When we remember the work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope, of others in the Lord Jesus Christ, our hearts are filled with thanks unto God. The scripture tells us to remember faith, love and hope without ceasing. When our focus is about the weakness of others, how they failed our expectations, or what they are yet to grow into, our faith and hope is diminished.
Our prayers for others are affected by what we remember of them. Without ceasing, we are to recall their work of faith and labor of love. As we do so, our faith for what is to come into their lives is increased. Our prayers are motivated and remain fervent by love. Remembering, even briefly, what the enemy has done can plant seeds of fear and hinder our faith. This is true whether it’s in regards to us or to others. The connection between prayer and thanksgiving is seen throughout the Bible.
Our labor of love is not in vain in the Lord and the prayers of the righteous avail much. We do not see the glass half empty, but half full. One drop is enough for our God to multiply. At times, when we only see what hasn’t been accomplished yet in our lives, and the lives of others, let’s remember our work of faith, and labor of love and praise God, from glory to glory!
1 Thessalonians 1:2-4 We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.
Often when we face adversity we quickly assume that God must not be in what we are doing, so we decide that He wants us to do something else. It is difficult to persevere, and easy to get comfortable putting off what we know we should be pursuing. When results do not come fast enough, we try to find other things to do. Questioning God instead of ourselves comes with ease. We presume His timing is not right rather than giving Him more time. Discouragement can lead to a diversion from our walk. The Spirit of God leads us to consider our ways so we get back by seeking the way of the Lord.
God told the exiles, through Haggai, to consider their own ways. They had returned to their homeland to rebuild the temple of the Lord 16 years earlier, but through the discouragement resulting from their enemies’ constant attacks, ceased construction. They occupied themselves with building their own house instead of the house of the Lord. The Hebrew meaning of “consider your ways” is to “get your heart on your ways” or “put your hearts on your road.” Jesus is the way and it’s in seeking Him that we remain strong in pursuing His will for our lives.
The Holy Spirit, with love and grace, helps us keep our focus on the King. He enables us to bounce back from discouragement, depression and despair. He turns our setbacks into comebacks and places us on the right tracks, from glory to glory!
Haggai 1:6 “You have sown much, and bring in little; You eat, but do not have enough; You drink, but you are not filled with drink; You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; And he who earns wages, Earns wages to put into a bag with holes.” Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider your ways!”
Our focus is to be on the Lord in all seasons. Problems come to the surface trying to make us focus our attention on the problems, instead of on the promises of God. As we walk by faith our ability to focus on Christ, and our determination to keep that focus, increases.
We consider the problem but keep our focus on God. Not looking at the things which are seen, but looking at the things which are not seen, doesn’t mean we ignore what should be handled. It’s being able to see a condition from an eternal perspective. The more our heart is directed to the things of God, the more our affliction is seen as trivial and temporary. What we focus on often becomes clearer than what surrounds it. When we go to a movie theater and sit too close to the screen, we do not see the whole picture correctly. We step back and then it becomes clear. In order to keep our focus on the Lord, we sometimes need to step back to regain clear insight.
As we magnify the Lord, all else is minimized. We keep our eyes on God; His person, His promises, His purposes and His principles. We exalt the Lord. We magnify His holy name and all that is not of Him is brought low, from glory to glory.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
In the midst of adversity we may be tempted to put our eyes on the problems, issues, hurdles or hardships we face. Instead, focus on Him and we will find the comfort and hope we seek as we see the Lord watching us with His loving care.
Keeping our eyes on the Lord helps us magnify Him and His promises, not the problems. Our encouragement comes when we see that He sees us. It means we are important to Him. He sees us and knows everything there is to know about our situations. He doesn’t see us wondering what He can do for us, but He sees the answer He has sent forth materializing in our lives. He watches over us, caring for each one of us because we are “the apple of His eye.”
As an “apple of His eye,” we are weak and tender. We can be bruised, hurt and in pain from even the smallest bump. We are careful because we do not want to be hurt. God sees, protects and preserves us from more than we know. As long as we see that He sees us, we can walk by faith and not by sight. In our weakened state under adverse conditions, God’s affection for us is amazing. He cares for us, protects us, and hides us under the shadow of His wings, from glory to glory!
Genesis 16:13 Then she called the name of the LORD who spoke to her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?”
Because our war is spiritual, it can only be fought in and by the Spirit of God. It is when we reach new spiritual heights that we are hindered the most. We are above and not beneath. Whatever we encounter, let’s get over it and stand in our place of authority in Christ.
When we are moving to higher places in the realm of the Spirit, the devil fights us from the opposite direction. This is confirmation that we are going in the right direction. That direction is vertical, not horizontal. Everything will line up in front of us when we attain what is from above. In looking at direction, in addition to the vertical focus and growth, the inward transformation should be counted on more than the outward. We do not always see our progress and this is a lie the devil uses often. When he does, it is because the reverse is happening. We might not identify our growth as we should, but we can rest assured our inward man is being renewed by the Holy Spirit daily.
Let’s ask ourselves, “What is the real reason for the battle?” The answer surely is because we are growing in Christ and advancing His Kingdom. We go upward to go onward. The inward growth helps us go forward, from glory to glory!
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.