DEALING WITH THE SPIRITUAL ‘MORNING AFTER’

DEALING WITH THE SPIRITUAL ‘MORNING AFTER’

’Twas the day after Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

No, that is not a misquote. The paraphrase is deliberate, because, let’s be honest, how true is that for us? The festivities have ended and the merriment is over; so how do we spend Boxing Day? Curled up in bed for the better part of the morning, trying to recover from the night’s hangover.

We do, don’t we? After every major celebration we are always left recovering from the high of the night before; and that got me thinking, don’t we also experience the same emotional journey in our spiritual life?

There most definitely are notable high points in our spiritual life; points when we feel the closest to God. Points when we feel like because we are in our Father’s care, we are invincible. We see His provision, and because of that, we can see the provision that is to come. We feel His protection, and because of that, we are brimming with hope for tomorrow. But what happens when tomorrow comes?

It’s no surprise that the streets are empty and cold on the morning after Christmas. After all, the reason for the hustle and bustle is gone and there is already a significant dent in our pockets. But why is it that our hearts also feel empty the day after the high? Shouldn’t the joy remain?

In truth, it should, because Jesus said,

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11

You see, it has always been Jesus’ intention to not only give us joy and have us receive it to the full; it is also His intention that His joy remain in us. His is a permanent joy, and not some fleeting emotion. And this is the way we are meant to receive this joy, and have it remain.

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” John 15:9-10

Now before you go away thinking that Jesus came to give us another list of commandments, let us remind ourselves of what His commandment is.

“This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you.” John 15:12 [AMPC]

That’s it. Plain and simple. Because what Jesus really wants is not for us to be merely keeping His commandments with our actions, He wants us to do the same thing that our Father wants, and that is,

“My son, do not forget my law,
But let your heart keep my commands;
For length of days and long life
And peace they will add to you.” Proverbs 3:1-2

When we sincerely extend Jesus’ love for us to others from the heart, we make concrete the emotional experience that we get from receiving from Him; and when we consider why we are able to give, we remember that it is because we have first received. So by that, we remind ourselves of just how loved we are, we let our hearts keep His commands, and we abide in His love.

Now, if we go by Jesus’ words, because we are abiding in His love, His love should fill us and remain in us, shouldn’t it? So why do we sometimes feel a little empty on the inside?

Well, that is because,

“…your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

Remember what Jesus told Peter just after Peter so famously said,

“Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” Matthew 26:35

“And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.”” Luke 22:31

Yes, that guy is always on the prowl, waiting for a chance to trip us up. And when we are the least alert, when we least expect it, when we have our guard down, he strikes, and the first place that he goes for, is our joy.

And when are we at our weakest? When do we have our guard down? When is it that we least expect Satan to attack? Isn’t it precisely when we are feeling the strongest? Because all Satan needs to do is pop by right at that moment and ask the million dollar question; ‘Are you sure?’

Are you sure that our Father’s blessings will last? Are you sure that our Father’s protection will always be about you? Are you sure that you will always remain in our Father’s good books? Are you sure?

Doubt is very powerful, isn’t it? An ounce of doubt can shake the very foundation of our faith. And when it happens, the sky turns cold, the streets go empty, and we come crashing down from that high.

But if you are experiencing what I have just described, I’ve got good news for you. You can tell that good-for-nothing fallen angel to run along and stop bothering you, because

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17

All that condemnation that you felt, all that feeling of doubt in your righteous position in Christ, all that wondering if you will ever fall out of favor with our Father, is needless and groundless, because they have all been put to rest by Jesus. There truly is no more condemnation to those who are in Christ.

And if you are wondering if God is a ‘one hit wonder’; if you are wondering if His provision and protection will still be there for you in the morning, I have got good news for you, for

“…neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

You know, Satan’s got us in a cat and mouse game; one where he’s lurking around, trying his best to disrupt our lives with the best insurgent guerrilla tactics he knows. But in the end, our Father is going to trump him and win the day, for our Father has already guaranteed that

“…I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
He will crush your head,
and you will strike His heel.” Genesis 3:15 [NIV]

Jesus’ heel was already struck when He went to the cross, so guess who’s head is being crushed right now?

Yes, Satan is always on the prowl, and he is always trying to trip us up. And that is why Peter tells us to

“Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 [AMPC]

But the best thing about Jesus’ gift of salvation is that it is independent of your feelings. No matter how ‘high’ or ‘low’ you may be at any point in your life, it doesn’t change the fact that

“…neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

Hold firm to that fact each and every time insurgent attacks come, for it won’t be long before our Father comes, because

“…He who is coming will come and will not tarry.” Hebrews 10:37

And when He comes, you can be sure that our joy will be full again.

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