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Chapter Fourteen: Steps to Staying Faithful
Only the righteous will see God. How does a person become righteous? By practicing. How do you become good at anything? Practice.
I'm a person who will always study. I want to become master of God's Word. I study everyday. Some days I just read. Some days I may write a sermon. Everyday, I pray, but some days I listen to what God has to say.
You must set aside time to listen to what God has to say. Many times when we pray, we're basically telling God what we want. When was the last time you sat down and said to God, "What is it that You desire for my life?"
When I asked God what He will have me to do, that was the best experience of my life. I started getting better results and quicker results. When God speaks, it's so clear. When you listen to Him, He sends you to all the right places to help you avoid confusion. It's not always easy. Sometimes God doesn't speak. He feels like, "You know Me well enough to know My answers."
Below are a few things that have kept me faithful and on the path to righteousness.
1. WATCH GOD AND NOT MAN
If you watch people, chances are you're going to quit. That's the biggest mistake made by many Christians, new and old. They watch what the next person is doing. Most times, this is the very thing that discourages people from coming to church. If you see someone is sinning or doing wrong, that doesn't give you a license to do wrong, even if it's your pastor. If you're living right, no one man has a greater chance of getting into heaven than you do. In fact, it's harder for a prophet because on Judgment Day, God will hold prophets doubly accountable.Remember, God sees all and that's who you should be living to please -- not man.
Just know that we are all operating under God's grace while trying to get to heaven. Grace is a favor you can't work for. Grace is you waking up in the morning -- you didn't do anything special to make sure you woke up. That's just God's grace. So, keep your eyes on the Lord. I repeat, keep your eyes on the Lord. Jesus is the role model. Jesus is the standard.
2. COUNT IT ALL JOY
No matter how bad it is, count it all joy. Even when they're plotting against you, be happy. Because it's going to end up working in your favor. In scripture it says, "No weapon formed against me can prosper." That's so true. When you are walking in the light and your life is established in righteousness, nothing can harm you. But don't forget, this promise is only for those who have kept His Commandments. Commandment keepers don't have to worry about bad times, they just have to live by faith. And trust that all of the bad taking place will be turned around for God's glory. And their enemies, the very trap they set may be their own.
The reason why I count it all joy is because I know God sometimes uses trouble to prepare you. Every trial I've been through has led to a blessing either for myself or somebody else. Every hardship I've faced was used to help someone else know God. And that's a real blessing.
When you can take the bitter things and turn them into a sweet situation, you have overcome. When you can take your lemons of life and squeeze them into lemonade, maybe somebody else's thirst can be quenched. There's no reason to sit around and wallow in their sorrows. Why wrap yourself in the scars and feel sorry for yourself? Feeling sorry for yourself is not going to change the situation. Count it all joy. Nobody can steal that.
3. IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU
Everybody wants to do what they want to do. Everybody wants to do what they feel. But it's about what God wants to do through you. There's a purpose that God has for every person -- a path that only God can reveal. It boils down to this: Do you want to surrender to it? I don't think anybody wants to intentionally be lost. But when they walk or follow their own desires, they often miss the road God has for them. Then they end up walking around everything God has for us and then have the nerve to go back to God and say, "Why are things not working out for me?"
Things can't go right if you're not right. Especially if you're doing your plan, not God's. I had to realize this myself. I had to come to the conclusion that it's not about me at all. It's all about who God wants to bless through me.
People want to know how a person can do something wrong and have God still bless them and use them. Because God is a God of grace and mercy and you can't question His plan. The gift is not for that person -- it's for God to use. And when it's used, it's to help God's people. And as long as God gets the glory, that's all that matters. It's not about me or you.
4. GOD IS IN CONTROL
This last point kind of sums up all the others. God is in control: If people can get this in their minds and in their hearts, they wouldn't worry so much and be anxious. People can't sleep. They're always on pins and needles. Why? I don't worry. Even the Bible says that we should not worry. In the Book of Matthew, Jesus says, "So do not worry saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. Seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness and these things will be given to you as well."
So if God knows you need it and you trust that God can do it, why worry?
I haven't always been a person who didn't worry. But now I don't worry about anything. I'm in a season now where I'm beginning to get everything back, like Job. He lost everything, his family, his property, his livestock, his friends -- and in the end God gave him back everything tenfold.
I tried living my life on my will, in my way, and I was unhappy and insane.
Now I trust that God is God. God is in control.
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