Years ago, I watched the movie Gladiator. It was the epic showdown in a Colosseum of savage people, cheering a champion gladiator, battling the strongest fighting slave with the intention of destroying him.
I think that picture fairly represents how I have felt on various occasions when an overwhelming type problem or crisis manifested in my life. In those times, it was like there was a gladiator of anxiety and fear working to destroy every shred of hope, with the intention of getting me to abandon my faith in God’s help. I don’t think I am unique in the arena. I think most people face those terrifying gladiators in life. It may be over a loss of a job, financial pressures, a relational or marital schism, or any number of hurtful situations that can arise in life. At times like this people lose sleep, stop eating or eat too much, make wrong decisions out of emotional distress, and say and do things they regret from that emotional distress.
As a Christian, we have an advantage over those who don’t know Jesus as Savior. We are able to step into that arena with a confidence that could only be from God. It’s a confidence the Bible describes as the “peace that passes understanding” where there should be none. This is a peace and rest that the world will never understand. I’m not saying it’s easy to come to that place of peace and yet Jesus spoke the words desiring us to know that it’s more than possible in those difficult times. Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”(Matthew 11:28 NLT)
Why would Jesus say that? How could He say that? He would and could say that because of His profound love and sincere desire to be with us and help us through every moment of our life. He knows that the circumstances of our life can be overwhelming at times. But He wants you to lay them at His feet, pray in faith that He’ll help you, and then trust Him that He will. He is with you! He reminds us in 1 John 5:4 (NIV) “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” He reminds us in 1 John 4:4 (NLT) “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory…because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.”
Many people box Jesus out of their lives except when they need Him. That’s why they have such a hard time believing that He would and does care. But He does, and our unbelief in it isn’t going to change it. He simply loves us. He loves me. He loves you!
God comforts us further with this promise in Psalm 23:4 NLT. “Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”
God’s rod represents a tool of counting or keeping track of His sheep. It also represents a weapon of protection. His staff represents something to lean upon for support and help as you walked through life. In other words, you belong to God and He is keeping track of you and will protect you. God’s rod and staff is His Word to be encouraged through and to lean upon with sincere heart faith so that you may rest in Him and the promise of His Word.
Remember that Jesus was called “Emmanuel which means God is with us.” (Matthew 1:23 NLT) What powerful words of comfort. Don’t let the enemy—the gladiator of your soul, torment you. You destroy Him! Rebuke him in Jesus name. Lay your cares and worries at the feet of Jesus and leave them there! Spend time in the word of God with God’s rod and staff. He is with you and cares for you! He has repeatedly promised so!
Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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