TIME TO CLEAR THE DECK
Updated: Sep 3, 2020
It’s time to get focused on what is true. To “clear the deck” means to prepare for combat by removing all unnecessary gear; to get rid of all hindrances when preparing for an activity.
“Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” ~ Psalm 46: 10
The COVID19 pandemic has brought the world to a halt. Noone could have imagined that this is what life would look like today. We are living it and it’s still hard to wrap our minds around it; it’s a struggle to process what is actually happening around the globe. Loss of life at such a scale. Our hearts bleed for those that have gone before us; yet we are reminded by the word of God not to grieve like those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4 : 13). Jesus Christ has conquered the grave, that is why the Apostle Paul so boldly wrote:
“O’ death where is your victory? O’death where is your sting?” ~ 1 Corinthians 15: 55
As believers we are commanded to “mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12: 15). God’s compassion for our world shall flow through us. That’s our purpose at this time! May the compassion of God be felt through our hearts and hands now more than ever. Let’s seek ways to show love to our neighbors.
We are now well into weeks of isolation everywhere on this earth.Our schedules were cleared for us, simplified to the basic necessities of life. For most it has been a period of great challenge. Isolation in prison is a form of punishment; sensory deprivation and no human contact is considered a form of torture. Naturally a time of isolation even though it’s nowhere near the trauma of solitary confinement can create pain. We still have choices even in this time where things are beyond our control. Isolation in the bible is a time of separation from all things to be fully present with God. Jesus often went away from the crowds and his disciples into the wilderness to pray.
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” ~ Luke 5: 16
God became flesh (John 1: 14) to be our example of how to live in this life. If Jesus Christ who was fully God and fully man, needed time away from everything to connect with the Father, how much more do we need this? Books have been written by people who felt compelled to walk away from their lives to gain clarity. There’s something powerful about clearing the decks in our lives. We don’t all have the luxury of drastic acts to get out of the world we have created around us, but we do all have something even greater - the opportunity to retreat into prayer at any time. This is how we gain clarity and renew our strength (Isaiah 40: 31).
“But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father who sees everything will reward you.” ~ Matthew 6 : 6
When the external deck has been cleared, we have to do the clearing of our internal deck. To stop all the noise, chatter, and negativity that’s constantly going on inside of our hearts and minds so that we can hear God. That clean heart state can only be achieved through Christ. Alone we can’t do it, but we have a promise that if we ask, seek, and knock our desires will be fulfilled. That’s why King David in Psalm 51:10 asked, “create in me a clean heart O’God and renew a right spirit within me.”
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” ~ Matthew 7 : 7 - 8
How about when I’m not sure what God is saying? Pray and fast. Fasting creates an environment to hear the Lord. To know His perfect will. Wouldn’t our lives be simpler if we could just eliminate the confusion? I know I have been in a cycle where I didn’t know what to do, so I just kept doing the same thing, and the frustration kept mounting on me. I forgot that I could just stop and be still. At any timeI had the choice to remove all hindrances and seek the guidance of the Creator.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” ~ Albert Einstein
The greater the battle the more precision we need to overcome. Are you facing a big battle? It’s not time to fumble. Why hold back and not use all of the tools that God gave us? In His wisdom God already knew what we would face in this life and showed us through the life of Christ how to live. At the beginning of His ministry Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights (Matthew 4: 4 - 11). Think on that. Something supernatural happens when we shut down our appetites in fasting. The flesh yields to the spirit. It’s easy to forget that we are spiritual beings having an earthly experience (Philippians 3 : 20 - 21). The world deceives us to think that we are earthly beings seeking a spiritual experience. This way we get caught up in what’s happening around us and lose our direction and our peace. We get lost and burdened beyond what we can bear when we neglect our spirituality (the quality of being a spirit).
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12: 9
The danger of being conformed to the world is very real, we must renew our minds daily with the word of God (Romans 12: 2). All day long we are bombarded by messages, and if we hear something enough times we can fall into the trap of taking it to be true. The decks of our lives can literally overflow with falsehoods. That’s why the bible says, test every spirit to see if it is from God (1 John 4 : 1). God is greater than what we can imagine or comprehend. It’s natural to put our own limitations on God.
The natural mind can’t understand the power of God. Even the disciples would forget who Jesus was despite witnessing all His miracles. In Mark 8 Jesus had already performed several miracles relating to food when the disciples thought that He was upset with them because they had forgotten to bring some bread with them. Jesus turned water into wine (John 2: 1 - 10), fed 5,000 men with five loaves of bread and two fish (Matthew 14: 13 - 21), and fed 4,000 with seven loaves and a few small fish (Matthew 15: 29 - 39). Clearly bread was not an issue. Jesus responded to the disciples:
“Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?And don’t you remember?” (Mark 8: 17 - 18).
The disciple’s minds were stuck on the earthly; their understanding was physical. Despite seeing and experiencing the miracles of Jesus they soon forgot that God (who is Christ) was with them, and they didn’t need to concern themselves with bread. How often do we get stuck on a “bread issue” and forget that God is with us and has promised to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13: 5)?
When the deck is clear, the truth remains, it will never cease or fail. Therefore we will be able to stand.
What are you doing to actively clear your deck for the battle before you?
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