Uncommon Life Series – Final Chapter
“God is a bedrock under my feet, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight….The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my Saviour; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. ” Psalm 18:2 – The Message
“The stronghold of God is not only a place to visit, but to dwell with Him. For those who dwell with God, His presence is not merely our refuge; it is a permanent address.” Francis Frangipane
We begin this chapter hearing from a man struggling with an area of sin in his life. He shares how he was one who took his faith seriously so he begged God for strength, for forgiveness, and for more strength to overcome this sin. He shares how one day God showed him a picture of a strong, stone wall that surrounded and protected his life. It was a beautiful wall, except for one part of the wall that was broken down, leaving his life open to the influences of the enemy. He goes on to express how he was instantly convicted. He knew that he has exposed his own life to the enemy. He had been doing things that were wrong but was justifying them because others were doing the same things. He was broken and acknowledged that he had broken down the wall so that he could reach out and grab the things he wanted, and in doing so, he opened himself up to that which could have destroyed every good thing in his life. He confessed his sin, allowed Christ to reinforce those walls, and shared how he entered into a peaceful life within the stronghold of God.
I want focus for a moment on this illustration. Susie Larson says, “ We break down our own wall of protection when we reach for what isn’t ours and when we do what God has asked us not to do.”
Often times we get angry and upset with God because we are being assaulted by the enemy, but how much of the assault we are feeling could be directly related to our choice to come out from under the protection of God? Many see Christianity as a long list of what you can and can’t do. However, they have missed the very heartbeat of our gracious God who puts certain boundaries in place because he wants our lives fortified against all schemes of the enemy.
We are called to walk in the Spirit and not to gratify the desires of the flesh. If I need to let go of Him in order to take old of certain things then I need to decide that I don’t want those things. I want Him, and His protection upon my life.
“Over time we develop a distaste for that which diminishes life, and we develop a divine hunger for that which nourishes the soul.” Susie Larson
How do we stay under the shelter and make it our permanent address like Francis Frangipane said at the beginning of this chapter?
If you were standing under a place of shelter in the middle of a storm and you thought it might come crashing down on you, would you stay there? Probably not. You would rather head out into the storm and take the risk in the storm over the shelter.
If we as God’s children do not have absolute trust in His goodness and faithfulness, we will continually step out from under His protection. We will think that we can do better on our own. However, when we truly believe in His goodness and grab hold of the truth that He only does what is good for us, we will trust Him, even when we don’t understand Him.
The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. Psalm 28:7
“But for you who obey me, my saving power will rise on you like the sun and bring healing like the sun’s rays. You will be as free and happy as calves let out of a stall.” Malachi 4:2
“Obedience does not imprison us, it sets us free.” Susie Larson
There is a message rolling around in the church today that is very destructive to the body. It tells us that obedience is no longer required. There could not be anything further from the truth. We can truly only find the strength we need to live the Uncommon Life, if we are in intimacy with our Great God. We must respond to Him in humble obedience, if we are to be strengthened in faith and to grow up in Him. Jesus was our example and He demonstrated perfect obedience to the Father. We cannot minimize the call to be obedient sons and daughters if we want to live under his protection.
I am not implying that our efforts or works get us there, but I am reminding our hearts that even when protection and provision have been made available, one must remain in safety to be safe.
We Live As One Spoken For
Many approach their relationship with God from a mere casual friendship point of view. To see it that way, it to truly stomp on all that He gave. Jesus did not die a torturous death just so we could be friends or casual buddies. He wants to be more than someone we talk to when it “works for us.” He has entered into a covenant commitment to us. He wants intimacy. He gave everything to have it.
This may seem a bit intense to the common heart, but to the uncommon heart they will understand that He deserves a bride with an undivided heart. He does not want to marry a bride who is in love with the world and the things in it. He wants her heart. He wants her to live like she is spoken for. No one else gets to have her.
When my niece was living with me and making plans for her wedding, she had no problem letting anyone know that her heart was spoken for. This is how we are called to live as uncommon lovers of God.
There is so much that has been made available to us as his, but there is so much we have not received because we have not returned the commitment to Him that He is seeking.
“Unless we learn to love His presence, we will never really know what we possess in Him. Unless we consider living in His stronghold, the greatest place to be, we will never understand what it means to have all of heaven on our side.” Susie Larson
This life of loving and serving Jesus has only become complicated because we have failed to understand the need to trust Him, obey Him, and live as people who are committed to Him. If we grab hold of this simple but powerful truth we will live and stay under the stronghold of God. We will not allow anything to take us from there. We will understand how safe and protected we are there & how there is nothing this world could ever offer that could even bring the slightest attraction to the one who has tasted of Him.
This Uncommon Life comes with a call to not do what others are doing, but to do what He is doing & to rest in the places He has provided for all who take refuge in Him.
suholmes03 says:March 16, 2013 at 11:08 pm
With the Easter season approaching, our hearts should be even more aware of the price paid for that ‘covenant commitment’. ” [For many the Servant of God became an object of horror; many were astonished at Him.] His face and His whole appearance were marred more than any man’s, and His form beyond that of the sons of men—but just as many were astonished at Him,” (Isaiah 52:14).
To focus on the love that would drive the Son of God, in bodily form, to die such a horrendous death to secure our freedom … and still give a half hearted commitment to a relationship with Him is unconceivable. And yet so many have treated a relationship with Him casually … I have.
It’s in staying in that relationship that we trust and obey. It’s only by continually striving to know Him that we appreciate His character and His love for us. That’s how we fall in love with Him.
Nothing in this world, even life itself, compares to the anticipation of being with Him.
Thanks for the reminder that our passion for Him should exceed that of any passion here on earth.
Susan Craig says:March 17, 2013 at 12:02 am
We have to let go of all the idols in our lives that keep us from loving Him fully and from being in His stronghold-there should be nothing between you and your savior to keep you from the fellowship that you both long for- from what we were created for! This is a day by day commitment! God grant that we seek His face and His will every day of our lives!!