In this life, we all go through some struggles, troubles, or problems. For example, we have illnesses, job losses, immigration matters, and relationship issues either through our spouses, children, or co-workers. The book of Ephesians 6:12 says that “for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” In such a time like this and when these situations in our lives occur, we cannot but need help. The greater help and power that we need during those situations can only come from our Lord. Psalm 121:1, “I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help,” talks of where our help is coming from. For He has promised to keep us from all evils and calamities as He continues to watch over us. Hence, we must look up to our God, the author, and finisher of our faith. Let us consider some of the ways to look up to God which include:
KNOWING GOD: “The people that know their God shall be strong and shall carry out great exploits.” – Daniel 11:32. Firstly, one needs to confess Jesus as Lord and personal savior of one’s life. Do you know your God? He is at the door, knocking, calling, and waiting for us all to come to Him. Jesus says, “come to me all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give your rest” – Matt 11:28. 1 Peter 5:7 also encourages us to bring all worries and troubles and leave it on God for He cares for us.
FEAR OF GOD: Another way to look up to God is to have the fear of God in you, which means to reverence God. Like Abraham had the fear of the Lord and it fostered his obedience under great stress. “Do not reach out with the knife in your hand against the boy and do nothing to harm him, for I know that you fear God” (with reverence and profound respect) – Genesis 22:12.
INCREASING FAITH: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen” – Heb 11:1. Continuously increasing our faith is by studying the Word of God, praying daily, and positive confession of our faith. Put faith into action like the Shunammite woman. We are told in the scriptures that she was a “great woman” who had faith and one who showed hospitality to prophet Elisha and who God used to make sure she did not remain childless in her life as she gave birth to a son a year after the prophecy (2 Kings 4: 8-37).
REJOICING IN THE LORD: Today is Thanksgiving Sunday, which the Church has set aside to give thanks to God for all He has done for us. Let’s come before Him with an attitude of gratitude and rejoice just like one of the ten lepers who came back to appreciate Jesus for the healing (Luke 17:14-16). Our life experiences often reveal that we do not show enough gratitude to those good people in our lives who go beyond and above to assist us and sometimes we take their help for granted. As Christians, we must act like one of the ten lepers who came back to show gratitude, though not needed by our Lord Jesus Christ, after the miraculous healing of the sick lepers in question. Also let’s praise God for those things He is yet to do for us. As in the first book of Thessalonians 5:15, it says, “In all things give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for us.”
STAYING FOCUSED: Finally, let us stay focused and connected to God for He is our unending eternal salvation. “I am the vine, and you are the branches, He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit, for without me you can do nothing (John 15:5). The fruit that our heavenly Father looks to in His children is Christlikeness. To be productive, a vine must submit to pruning, the beneficial discipline of the Father and we are all encouraged to recognize and do that in our lives. “The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal 5: 22-23). Therefore, when we abide in Him, we will begin to bear those fruits mentioned in the above scriptures.
In conclusion, brothers, and sisters, look up to God as He has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will be with you until the end. “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8: 38-39).” Therefore, I encourage you to LOOK UP.
August 28, 2022 – Pastor Ebisan Igodan