We have been told that we are living in a world to which we do not belong, as citizens of the heavenly Kingdom. As a result, we will experience resistance, misunderstanding, and difficulties (see John 15:19). Jesus promised that He would always be with us, but He did not promise an easy life. We are called to be light in the darkness (1 Thessalonians 5:5). We need to know what we treasure most. More importantly, we need to understand how to carry that, long-term.
When the storms of life hit, and we are buffeted, what is it that holds us upright? What are the vertebrae in our backbone formed out of? What are the beliefs and the disciplines that we have strengthened, exercised, stretched, before the storm raged? This question will tell you whether you will stand firm. Do we believe that God is good? At all times? Do we know that sickness and disaster are not from Him, but from the one who kills, steals and destroys who is His enemy, the devil? Do we know who is first in our lives? Do we regularly take moments to ask the Holy Spirit to check our focus?
At times, building these principles, these habits and these practices into our lives seems pointless, insignificant and boring. Sometimes we may buckle under and neglect them. It is a training programme for running the race well. In my book, The Posture Principle, I speak of the 12 individual vertebrae in the thoracic spine. I also write about the curve in our spine, the ‘lordosis’, which I equate to intimacy and relationship with our Father God. This curve is what keeps all else in place.
We will have times placed before us that will build the strength of these, and times when their strength is tested and we can celebrate those. There will also be many times we fall, or fail. It depends how we face those times, whether we are ‘those who learn from our mistakes’ (Mark Iles).
Father is gracious and good. He will, if we are listening, prompt us to keep on, keep up and hold up. He knows us, He knows our hearts. He loves us as His children and He loves it when our eyes are upon Him, and He loves us when they are not. It is our choice. We have the Holy Spirit within us, who can do all things through us and for us, that we cannot do alone. We never go into legalism when we are dependent upon Him. Our focus comes out of love not rules.
When troubles come and scour our life-beach, Father is there. He stands guard and will not let His child fall. We can help this, by using the principles and practices He teaches, to build our lives on the Rock.
The upside-down Kingdom of God isn’t based on performance, rules and religion. It is brought to earth by sons and daughters. God our Father – ‘Abba’, as Jesus called Him – expects us to be ‘shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves’ – for He is sending us out ‘like sheep among wolves’. Yet He needs us to be childlike to become mature; extravagant yet self-controlled; letting go to take hold; stopping to move forward; risking to love; resting to work; powerful in extravagance; weak in being strong.
STRENGTHEN YOUR BACKBONE. Know who your God is. Believe who you are, who He says you are. Spend time. It is worth it. Then, you will rise high above the storm, safe in Father’s arms, safe with Jesus. You will win, as a warrior of intimacy. This is what we are called to.
©Martina Davis : all text and photography, which also includes quotes from The Posture Principle, published December 2017, available on http://www.amazon.com, http://www.amazon.co.uk, and http://www.nantenterprises.com/grace-creativity .
This is written during a particularly challenging life-test for me, which only increases my conviction that time spent before is time spent well. The intimacy and closeness of Father never fails, it is wonderful to get to know Him even deeper. Do comment about yours and what I have written here. I will be speaking at The Mustard Seed bookshop in Marlborough, UK on 17th April 2018.
‘Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.’ Jesus in Matthew 7:24.