1 Peter 2:9-10 - But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
A ragged poster thumb-tacked behind the cash register in a variety store near my home shows a bedraggled cartoon character complaining, "I've been yelled at cheated, swindled, cussed, and beaten up. The only reason I stick around is to see what will happen next."
Probably all of us have felt a little like this at times. Sadly though, for some people such cynicism has become a way of life. Satan, salesman that he is, convinces even some of God's people to adopt such a negative life-view.
"Be realistic," the devil coos smoothly. "This situation is impossible. No one could have peace in such circumstances. No one could feel joyful now. No one could claim to live victoriously under these conditions."
How do we counter the devil's offensives? How do we answer his challenges? How do we beat his powerful temptations to negativism, fear, depression, and defeat? Strangely enough, the answer lies precisely in being realistic.
We need to look realistically at who and what we are by faith in Christ Jesus. We're not the weak, rejected, unloved wretches Satan would have us believe. We're sons and daughters of the King of kings. We're chosen, precious, gifted by His grace. The same Holy Spirit who empowered our Lord Jesus Himself when our Savior walked upon the earth lives right inside us! Jesus defeated death, hell, sin, and Satan -- and He shares His victory with us.
Try reading 1 Peter 2:9-10 four or five times every morning and evening for a week. Think realistically about what our Lord tells us concerning our relationship with Him, our standing before Him.
Next, be realistic about God's willingness to act on your behalf as His child. As Christians we need not allow our feelings to be blown back and forth in the changing winds of outside circumstances. Someone has counted over 32,000 promises God makes to His people in His Word. Find one or more that apply to the difficulties you face. Then read them often each day. Turn them over in your mind. Talk to God about them. Remind Him of what He has promised to do for you.
Worry is nothing less than meditating on Satan's lies about what might happen or what could happen or what looks likely to happen. We need to fill our minds with the truth of God's promises to His children. We need to praise Him for the realistic hope that is ours because He does indeed keep every one of His great and precious promises.
At times we may not feel like focusing on God's Word; we may not feel like praising Him or speaking to Him in prayer. But with the Spirit's power, we can respond in obedience to His prompting. Feelings will follow actions. And when we fill our hearts with His Word, God promises that His peace will guard, watch over, and protect our hearts and minds, our thoughts and emotions. We can look at things realistically -- truly, realistically.
THE PRAYER: Lord, remind us to be realistic to Your Word. You have given us strength and power through Your Holy Spirit to overcome our flesh and keep our mind stayed on You. Thank You for Your great promises. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman, January 1983 issue, "Be Realistic" by Jane L. Fryar
Today's Bible Readings: Isaiah 1-2 2 Corinthians 11:16-33
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