes. The idea is to remove anything that would slow a craft, or person, down. The ultimate goal in streamlining is optimum performance and a victorious outcome.
That’s what we are called to do in our spiritual lives, too. When God told us to “strip off every weight that slows us down,” He was telling us to streamline our lives so we can enjoy optimum victory.
What kind of baggage are you carrying today? Worry, anxiety, stress or fear? Maybe it’s a habit of sin you haven’t removed or unforgiveness that’s been festering for years. Whatever it is, make the decision to get rid of it today! It’s slowing you down. Take off anything that is hindering you, and run your race to victory!
When you put these 7 habits of strong Christians into practice on a daily basis, you will develop the kind of spirit that will cripple the enemy and ensure the kind of victory you’ve always dreamed of. This is the life Jesus died to give you. This is the life you were meant to live.
Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.
(Psalm 127:3, NLT)
Fatherhood is a blessing
At face value, this is an obvious statement. Of course fatherhood is a blessing! Most of us understood this when we held our child for the first time, or saw our infant son or daughter sleeping soundly in their mother’s arms. We felt the blessing when we heard for the first time the name “daddy” being directed at us, or hearing the laughter of a giggling baby.
We continue to hold onto this blessing, but it can become slippery and lose its firmness. Loss of sleep, and the ongoing stresses of raising a child can seem to wear the blessing down. However, it’s a mistake to think that the blessing has changed or faded.
When God blesses us with a child, that blessing never changes, only the circumstances change. For us to experience the blessing of fatherhood to the fullest, it’s essential that the blessing define our circumstances instead of our circumstances slowly redefining the blessing. This isn’t something we need talk ourselves into, but allow the Holy Spirit to speak into our lives daily to strengthen and equip us for the challenges of fatherhood.
Dark nights, weary days
Being a father is a role that expresses affection, authority and heredity all at once, and that is a blessing. To be the first impression of manhood to a little boy or girl is a blessing. To express the love of God through discipline and mercy is a blessing. To taste the goodness of God’s selfless love toward us as we attempt to exhibit that same love toward our child is a blessing. But because we lose perspective, it becomes easy to make the mistake of equating the blessing of being a father with being free from challenges and hardships.
The blessing of fatherhood exists because of who God is and does not fade because of Him. Knowing this will carry us through the dark nights, the weary days, and the fretful moments. It will keep us strong for the sake of our children. It will remind you of the treasured blessing you have as a father, and help you to live as a blessing to your children.
“Take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17)
For Roman soldiers, marching into battle meant a face-to-face confrontation with their enemy. They needed special skills to use their sword, which was one of most important weapons and could save their lives. The sword was the only piece of equipment that could be used both in offense and defense. The sword could deflect an enemy’s blow, or deal a deadly blow.
The Roman sword was about two feet in length, with a two inch wide blade. Being double-edged, the sword could cut in any direction the soldier swung. The sword’s small size allowed the soldier to deploy it rapidly. This was because most battles were fought close-up, on a one-on-one personal level. It was for this reason the Roman soldier needed a weapon that was quickly available.
Take the Sword with you
We fight evil with God’s Word, which is sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). In combat against evil, we are to use the Word to cut and thrust, or block and knock away. The Word is compared to a weapon because it pierces and penetrates so that neither Satan nor his attacks are able to get the upper hand on the properly equipped Christian soldier.
The Sword of the Spirit is not the Bible on the bookshelf or laying on the table in your living room, or placed in a prominent position in your bedroom. That does not scare the devil or his army. It’s when you know the Word and speak what it is written in faith that it becomes the Sword that can deflect the enemy’s blow, or deal a deadly blow.
Blood of a champion
Only a certain kind of horse makes it to the Kentucky Derby. It’s the horses that are the fastest in the world. They’ve been carefully studied and carefully bred for generations.
Before breeding, the owners will go back 50 or 60 years and study the bloodline of a particular stallion. They’ll research his father, his grandfather and study how long their stride was, how tall their legs were, their takeoff speed, their endurance. With all this information, they’ll choose what they believe to be the perfect match.
They understand winners don’t just randomly happen. It’s in their DNA. That’s what sets these horses apart. They have generation after generation of champions on the inside.
Inside of you!
When you were born again your DNA changed. You don’t come from ordinary stock. You came from the best of the best. It doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, what color you are, how tall or short, how attractive or unattractive. It doesn’t matter how many weaknesses you have.
You may struggle with an addiction. You may have made some mistakes. What supersedes everything is that on the inside you have the DNA of a Champion. You come from a long list of winners.
If you look back and study your spiritual bloodline, you’ll see who you are! You’ll see your ancestor Moses parted the Red Sea—there’s great faith in your bloodline. You’ll see David, a shepherd boy, defeating a giant—there’s victory in your bloodline. You’ll see Nehemiah rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem when all the odds were against him—there’s increase, promotion and abundance in your bloodline. You’ll see a young lady named Esther who stepped up and saved her people from certain death—there is courage in your bloodline.
Remember, you come from a bloodline of champions. You were born to win, born to overcome, born to live in victory. It doesn’t matter what your present circumstances look like. Freedom is in your DNA. Health and wholeness is in your DNA. Restoration is in your DNA.
Lack, struggle, barely getting by, is not your destiny. Abundance, increase, opportunity, good breaks; that’s what’s in your spiritual bloodline!