Thursday, 6 July 2017

Victory for the Upright

Proverbs 2:7-8

He holds victory in store for the upright,
    he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
    and protects the way of his faithful ones.


Doing the right thing is not always easy. In fact, many times it is very difficult, as one has to go against the established pattern of the world and often has to face a lot of opposition and hostility. Sometimes doubts creep in – “I am trying to do what is right. Why is it so difficult? Why doesn’t God help me? Make it easier? Why doesn’t he vindicate me?” It may seem like God is distant and unconcerned about our difficulties, since he doesn’t step in and help.

However, God sees the struggles of those who try to do the right thing. Though it may sometimes seem like they are not getting anywhere, he is holding success and victory in store for them and will give it to them at the right time. He will shield them from harm and ensure that they do not stray from their course and give in to temptations. Those who are faithful to God, love him and want to please him will be especially protected from straying away.

The purpose of God is not to make our lives easy and comfortable. Today, many preachers preach a prosperity gospel. “Now that you are born again, you are a child of the King of Kings. Everything belongs to him and he wants to give it to you. You just have to claim it.” But that is not what the Bible teaches. We are to live not for ourselves, but for God. Christ gave his life for us – we are to lay down our lives for others. We are to BE Christ to them. The primary purpose of God is to form and perfect Christ-like character in each one of his children, not to ensure that they enjoy worldly prosperity.

When we understand this, we understand “victory” differently from the world. Our victory is not always over people who oppose us, or situations that come against us. Our victory is against our spiritual enemies. Against the temptations that try to persuade us not to do the right thing, that try to convince us to take the easy way out, that try to make us give in to out unholy desires that conflict with what God’s word says, that cause us to get discouraged and give up, that persuade us not to trust in God, but in ourselves.

God watches with concern as his children struggle with temptations. He is not distant or uninvolved, but is using these very same circumstances to work out something precious in us. He is right there with his encouragement when we turn to him for help in overcoming our temptations as we deal with our circumstances. Those who truly want to do the right thing, he strengthens and helps and protects them so that they don’t slip and go the wrong way. And if we don’t give up, but persevere, he gives us success in what we are trying to do as well.

However, such victories are not always guaranteed in this world. Sometimes an apparent failure may set off circumstances where someone else steps in to carry the baton and wins the victory, but the person who fought the fight and struggled is not around to see it. They will see their victory only in eternity, when they come face to face with their Master and he welcomes them with a smile and says, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Now come and share in my happiness!”


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