Monday, May 5, 2014

Message #75- Fellowship as a weapon

John 10:10- The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

1 Peter 5:8- Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Philippians 2:12- Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling

Hebrews 10:24-25- And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching

It was a sad day for me when I turned in my uniform because adrenal disease had progressed to the point in which I could no longer run competitively.  Most of my inner circle advised me to let it go and focus on the positives.  After all, I was still an A-student with a bright future and loved by friends and family.  While I certainly do advocate being thankful and “counting your blessings,” I need to share a strong caution.  We are facing an enemy with an insatiable desire to steal, kill and destroy.  Yes, there are doors that God will shut for your benefit and/or protection but I knew in my heart that at least in my case, running was not one of them.  With prayerful discernment, I believe that you can recognize the difference between a door closed by God and theft by the enemy.  Unless you are sure that it is a locked door, DO NOT accept defeat in any area of life, EVER!  Suppose that a thief stole maybe $10 per week from your checking account and you let him get away with it.  Odds are that he will be emboldened and go for $20 next week and so on.  Let me quickly break down the stages of Adrenal Fatigue:
Stage 1- A little irritable under stress but otherwise asymptomatic
Stage 2- Performance begins to decline.  Need stimulants to function at a high level.  Close friends may be concerned but you appear healthy on the surface.
Stage 3- Significant decline.  Visibly sick.  Often have trouble holding a job.
Stage 4- Totally disabled.  Bedridden.  

The enemy was not content with simply taking away my ability to compete in college. If I had allowed it, he would have taken pretty much everything from my job to my relationships and even my life itself.  As the disease progressed, my exercise capacity continued to diminish.  Grades started slipping and I was obviously unwell in job interviews.  Thus, my once bright employment prospects faded.   I did not answer my phone on my worst days because I simply want to be left alone.  I have spoken to several people who have gone through a painful divorce or break up as a result of this disease.
Now, on to the parallels.  When it comes to weapons at our disposal that I have referenced many times (church, Bible, prayer, fellowship), I find that it is fellowship that is most underestimated.  When I felt like giving up, my friend Chris who has the gift of prophecy, told me repeatedly to keep searching because eventually I would “find the key” but I would have to “go off the beaten path” to find it.  The key turned out to be a liver cleanse and an obscure mineral called molybdenum to bind excess copper.
Based on personal observations, I have found that “falling in with the wrong crowd” is quite often the culprit for people who backslide away from God.  Like the progression of adrenal fatigue, it’s a slow fade.  One of my friends likened it to drifting in the ocean.  You don’t even realize it is happening but several hours pass and you realize that you are a hundred yards down the beach.  I don’t know much about Justin Beiber or his music but I do recall hearing that when he was 15 or 16, he referenced his Christian faith many times in a book.  Now, 3-4 years later, Beiber is a known pot smoker who smiled in his mug shot as he was arrested for DUI.  Some people with adrenal fatigue deteriorate faster than others but many can and do stay productive in Stage 2 for several years.  I managed to do so in one of the worst environments for the adrenals: College.  Nobody goes from simply “a little irritable” to totally disabled overnight.  Nobody goes from a faithful follower of Christ to a pleasure seeking hedonist overnight either.  It is unfortunate that a single sinful choice can have life-altering consequences so don’t even give the enemy an opening to attack.  I test my body regularly to ensure that my health remains on the right track in the natural.  When it comes to spiritual health, I find that it is Godly companionship that is most effective in keeping yourself accountable and prevents you from drifting away.  Stay on the narrow road.

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