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“Extremes are easy. Strive for balance.”
As the quote above implies, it takes a specific grace to walk in moderation. It takes intentional discipline to live a life that is in balance. Balance is defined as “a state of equilibrium; equal distribution of weight or amount; mental steadiness or emotional stability; a habit of calm behavior and judgment”. Balance denotes order, structure, design and intentionality.
I am not sure how or when but somewhere in our culture we have normalized imbalance and extremism. We are overworked, overscheduled, not engaged at home, popping pills to go to sleep, popping pills to wake up, ministering to others while neglecting our homes, ministering to others while neglecting our own mental health, and the list goes on and on! This is not how we were designed to live. We were created by our Heavenly Father to live lives that are a balanced expression of His grace in the earth realm.
“But what appeared to be a defeat was actually the greatest victory of all.”
The audacious and tenacious faith we possess to declare victory in all circumstances and over all adversity is rooted in our connection to the victory of Jesus Christ. We are conquerors because Jesus Christ emerged triumphant over Death, Hell, and the Grave and by virtue of His victory righteousness and justification have been imputed to us. Moreover, our justification through faith in Him has given us access to His efficacious grace whereby we are empowered to stand victoriously!
The term conqueror refers to one who overcomes or wins in war utterly vanquishing forces that oppose them. In Romans 8:37, we are declared to be superior or greater than conquerors as it relates to those things that would attempt to disqualify or alienate us because of the superior force of God’s love which has won us an incontrovertible victory! The enemy and his opposing forces don’t stand a chance against us when we recognize the authority we walk in because of the gift of His grace!
“The power of 100 proud men cannot influence the world as much as one humble servant of God.”
In a world that promotes self-serving and egocentric behavior, humility is often a priceless commodity frequently overlooked. Attention grabbing activities aimed at bolstering already inflated egos seem to be commonplace on television and in the media. Unfortunately for many it seems that humility has taken a backseat to ambitious pride and arrogance.
One of the reasons I believe that humility is overlooked and obscured is because many people erroneously perceive meekness to be a weakness rather than a virtue. Humility does not mean that you have low self-esteem nor does it mean that that you must allow people to walk over you like a doormat. Quite simply, humility means that you recognize that all of your virtues, talents, resources, and intellect come from God and the confidence that you display is a result of your complete dependence upon Him for all things! The strength of the humble person rests in the fact that their power is rooted in their identity, relationship and reliance upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
“We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.”
- Richard G. Scott
Many people erroneously construe that failure is the result of a lack of talent, lack of skill, or some other inherent virtue or grace. The reality is that failure is often the consequence of inconsistency. Consistency is probably one of the most underrated disciplines on our planet yet when you look at most successful people you will find that they possess the steadfast adherence to a set of principles, course of actions, or form that is definitive of consistency. Quite plainly, if we want to be successful we must learn to be consistent!
I came across a great article entitled “The Art of Being Consistent” by Carly Benson on the Miracles Are Brewing website that I decided to share. Benson practically discusses the importance of being consistent and how it can be implemented in our lives. I believe her simple but direct approach will lay out plainly for us how we can engage in the Art of Consistency and win!
- Dr. Craig L. Oliver
THE ART OF BEING CONSISTENT – Carly Benson
Consistency is the core of any commitment.
If you want to build something long lasting, you must build it with consistency at the foundation. This holds true in business and in relationships. It’s hard to keep trust in tact without remaining true to your promises and efforts on a reoccurring basis. If you are being inconsistent with someone or something, don’t be surprised if it fails. It is human nature to need stability and dependability to flourish or become something of permanence. If something isn’t working in your life, ask yourself if you have been giving it consistent attention, energy and time. In most cases, failure is simply a lack of consistency.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
How can walking in forgiveness be a tactical strategy for walking in victory? When we consider the strategy of the overcomer, the concept of forgiveness does not immediately come to mind. I propose, however, that forgiveness is one of the most powerful weapons that the believer can have in their arsenal. Forgiveness brings a restorative freedom in the life of the child of God shedding light in areas that would otherwise be consumed by darkness.
“It’s worth taking a risk when motivated by faith in God.”
Faith is a fundamental virtue in the life of every believer. In order to victorious we must have faith that God is who He says He is, can do what He says He can do, and that He is efficacious in accomplishing everything that He has planned for our lives! Faith is critical to our status as WINNERS!
The Bible declares in Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” If we are going to be successful in this journey of life then by all means we must begin with faith. It takes faith to please God. It takes faith to access the grace that allows us to even receive the free gift of salvation. The Christian journey begins from a posture of faith!
“When you enter His presence with praise, He enters your circumstances with power.”
Praise is one of the many tools that positions us to access the grace that enables us to be victorious in every aspect of our lives! Praise is man’s response to who God is and as such it solicits and invokes the Presence of the Lord becoming an indomitable force employed by the believer. Praise literally infuses the essence of who He is into our everyday circumstances! We can’t help but win when we praise our God!
Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance.
We have a choice that has been set before us. We can either be victims who are overwhelmed by the circumstances of our lives or we can be victors who triumphantly overcome in every context of life. Regardless of the hand that you were forced to play I want you to emphatically proclaim Better is Before Me and allow that to serve as the impetus behind your perception of yourself.
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
Generally speaking, our Western understanding of the meaning of hope has been relegated to a feeling or desire for something favorable to happen. But there is so much more to hope that makes it an essential commodity for victorious living. Unlike a wish or longing, hope actually implies real expectation of obtaining what is desired. The Hebrew word for hope is tikvah defined by Strong’s as a cord, expectation, and hope. In this sense, hope is not something that is abstract, but rather, it is something that is tangible enough for us to grasp it with our proverbial ‘hands of faith’.
The sooner you step away from your comfort zone, you’ll realize that it really wasn’t all that comfortable.
As uncomfortable as breaking out of our comfort zones may be, the benefits of doing so are undeniable. The fear of the familiar can be quite formidable, but it can be surmounted through strategic and intentional methods. Over the last two weeks we have discussed the benefits and strategies of breaking out of our comfort zones via an article that I shared from LifeHacker.com by Alan Henry entitled The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone (and Why You Should). We will conclude our discussion this week through the final portion of the article that concerns itself with utilizing balance in breaking out of our comfort zones and making it a habit to stretch ourselves. As I’ve indicated throughout the time that I’ve shared from this article, I believe that it practically addresses the issue of stretching ourselves and will challenge us in a practical way.
Dr. Craig L. Oliver, Sr. #ebcBETTER
Why It's Important to Return to Your Comfort Zone from Time to Time
You can't live outside of your comfort zone all the time. You need to come back from time to time to process your experiences. The last thing you want is for the new and interesting to quickly become commonplace and boring. This phenomenon, called hedonistic adaptation, is the natural tendency to be impressed by new things only to have the incredible become ordinary after a short time. It's why we can have access to the greatest repository of human knowledge ever created (the internet) at our fingertips (on our smartphones) and still get so bored that all we think of is how quickly we can get newer, faster access. In one way it drives us forward, but in another it keeps us from appreciating the subtle and the everyday. Here are some ways to break out (and by proxy, expand) your comfort zone without going too far: