Mar 6, 2010

spiritual battles and the beauty of holiness

I had a really "down" day yesterday. I spent it alone in my house and with barely the energy to do basic tasks I needed to get done. My enemy Satan was busy accusing me all day long, whispering his deceitful lies, reminding me how ungodly I really am, how often I fail in my commitment to live for Jesus. I really haven't had this fierce of a spiritual battle for a long time. It was one of those days you want to look to the sky and scream, "Where ARE you, God??"

I knew what the problem was. I was feeling quite alone in the stand I have taken regarding the moral issue going on in my family. Today is the day of the "celebration" that my husband and I declined to attend. I've posted about it twice already, and not without some consequences.

I remembered a Bible story from the Old Testament (II Chronicles 20) where King Jehoshaphat realized Judah was about to be beseiged by massive foreign armies that he felt powerless to face. Being a king who feared the Lord, he called for a day of national fasting and prayer. Jehoshaphat himself led the prayers in front of the Lord's temple. The Lord's Spirit then empowered a priest to speak forth this message of hope and encouragement:

"Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, 'Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you." (verses 15-17)

The people believed and were so encouraged that the next morning singers when out before the army, in the beauty of holiness we are told, boldly declaring,

"Give thanks to the LORD,
for his steadfast love endures forever." (verse 21)

As it ended up, when the men of Judah went out to meet the enemy, all they needed to do was to stand still and watch what God would do for them. The Lord caused so much confusion among the enemy troops that they turned and fought each other until they were all slaughtered. And there was so much plunder, the men of Judah couldn't even carry it all away. They returned home and continued to worship God, and Jehoshaphat continued to reign in peace.

Last night my husband and I had a chance to be with some godly friends who encouraged us to stand strong in what we already knew to be truth. We talked about the holiness of God and we wondered together how we could stake our lives on believing Him and His Word and not stand for what He stands for. Obviously, we can't.

What makes His holiness something beautiful? God's holiness, for one thing, is light. It is good, sacred, timeless, worthy of praise. And it is love in it's purest form, love that endures forever. When His Word tells us to be holy, because He is holy, (I Peter 1:16) it is because He wants all those beautiful things for us as well. Throughout our lifelong sanctification process, God provides the power to carry out the command.

God reminded me yesterday of the story of King Jehoshaphat and how the battle was not his to fight, but the Lord's. He does not leave us fighting these spiritual battles all alone. I woke up this morning thinking about the beauty of holiness. God is for us, He really is. His laws are perfect and just and righteous altogether. And they are for our ultimate good. As believers, we have no reason to feel we are alone... there are times when we just have to stand still, and watch to see what God will do as He fights our battles for us.


Rose said...

Hugs Jacquelyn, I know this has caused you pain and I am sorry you had to experience it. You know standing up for your beliefs often has consequences we don't like having to deal with. God knows you are hurting and he will honor the decision you and your husband have made. I am proud you had the courage of your convictions, that makes you special in my opinion! God bless you!

Wylie @ Shout A Joyful Noise! said...

Amen! What a wonderful word here! I love to remember that he battle is not only His, but that it is easy for Him! Hallelujah!

Jacquelyn said...

Rose, oh thank you! In the midst of the heaviness I was feeling on Friday, I did hear the Lord also whispering to me..."you are my daughter! you are a daughter of the King!"...My family has always been very close so the tension right now is really hard. But Jesus is the friend who sticks even closer than a brother! I know I can't lose! *hugs* back to you! I appreciate you!

Jacquelyn said...

Wylie, thanks for reminding me that what seems so hard for us is so easy for God! That is so true. When our resources are totally depleted, whether money, time, energy, emotional strength...His resources have only begun to be tapped! He's in my boat! *wink*!!

Pat said...

I remember this situation and how you prayed about the right decision. Often times the right decision is not the popular one. feel God in the midst of feeling so wonderful! I wonder if you would have felt his presence if you had gone? I kind of doubt it.

Jacquelyn said...

Oh Pat, I could never have dared to expect to feel God's presence and blessing if I had gone. I need Him every hour! Thanks for your supportive are so right...the right decision is not always the most popular. I'm so grateful for my like-minded friends like you who are so encouraging!

Jess said...

Oh Jacque,
Thank you for expressing your heart and sharing victorious scripture. I wish I would have known about the "battle" on Friday and been able to write or call.
But praise GOD, He did not leave you defenseless and brought godly counsel to encourage you and your husband.
To love and honor God's Holiness, what a mission for our lives as believers...especially when the evil of our culture threatens to overwhelm us!
I'm praying for you dear friend.
Sending my love as well!

Jacquelyn said...

thank you Jess...I so appreciate your support. Sometime we need to talk about what your family went through and how you continue to handle it. My family situation isn't going to go away any time soon and I am going to need to learn more and more about loving God's way yet without compromising. I love your sweet spirit...please rub off on me :)