The faith is a demanding thing, and the way may well be impossible.
You are a creature, in the flesh, and subject to the stresses and demands of physical survival. You can no more extract yourself from the natural world than you can leap off the Earth and land on the Moon.
We will ever be at odds with the world, and if we are not, that shall be a warning to us. As it is, the more one is faithful, the more he will be hated.
The darkness is always closing in.
The world then, with its powerful and mighty, its famed and fortunate, has an appeal the faithful can never capture. There is enmity and it cannot be bridged. The advantage, so long as we are in the world, belongs to the worldly.
So you may find yourself beaten down. In a world upside-down – as it will ever be – your virtue is a drag on your success, your kindness is weakness, your modesty is a limit beyond which your competitors race to defeat you.
You may come to think that, despite the echoes of your dreams, dreams from a far-off place, you are destined to a middling life. Gray and sluggish, commoditized, leaving no impression by which you will ever be remembered.
But you’ve got it all wrong; You have swallowed the lie.
I am your brother, listen to me: You have closed yourself off from God.
God – does not – permit mediocrity. He will spit you out, and perhaps He has.
Here is how you will find the moment of expectoration: When did you last avoid a good action because of fear? It is that simple – in your family, in your business, in your spiritual life, when you have found something good to be too much, or too dreadful, you assumed the temperature of the room. You were no longer pleasing to the taste, giving satisfaction to the thirst.
The lie is that, as a child of God, you are bound to defeat. No need to begin fighting, it will all end in flames and ashes.
The enemy is no fool. He knows that if he can demoralize you before you’ve begun to fight back, he’s already won.
The game is rigged against you, he says. He holds all the cards. Go ahead, make a run at it – see how easily you are slapped down? And what are you resisting sin for, after all? If it is all for God and the ultimate victory, why does God not win right now? Why does He make it all but impossible for you to succeed?
Now, do you see how you have been poisoned and duped? Do you see how the world has trampled upon your God-given dignity, and has stifled the mighty works God meant to work through you? It is time to go in, whips in hand, and throw the tables over.
The truth is, you have not trusted God enough. You have accepted, from fear or disappointment, that He will not come through for you.
Perhaps you are inadequate (you are). Perhaps you are imperfect (doubtless). Yes, you have failed, and you have shamed yourself, and you have given every earthly reason to any worldly power that you are not up to the task.
Do you see the lie? You will see it when you hear the truth: You do not answer to a worldly power. You answer to the Almighty.
Therefore! It does not matter if you have failed by worldly measures, over and over again. It does not matter if you have showed yourself inadequate for the task, lacking in perseverance, intelligence, skill.
Fool! IT. IS. NOT. ABOUT. YOU.
Do you wonder why Adam and Eve ate of the apple? First, clean your lips of that bitter sweetness… you have sunk your teeth into the lie and devoured it whole.
Let’s put it starkly, written in a flame against the blackness of night: The Devil has isolated you from God, and proceeded to devour you. This is why you are demoralized, beaten down, perpetually inadequate, in motion and going nowhere.
The Devil is virtually a god and has convinced you that you must face him under your own power. Every failure, every weak moment, every grasp at evil is one more victory for him, and one more defeat for you. And you have no hope of overcoming him…
But of course he has lied to you. He rigged the game, he set you up for destruction. Now, you know better.
You, as always, must call on the Almighty. You must call on Him with all of the desperation of a drowning man, because truly you cannot defeat the waves. You must call on him as though the enemy came fully armed, has you surrounded, and is counting down to your annihilation. Because you cannot defeat death.
But He can.
And there it is, my brother, my sister. Look to Him, always. Pray to Him, at every moment, for every good thing – especially in your need.
Then, simply hold on. Work and strive and fight with everything you have, reinforced by the power of God. One day you will barely be able to stand, and the next you will be lifting mountains. First, you will strain to walk, then you will race with all speed to the ends of the earth.
Many will doubt, and then you will succeed beyond all of their expectations.
Many will forecast doom, and you will deliver victory.