How do we become “strengthened“? How do we become “seasoned?”
How does a person become “conditioned” to actually be strong, courageous, and bold?
Tough on the outside, and yet, still tender on the inside…
Able to withstand hardship, persecution, uncertainty…
While keeping a tender, humble, loving, and gentle heart.
Hardships alone, have been known to make a person bitter and cold.
What does it mean to “condition” something or someone?
To “bring (something) into the desired state for use.”
To “treat, prepare, make ready, prime, temper, process, acclimatize, acclimate, adapt, adjust, soften, season.”
It also can mean to “improve, build up, nourish, tone, tone up”
But when God takes us through things, He has this way of using the “hard things” to help us become hardy…. strengthened…adapted, seasoned…
And as we arise out of the hardship, we have now gained this deep, deep knowing, this understanding of “God with is with me, and He saw me through!”….because of the experience we’ve had, because of the hardship, because of our willingness to keep walking alongside the Lord, as He takes us through the hard times.
And when we stay close with Him, when we don’t allow the bitterness, and the fear, and the hopelessness, and the unbelief to seep through into our hearts….
God has this way of building strength in us, while tenderizing our hearts, increasing our capacity to love, to be brave… and through this process, we grow more into who He always dreamed us up to be.
He “conditions” us, so that we may grow in “capacity”…
The word “capacity” means, “the maximum amount that something can contain” and “the amount that something can produce.”
“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”—Philippians 2:13
I’ve said it before, but the year of 2019 for us, has been more like a “2020” is for many.
In the year of 2019, we dealt with some really hard things…
Intense financial hardship, uncertainty with our business, strange and debilitating health issues, emotional struggles, times of facing major fears, facing uncertainties, dealing with times of confusion, taking HUGE leaps of faith, facing attempts of the enemy to take us out of the path God has for our lives…but God saw us through, He carried us through, He showed us the way, and through it all, He strengthened us and made us able to endure.
This was our scripture for the year of 2019 that we were given on NYE of that year:
“It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect.“—Psalm 18:32
And boy, did He. ?☀️
But you know, He had to allow us through some hardship to increase our capacity, to condition us, to get us to a place where we would be able to make it through what He had for us in the next season, and in the next season, and in the next season…
He was preparing us for what’s “next” and for what’s “to come.”
God wants to increase our capacity.
He wants to grow us.
He is making us ready. He loves us too much to let us stay where we are.
Will we let Him do what needs to be done?
Will we allow Him to do the work that only He can do with hardship, with trials, with loss, with uncertainty, in the midst of scary things…
Can we trust Him enough to walk with Him through some scary things? Some uncomfortable things? Some less than desirable things…
Will we allow Him to do the beautiful work in our hearts, that only He is able to do?
“May He incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways and to keep the commandments and statutes and ordinances He commanded our fathers.”—1 Kings 8:58
“Turn my heart to Your testimonies and not to covetous gain.”—Psalm 119:36
“Now, therefore,” he said, “get rid of the foreign gods among you and incline your hearts to the LORD, the God of Israel.”—Joshua 24:23
I’m not sure who said this quote, but I love it, and it sums up what I’m trying to say with such simplicity:
“No matter what comes your way, God is not surprised. Your challenge was not sent to defeat you; it was sent to increase you.”
Maybe the enemy sent it so that it would “defeat” you, but God allowed it, so that it would “increase” you. ?
And He knows that it will all backfire on the enemy. ??
He knows that He’s going to make it all beautiful.
Thank You, Father. ? Thank You, Thank You, Thank YOU!