How do you continue to make God a priority in your life when the struggle is over, and He has rewarded you for your faithfulness during the storm?
You’ve been through the valley, trudged through the mucky sins and struggles of life, fought with your old self, even wrestled with God himself late at night through tears and silenced screams, and He has delivered you. Now you are standing on top of this spiritual mountain, surveying the struggle it took to get here, thanking and praising the only One who could have possibly gotten you through.
… Now what?
Let me encourage you today to continue to seek and glorify God. Don’t become someone who clings to God in times of need, but becomes neutral in times of plenty. How can you avoid this hypocritical lifestyle? How do you continue to make God a priority in your life when the struggle is over, and He has rewarded you for your faithfulness during the storm?
First of all, don’t camp out on past victories. The book of Joshua shows us how quickly the thrill of a spiritual high can be drained by the agony of defeat. The first six chapters are full of victory, with Joshua 6 ending in verse 27, “So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.” This makes the next verse, Joshua 7:1 all the more crushing, “But the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things… And the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel.” God granted victory to the Israelites, and they promptly turned from their disciplines and continued on their previous path of destruction. How can we avoid the same pitfall? Spend some time reflecting on all that God taught you through the battle, fill the pages of your journal with the ways God fulfilled His promises to you, write His goodness on your heart so that you won’t forget.
Secondly, don’t assume this is the highest place that God wants to take you. I guarantee that God has bigger and better plans for you than wherever you are at right now. Make a practice of looking ahead to where God is leading you, even if it means going through another valley. Tell God that knowing more of Him is your ultimate goal, and ask Him to enlighten you and give you insight as you study the Word. Just like Paul prayed for the church at Ephesus, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe…” (Ephesians 1:17-19).
Last of all, and probably most importantly, be thankful and humble for how God has provided for you thus far. We are warned time and time again in Scripture about pride. We are never more susceptible to pride than after a spiritual victory. After days, weeks, months, and sometimes years of praying, surrendering, disappointment, and fleeting hope, when we come to the end of a struggle, or a long awaited prayer has been answered, we are prone to taking the credit. Maybe not outright, but just a little bit in our hearts. We did, after all, memorize scripture, and pray a lot. We didn’t ever give up, or curse God’s name. That ought to count for something, right? Proverbs tells us, “pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (16:18). And again in 11:2, “when pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.”
So rest in God’s presence here on the mountain top, but don’t get too comfy; He has bigger plans for you yet.