Streams in the Desert: Morning and Evening
By L.B. Cowman, Compiler
(Edited by Marlin D. Harris)
“In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
Romans 8:37 (NIV)
This is more than victory. This is a triumph so complete that we not only have escaped defeat and destruction but also have destroyed our enemies and won plunder so rich and valuable that we can actually thank God for the battle. How is it that we can be “more than conquerors”? We are more than conquerors because we receive from the conflict a spiritual discipline that will greatly strengthen our faith and establish our spiritual character, and assure us victory in the next battle. That time-tested refrain from one of the old hymns of the church, still rings in each man’s heart with a truth more clear today than ever before: “Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin. Each victory will help us some other to win.”
Temptations, test and trials are necessary to establish and ground us in our spiritual life. It is like the fierce winds that cause the mighty cedars on the mountainside to sink their roots more deeply into the soil. Our spiritual conflicts are among our most wonderful blessings, and the Adversary is used to train us for his own ultimate defeat. The ancient Phrygians of Asia Minor had a legend that every time they conquered an enemy, they absorbed the physical strength of their victims and added to their own strength and bravery. And in truth, meeting temptation victoriously doubles our spiritual strength and weaponry.
Therefore it is possible not only to defeat our enemy but also to capture him and make him fight in our ranks. The prophet Isaiah tells of “fly[ing] upon the shoulders of the Philistines” (Isaiah 11:14 KJV). These Philistines were their deadly foes, but this passage suggests that they would be able not only to conquer the Philistines but also to ride on their backs to further triumphs. Just as a skilled sailor can use a head wind to carry him forward, by using its impelling power to follow a zigzag course, it is possible for us in our spiritual life, through the victorious grace of God, to turn completely around the things that seem most unfriendly and unfavorable. Then we will be able to say continually, “What has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel” (Philippians 1:12).
Early sailors believed the coral-building animals instinctively built up the great reefs of the Atoll Islands in order to protect themselves in the inner waterway. He has shown these organisms can only live and thrive facing the open ocean in the highly oxygenated foam of the combative waves.
It is commonly thought that a protected and easy life is the best way to live. Yet the lives of all the noblest and strongest people prove exactly the opposite and that the endurance of hardship is the making of the person. It is the factor that distinguishes between merely existing and living a vigorous life. Hardship builds character. SELECTED
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him (2 Corinthians 2:14).
Father, thank You for not just freeing me from temptations, tests, and trials. Thank You for the overwhelming victory You have given me over my defeated enemy. Will You forgive me when I fail to remember that You have already fought my battles, and won? Please help me to live a life characterized by the victory You have given me. I am more than a conqueror, for Your glory. Amen.
The Living Bible Translation of Psalm 34:4 says, “For I cried to him, and he answered me! He freed me from all my fears.” What great comfort that He answers and that He answers in favor of freedom. Psalm 34 might be a good starting place for 3 to 5 minutes of ‘Worship and Prayer’ for today. It certainly is a great reminder of what the Lord is doing for us. As you pray, remember that victory in Christ is the freedom to enjoy the life He has designed for us—a life lived with that design is the freest of all, and, consequently, where we will bring Him the most glory.
L.B. COWMAN. Streams in the Desert: Morning and Evening Devotions (p. 35-36). Zondervan.
Published on Jan 22 @ 12:24 AM EDT