The Secret To Spiritual Prosperity

I am taking an online college class on Biblical Counseling. I was working on my assignment last night. During the day I was meditating on Psalm 1:1-3. I memorized these verses when I was a child. They are in my heart reservoir. The question I had to answer for my homework was: What would it look like if my life was described by these verses?

Verse 2 says that if we delight in God’s word and meditate in it we will bear fruit in every season and be prosperous. When I pondered the question, the Holy Spirit gave me three words that so impacted me that I burst into tears. The secret to spiritual prosperity is NO SPIRITUAL BARRENNESS.

Delighting in God’s word involves our spirit which shuts out our flesh. The Hebrew word for ‘delight’ means: pleasure, desire, longing, that in which one takes delight. Meditating means to think about it, pondering the truth of it, conversing with it in our heart, walking in it, and making it our own. We would cherish every moment and become lost in our communion with the Lord. 

Psalm 92:12-15 uses the word flourish four times. Flourish means to be green and verdant. Verse 14 in the Amplified says, “(Growing in grace) they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap (of spiritual vitality) and (rich in the) verdure (of trust, love, and contentment).” Now watch what the purpose of this is.

Verse 15 says, “To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” We will be living memorials! My dad was. I took care of him for 10 1/2 years at home and then he had to go into a care facility. He was a living memorial. He tootled all over that place in his wheelchair with his Bible on his lap. There was one bitter prodigal that he befriended. When my dad died, Keith followed him four days later.

Does ‘spiritual vitality’ describe your walk with the Lord? I like to visit Job 21:24. The Amplified says of a man who died in full strength. It says, “His pails are full of milk (his veins are filled with nourishment) and the marrow of his bones is fresh and moist.” Moses died in full strength. Deuteronomy 34:7 says, “Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished.”

We will live out our fashioned days according to Psalm 139:16. Quality of life is to bear fruit until the Lord takes us home. Psalm 91:14 says, “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name.” Verse 16 says, “With long life I will satisfy him, and show Him my salvation.”

Joshua 1:8 says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Observe to do is: reading for understanding, gaining insights on what blocks our witness, and conviction that brings course correction.

Independence=Spiritual Barrenness

Proverbs 3:7-8 says, “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.” Evil is iniquity or sin. David understood iniquity. Psalm 51 was written after he sinned with Bathsheba. Verse 2 says, “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”

Verse 5 is a statement about every one who is born. It says, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity; and in sin my mother conceived me.” We are born with a sin nature because Adam and Eve disregarded God’s word. 

David’s sin with Bathsheba was in direct violation of God’s word. Look at how the Lord described it. 2 Samuel 12:9 says, “Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in His sight?…” Listen to the consequences. Verse 11 says, “…Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house…”

What was the first thing that happened after that? One of his sons, Amnon, raped one of his daughters, Tamar. Then another son, Absalom, killed Amnon. The list goes on and it gets far worse. One adversity after another within his own household. Do you have adversity in your families? You might ask the Lord where you disobeyed His word.

Acting independent of God is the work of our flesh. John 6:63 says that our flesh profits nothing. That means not one thing we do in our own strength has any benefit. In fact, it throws us into spiritual decline rather than growth. What is God’s antidote for one who is spiritually barren? Isaiah 54 was written to Israel. We can make a personal application. It says, “Sing, O barren. You who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud…” Our flesh bears no fruit.

When we are spiritually fruitless, we need to go to God’s word. It is like an owner’s manual. We can use it to troubleshoot. Here are some examples. You are feeling depressed. Proverbs 12:25 says, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.” There is the root to the problem and the solution.

Here is another. You are feeling fearful yet there is no danger. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” First of all, the fear is not from God. It is a fiery dart lie from the enemy of your soul. The truth is God’s provision for all of His children. Power. Love. Sound mind. A sound mind is disciplined through patterns. We gain understanding of how our thoughts should be through applying God’s word to our lives daily.

We are called into a holy calling. We are equipped through His word. Obedience brings blessings and not cursing. When you have time you might go back and read about that in Deuteronomy 28. Though it was written to Israel, we can apply it to our hearts. 2 Peter 1:3 says that He has given us all things to prosper in our walk with Him. It comes through our relationship with the Lord. He showers the humble with His grace, but He resists the proud who walk in their flesh.

Living In Dependence On One

Waiting tries our independent spirit to the max. Anytime we act independent of God, we are acting in our flesh. All actions are preceded by thoughts. Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord.” There is a great example for us in 2 Samuel 6:1-8. 

Years ago this section became very alive for me. I was the secretary for our church at the time we were in a church split. We were praying before we began our work day. As I was praying, I felt this in my spirit: do not stretch out your hand to steady what I am shaking. That lesson has remained with me.

God had a prescribed way that the ark was to be carried. When David attempted to bring the ark back, they put it on a new cart. When the oxen stumbled, Uzzah put his hand out to steady the ark. God struck him dead. You can read it all for yourself. God’s way was for the priests to bear the ark on their shoulders with poles.

God’s ways are far higher than our ways. When we seek to do something in our own way, He will shake it. You might look back in your life and remember times when you attempted to do something independent of the Lord. It didn’t turn out well. How many times does He oppose our way, yet we keep pressing through?

Balaam is another example. The Lord told him not to go and he went. Numbers 22:22 says that the Angel of the Lord stood against him as an adversary. Verse 32 says, “…Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your way is perverse before me.” Proverbs 11:3 says, “The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.”

Perverse means to be contrary. 1 Peter 3:9 says, “Not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.” The path of the obedient is strewn with grace, blessing, and favor. The path of the disobedient? Proverbs 13:15 Amplified says, “…the way of the transgressor is hard (like the barren, dry soil or the impassable swamp).”

Are you stuck in the quagmire of your own making? That is what happens when we act independently of God. 2 Peter 1:9 is the fruit of not doing what God has said to do. In this case it is to add to our faith. It says, “For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.”

We forget that we are not our own. 1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” God’s way for us is clearly outlined in His word. John 15:5 clearly states a truth that should govern our heart. It says, “…for without Me you can do nothing.” Let that be a banner over our lives, especially when the Lord tells us to wait. Waiting His way is heart-dependence.

Recovering All

In 2018 I had a fraudulent charge on my credit card. It was my error. I was working on my computer and this notice came across my screen that I needed to immediately call Apple (I have a MAC). I didn’t know how to get the notice off my screen so I called. I have many times shared my screen with Apple because it is easier than having them try to explain something to me. I’m a visual learner.

I should have… Ever had ‘should have’s’ in your life? I didn’t realize what was happening until I got a phone call later in the evening asking for my credit card. Long story short. The Lord reminded me of all this when I woke up the next morning. I went into my bank account and could not get in. They had changed my sign in, but had not yet figured out my password. The bank stepped in and stopped the whole thing.

Had I immediately inquired of the Holy Spirit when my screen was blocked out, it would have saved me a lot of hassle. Every time we encounter a new obstacle in our path, we need to stop and ask the Holy Spirit what to do.

We can take another lesson from the life of David. I love this passage in 2 Samuel 5:17-25. Two exact same scenes, yet David specifically inquired of the Lord for each. It is far too easy to fall back on some way that the Lord delivered us before. His mercies are new every morning. Every situation we encounter has His unique way of deliverance. That is where trust comes in.

Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” David listened and then did exactly as the Lord instructed. That is what brought the breakthrough in the battle with the Philistines (which speak of our flesh).

Our flesh is what causes us to veer off the path the Holy Spirit is leading us on. We ‘think’ that we know what to do. Psalm 23:3 says, “…He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” That path of righteousness is working God’s will and ways into our thought processes which then affects how we walk.

2 Samuel 5:18 says that the Philistines had deployed themselves. David asked the Lord if he should go up against them. The Lord told him to and that He would deliver them. There was a great breakthrough. David named the place Baal Perazim. He said in verse 20, “…The Lord has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water…”

In verse 22 the Philistines again deployed themselves. Same scene, but David stopped and inquired of the Lord. This time his instructions were totally different. Verses 23-24 are my ‘go to’ verses. It says, “…You shall not go up, circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. And it shall be when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly…” Waiting is a trial that reveals any hidden flesh.

When we don’t wait, we veer off God’s chosen path. Verse 24 continued…”For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.” When we wait for the Holy Spirit to lead us in our battle to recover all, He will then expose our fleshly stronghold so that we can defeat and destroy it.

We are never to go out without Him leading us. That only causes us to act independently and sin. We cannot walk in the dark. We are children of light. The Holy Spirit leads us into the light that illuminates what has been hidden. Only He knows where and what. 

Waiting, watching, listening for the sound to advance. Not moving until the Lord says to move tries our faith. Will we continue to wait? Saul didn’t wait and he lost his kingdom. We will forfeit the moment of opportunity that the Lord has set up if we are not attentive. Years ago my pastor wrote me a little note: seize the opportunity in the moment of the opportunity. 

Recovering All That Was Stolen

What has been stolen from you? What have you lost that you once had? How has the enemy of your soul pilfered your goods? Years ago we used to sing: I went to the enemy’s camp and I took back what he stole from me…

David and his men had their wives, their children, and all their livestock stolen. Their city was burned. Every time I read this story in 1 Samuel 30, I picture the scene like this. David and his 600 men were coming back from Gath. They were exhausted.

As they crested the hill and looked down on Ziklag, how did they emotionally process what they saw? Verse 4 says, “Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep.”

Verse 6 says, “Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters…” What? Stoning him? How did David respond? The verse goes on to say, “…But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”

David leaned hard on the Lord. He asked the Lord very specifically what he should do. Verse 8  says, “So David inquired of the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them? And He answered him, Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.” 

Verse 19 says, “…David recovered all.” Wow! Recover all. That is the Lord’s promise to us as well. When we arm ourselves with the smooth stone-verses needed to fell our giant, we have promises in His word to lean on. Think back to the life of Job. After he obeyed the Lord in praying for his ‘friends’ the Lord restored his losses.

God’s word is backed by His faithfulness. Isaiah 55:11 says that His word cannot fail. It will not return to Him void. Titus 1:2 says that God cannot lie. 2 Timothy 2:13 says that God cannot deny Himself. John 3:34 says that God does not give His Spirit by measure.

John 10:10 brings it all into God’s perspective. It says, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” We were never called to be in want or to lack anything needed to run our race of faith.

2 Peter 1:3 says, “As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue.” ALL things. The condition is met through our relationship with the Lord. The more time we spend communing with Him, gazing at Him, the more we come to know His ways.

1 John 5:3 says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” The law was a burden that no one could carry. Jesus came to fulfill the law. Romans 6:14 says, “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”

To keep His word, is to obey Him in all His ways. Our progressive sanctification is a path of obedience. As we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us, He will always lead us into truth. Things were stolen from us, when we veered off the path He had us on. 2 Timothy 2:25-26 says, “…if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”

Captivity to satan makes us spiritually weak. That was his whole point. He wanted to capture us so that he could destroy our faith. Isaiah 5:13 and Hosea 4:6 point the finger at our lack of knowledge. In order to strengthen our faith, we have to know the Lord and His ways. He strengthens our faith through our trials. He uses them to expose and remove the dross that was hidden by satan to undermine our faith. Do you, like David, know how to strengthen yourself in the Lord when attacked by the enemy?

The Honor Of Obedience

Twice, it seemed, that the Lord had set it up for David to kill Saul. Both stories are intriguing. 1 Samuel 24:2 says that Saul had 3,000 men. Verse 3 says that Saul, “…came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to attend to his needs. (David and his men were staying in the recess of the cave.)”

David’s men felt that it was a perfect set up. They urged David to kill Saul. David secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe. Verse 5 says, “Now it happened afterward that David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul’s robe.”

Listen to David’s honor of God’s word. Verse 6 says, “…The Lord forbid that I should do this thing to my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.”

Watch this next time. Saul was asleep and his men were asleep around him. 1 Samuel 26:12 says, “…For they were all asleep, because a deep sleep from the Lord had fallen on them.” David and Abishai crept up to them unnoticed. In verse 8 Abishai said to David, “..God has delivered your enemy into your hand…”

In verse 9 David told Abishai to not strike the king, “…Do not destroy him; for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord’s anointed, and be guiltless?” David instructed Abishai to take the spear and jug of water.

David was honoring God’s word by obeying it. Psalm 105:15 says, “…Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.” David understood that God had given him the kingdom, but it would be in God’s impeccable timing. 1 Samuel 26:10 says, “…As the Lord lives, the Lord shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish.” David’s words were prophetic.

What about us? Do we have the honor of obedience? I’m working on memorizing the first 15 verses in Psalm 119. I’m stumbling over some of the words. Verse 13 says, “With my lips I have declared all the judgments of Your mouth.” Have you? I haven’t. All means no exception.

Our obedience is an outward show of a heart that honors the Lord above all else. Psalm 119:2 says, “Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart.” John 14:21 says, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me…”

John 5:19 says that the Son can do nothing of Himself. Verse 20 says, “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does…” John 3:35 says, “The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand.” 

Philippians 2:8 says of Jesus, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” The Father’s love for the Son, and the Son’s love for the Father is not within our ability to comprehend now.

When we truly grasp how much the Lord loves us, our natural heart’s response is obedience. We honor Him through our wholeheartedness. We obey His word because He first loved us. All we have to give Him is our heart. Psalm 119:10 says, “With my whole heart I have sought You; oh, let me not wander from Your commandments.”

Psalm 138:2 says, “I will worship toward Your holy temple, and praise Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth; for You have magnified Your word above Your name.” We magnify the Lord when we obey His word from a heart of love.

The Battle Is Always The Lord’s

David made another faith statement as he faced his giant. In 1 Samuel 17:47 he continued his faith proclamation to Goliath. It says, “Then all this assembly shall know that the Lord does not save with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord’s, and He will give you into our hands.”

In verse 48 it says that David hurried and ran to meet the Philistine. Verse 50 says, “So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David.”

With his sling, David’s stone found its mark and took out his giant. The Philistines speak of our flesh. Our flesh taunts our spirit. We know from 2 Corinthians 10:4 that our weapons are not of the flesh. It says they are, “…mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.”

Verse 3 Amplified says, “For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons.” Psalm 149:6 says, “Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand.”

2 Chronicles 20 is a great chapter. Verse 1 says that the people of Moab, Ammon, and others came to battle against Jehoshaphat. In verse 12 his prayer from verse 6 continued. “…For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” 

Verse 17 is a verse we can stand in also. It says, “You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you…Do not fear or be dismayed…” Verse 20 says, “…Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”

Jehoshaphat appointed singers to go out before the army. Verse 21 says, “…those who should praise the beauty of holiness…” Verse 22 says, “Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people…and they were defeated.”

Armed with stone verses we use them to praise our God. We can run towards our giant because the victory has already been won. Colossians 2:15 says, “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” Jesus’ finished work on the cross is our battle cry.

Let’s go back to when Saul tried to get David to wear his armor. Remember that Saul was head and shoulders above all the people of Israel. David was still a young man. He put on Saul’s armor. 1 Samuel 17:39 says, “David fastened his sword to his armor and tried to walk, for he had not tested them. And David said to Saul; I cannot walk with these, for I have not tested them. So David took them off.”

We cannot successfully fight our giant by just quoting a verse. It needs to be a ‘tested’ verse. Meaning that it’s a verse we have used through experience. It is a truth that is embedded in our heart that has set us free. It’s a smooth stone that has gone through the waters so that the rough edges are worn away.

Stone verses are smooth so that they hit their target and penetrate. We use the truth of His word as praise as we face our giant. Let’s take the giant of fear. It rises up to impact us when we fall into a hard trial. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” When this verse has become part of our heart, we can use it to praise the Lord.

We don’t pray, ‘Lord be with me’ because He is! We use our stone verse like this, “Lord, I know that You are with me right now. You are my Present Help. I praise You because I am enveloped in Your Presence. Every breath I take I am breathing in Your Presence. Thank You for Your sustaining power.” Our praise comes from a heart that knows the stone verse personally through prior experiences. The Lord truly is Present. He inhabits our praise and the giant of fear is felled.

David Countered His giant With Faith

What giant in your life can defeat you? None! Colossians 3:3 says, “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” We cannot be more secure than we are. What are giants? They are works of our flesh that we have allowed to remain to taunt us. Do you feel like you are a captive to bad habits? A habit is the play out of our thoughts.

Let’s take a lesson from David. What death words did Goliath sling out at David? 1 Samuel 17:44 says, “…Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field!” How did David counter? Verse 45 says, “…You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, who you have defied.”

Now watch David’s faith declaration in verse 46. It says, “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you…that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.”

Fear is a huge giant that seeks to oppose our faith. What do we do to counter fear? First we must remember that fear is a spirit. 2 Timothy 1:7 is a familiar verse. Yet, when we use it as a stone in our sling of faith, it will fell our giant. It says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

When we interact with fear, our thoughts get scattered. A sound mind is ordered though disciplined thought patterns. How do thoughts form? From what we believe. Our heart is our belief system. When we hide God’s word in our heart, it will be our smooth stone to position in our sling of faith. There are countless verses we can hide in our heart that will be ready stones.

Anger. James 1:19-20 says, “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not promote the righteousness of God.” Anger is an inward reaction when our will is crossed. Righteousness is our thoughts, purpose, and actions conformed to God’s will.

Doubt. According to James 1:6-8, doubt makes us unstable. It divides our thoughts. It defies who God is at all times. He does not change. David had a great prayer that we can use as a stone. Psalm 86:11 says, “…unite my heart to fear Your name.” Wholeheartedness is one with God’s word. We bring it into our lives and walk it out through our conversations and actions.

Worry. Another word for worry is to fret. Psalm 37:8 says, “…do not fret–it only causes harm.” To fret means to rub away. That is what worry does in our physical bodies. Bone on bone is the fruit of worry. Matthew 6:25 is God’s command. It says, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life…” Worry is the wrong focus. Verse 33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”

Did you note that fear, anger, doubt, and worry all affect our walk in righteousness. Isaiah 32:17 says, “The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.” I encourage you to think about the flesh-giants in your life. Then ask the Holy Spirit to help you gather the stone verses that you need. Hide them in your heart so they are ready to fit into your faith sling.

Discontentment: satan’s lethal weapon

Have you ever put these two words together? Discontentment and disobedience were the words the Holy Spirit connected for me. I doubt that I had ever thought of them together before. It really grabbed my attention and I thought about them off and on throughout that day.

We know that satan has weapons to destroy our faith. He knows that our faith is essential to our endurance. Paul called them ‘wiles’ in Ephesians 6:11. He encouraged his readers to, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

We gain essential understanding from Ephesians 2:2 about how we were before salvation. It says, “In which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.”

Discontentment leads to disobedience. When we disobey the Lord, that opens the door for satan to work through our disobedience against God and others. Beware when niggling thoughts of discontent wiggle in. They are spiritual parasites looking for a place to embed. Note: a parasite lives off its host.

Think of these sins: adultery, fornication, jealousy, envy, lust, and stealing. What do they have in common? Discontent. They see something they don’t have and allow their desire for it to overtake them. Each one of these sins goes against God’s written word.

Psalm 119:36 says, “Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to covetousness.” Hebrews 13:5 says, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have.”

Let’s think about David for a moment. God chose him to be the king because he was a man after God’s heart. Yet David got derailed because of covetousness. He was supposed to be leading his army in battle. Instead he stayed home. 

He saw and coveted Bathsheba. When he found out who her husband was, he made preparations for him to be killed. Uriah was one of David’s 37 mighty men! He lied. He destroyed his honor. He sinned against God. 

Paul said he learned to be content. It is a lesson we all must learn. A thought of discontent is satan’s strategic fiery dart. The only way to counter that attack is through our faith.

Ephesians 6:16 says, “Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench ALL the fiery darts of the wicked one.” Isaiah 59:19 says, “So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun; when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”

That ‘standard’ is God’s word hidden in our heart. The Holy Spirit brings it into our mind so that we might use it as a defensive weapon. As we repeat it our faith is increased. We are empowered to stand and to keep on standing in the face of the dart of discontentment. 1 Timothy 6:6 says, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.” Notice ‘now’ is present tense. Is this verse hidden in your heart?

Training Our Hearts To Obey

We have a perfect illustration from Saul’s actions of what not to do. The root to his disobedience was clearly defined by Samuel. 1 Samuel 15:9. May these words never define our heart. It says, “…and were unwilling…” Verse 11 was the Lord’s words to Samuel. It says, “…he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed my commandments.”

Let’s look at what Samuel said to Saul in another incident of disobedience. 1 Samuel 13:14 says, “But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after His own heart…” I love Psalm 63. David’s words are so precious to me because they express my heart.

Psalm 63:1 says, “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.” Verse 8 in the Amplified says, “My whole being follows hard after You and clings closely to You; Your right hand upholds me.”

When I was young I often heard that God chose David because he was a man after God’s heart. In my mind I thought it meant that David was like God’s heart. However, David’s Psalms reveal his heart’s cry of a seeker.

Psalm 27:4 says, “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek…” Verse 8 says, “When You said, Seek My face, my heart said to You, Your face, Lord, I will seek.” Are you a seeker? Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Diligence is a deep heart character quality. There is no wavering, hemming or hawing, but perseverance and dedication to obedience. Let’s look at what was said about David. In 1 Samuel 16:14 God sent a distressing spirit on Saul. His servants suggested he look for a skillful harp player.

Verse 18 says that one of the servants brought up David, “…who is…a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the Lord is with him.” These are apt descriptions of David’s heart.

This is said of Jesus who is our pattern. Hebrews 5:8 says, “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.” 1 Peter 2:23 is another of His examples for us to follow. It says, “Who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously.”

Our trials are designed to train our heart to respond to God’s loving correction. Hebrews 12:11 says, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

When we grow resentful and weary of our trial, it is a clear indication that we are not being trained by it. Resentment, bitterness, and impatience are fruits of our resistant flesh. Paul trained his heart to obey in whatever circumstances he found himself in.

When I think of all that Paul went through, I have nothing to complain about in comparison. You can read 2 Corinthians 11:23-33 for a refresher. Philippians 4:11 says, “…I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content…”

Lack of contentment often leads to disobedience. To be content is to embrace all that the Lord is doing in our lives. It is not looking back and wishing that things were different. It is living in His Presence and gazing upon Him. Paul said in Philippians 3:13, “…forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” The path of obedience is strewn with grace.