KEEP PLOWING AHEAD
By: Gary L. Rodgers
How many times have we heard someone telling us to keep plowing ahead, keep at it? Well like it or not it is one of the best pieces of encouragement that you could ever hope for. This is not a phrase that should ever grow old for us. But more so than telling someone that; it is better for them and for ourselves I think if we helped them to keep plowing ahead. I’ve always said that the toughest part about being a Christian is being a Christian. When we get saved we don’t just all of a sudden start doing everything right. Even that great man of faith who showed himself to be an example for us, the Apostle Paul struggled with sin and doing what he knew that he should be doing. We struggle, and struggle, and struggle, and wonder if we are ever going to get headed off on the right foot.
WE BECOME MORE AWARE OF SATAN AS OUR ADVERSARY
Anyone who gets saved will soon come to realize that Satan is our enemy and he will do all he can to cause us to stumble and fall in our Christian walk. He will throw every temptation that he can at us. He laughs at our weakness and applauds our failures. He mocks our faith and jeers at our effort to keep plowing ahead. He interrupts our prayer life and causes us to think all sorts of terrible things when we pray. He puts things in front of us to draw away our attention from God. He whispers things in our ears that we should not listen to; and he causes us to whip our tongue like a wash cloth that we are shaking out to hang on a wash line. He knows what to put before our eyes to cause us to lust in the flesh. He knows just how to discourage us and when. He is a powerful foe, but we have the mind of Christ. We can defeat him by resisting him. And if you are saved you have already proven that you can resist him. All of these things are not something new to us.
Satan has been throwing every curve at us all along even before we got saved. The difference is that before we got saved we took pleasure in sin and we did not resist Satan until the Holy Spirit had us under such conviction to where we had seen ourselves as a hopelessly lost sinner needing a Savior. Then our eyes were opened and we saw Satan for who he really was and through the power of prayer and faith we resisted him and we accepted God’s free gift of salvation. Now because we are saved we are more aware of Satan’s tactics and we battle against sin because we have a desire to do right. Satan has beaten me down to where I couldn’t stand it any longer.
STAND ON THE SOLID ROCK WEARING THE ARMOR OF GOD
But God has set my feet on solid rock (Jesus Christ) so that I could take a stand and fight the battle of faith. I am able to defeat my enemy with the weapons of war and the armor of protection that God has given me. You too can put on the battle gear and join the fight. Everything that we have been given is for us to use to defend the faith and to make an assault on our foes to defeat them. Nowhere in scripture have we been given the sound of retreat to flee from the spiritual battlefield. And by the hand of God and through His power and might we can keep plowing ahead. Do we ever get down and discouraged? Of course we do, we all do! Sometimes we get so beaten and battered that we can’t seem to get out from under its terrible burden. But God has given us the power to get back up on our feet and fight back so that we can have the victory to slay that old dragon. We have been given a sure foundation for our faith, Jesus Christ the Rock of Ages. As a Christian we have a responsibility to defend our brothers and sisters in the faith and to encourage them to go out against those opposing giants that we all face in the faith.
WE ARE NOT ALONE IN OUR STRUGGLES
We are a part of the body of Christ therefore when one part of the body hurts the entire body feels it. When we get injured the body goes to work to heal that injury. It immediately begins a process of restoring tissue and starts to build up immunity to infection. We as a body of believers need to do the same thing. We need to restore a repentant brother or sister of the faith who has been drug down by the Devil’s snare.
We also need to stop sin in its tracks to safeguard the rest of the body to infection. Like Nehemiah we need to build with one hand and battle with the other hand. We need to follow and apply to our hearts and minds those things that are necessary to our lives as a Christian. In Nehemiah 4:9-21 I would like to outline what I see that we are offered in scripture starting with verse 9.
- We need to set a watch to guard against Satan and those that would oppose us. (verse 9)
- We all need to keep our senses keen and sensitive for self-preservation and defense against the dangers and opposition that is before us.
- In building the walls of defense we need to clear away the debris (much rubbish) from our lives those things that hinder us and so easily beset us. (verse 10)
Hebrews 12:1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every (weight), and the (sin) which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
- My Pastor and I discussed the meaning behind these two words, weight and sin as not meaning the same thing. We understand what is meant when the word sin is mentioned. But what is meant by this word weight? As he explained there are things in our lives that are not a sin if they are treated correctly. It is not a sin to be involved with sports, it is not a sin to have a nice car; but if they take precedence over our serving and obeying the LORD then they become a sin that so easily besets us. If going to sporting events and car shows keep us from getting our families into church where they can be fed with the word and grow in the LORD then it is wrong. And if it is wrong it becomes a sin for us to do that. Paul talks in 1 Corinthians 8 about eating foods that are sacrificed to an idol and how the idol as we know is nothing. It is not alive and it has no power. We do not gain or lose favor with GOD by the foods that we eat. But if in eating foods sacrificed to an idol causes another brother to stumble and go against his conscience for what he believes to be wrong, then for the sake of their weak conscience we should not do it. We must be careful in our liberty that we have through Christ not to do anything that would appear to be evil. For in doing so if it wounds the weak conscience of a brother then it will be counted as a sin against Christ.
To continue with Nehemiah 4:10
- We need to let go of the world (much rubbish) and hold onto Christ.
In this thought I am reminded of, and encouraged by a woman of faith who I am told suffered through four incurable diseases which left her bed ridden and struggling with pain for more than thirty-five years of her life. Yet in all of this she has written to my estimation some very beautiful works. One of them being a poem called “Treasures”.
One by one He took them from me,
All the things I valued most,
Until I was empty-handed;
Every glittering toy was lost.
And I walked earth’s highways, grieving.
In my rags and poverty.
Till I heard His voice inviting,
“Lift your empty hands to Me!”
So I held my hands toward heaven,
And He filled them with a store
Of His own transcendent riches,
Till they could contain no more.
And at last I comprehended
With my stupid mind and dull,
That God COULD not pour His riches
Into hands already full!
By: Martha Snell Nicholson
- We need to stand a watch to guard against the arrogance and subtitle craftiness of our enemies. (verse 11)
- There is strong evidence that we will face every sort of imaginable attack from Satan to destroy the building of faith. This strong evidence is suggested by the words “they said unto us ten times,” in verse 12. The warning has been repeated over and over again. Ten is the number for testimony which means indication, evidence, or proof. A supported claim.
- Just like Nehemiah the church needs to set (or place) the people in battle array to defend the faith.
- We need to make sure that the message is clearly understood that “we need to always be prepared for a battle.” (verse 13)
- Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Ephesians 6:10) We should never go to battle under our own strength. We are to be followers of Christ. We need to rely on the power and strength of Christ going before us to defeat the enemy. We need to be a champion for not only those of our own household, but for those that are of the household of God. (verse 14)
- We need to all work together plowing ahead to build the Church of God.(verse 16)
- We need prayer warriors to actively pray for the building and battling (contending) for our faith. (Jude 1:3)
- We need Pastors and Teachers to guide and instruct us in righteousness, and to watch out for our souls. (Hebrews 13:17)
- We need Deacons and Elders to carry out those tasks and ordinances that are needful in the church so that the building of the ministry is not hindered. (Acts 6: 1-7)
- All of us are called to take the gospel to the world to win souls. (Mark 16:15)
- All of us are to study our Bibles to show that we are a workman not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
- We are to work (keep plowing ahead) together in unity as a well structured and organized body of believers building and defending the faith. (verse 17)
- We are to always rely upon God’s Word as our weapon of defense.
When we do the work of faith for the ministry as a body of believers or as an individual we are to always be attentive to the warnings from those that watch over our souls (sounding of the Trumpet). You cannot avoid a fight if you are going to build a ministry. Conflicts will come and at those times we need to come together as a body of believers wherein we shall find direction by our Pastors and strength in the body as a whole through prayer. (verses 18-21)
ARE YOU PLOWING AHEAD?
Are you plowing ahead as a Christian or have you become complacent and callous? We all face the struggles of everyday life and the battle against sin. But as a part of the body of Christ we have a network of believers to pray for us and lift us up during those times of hardship and weakness. We can be made strong and given the encouragement that we need we can get back into the battle of faith.
Keep plowing ahead, plant your feet firmly on the battlefield and break up that fertile ground for soul winning. Sow the seed of hope to the lost, encourage them to accept God’s plan of salvation. Irrigate the field of souls with the water from the river of life, Christ’s shed blood. Pray to the Lord of the Harvest that there would be a great increase, and that many souls would be saved.
Are you beaten and battered from sin? Are you looking for refuge and rest for your soul? Then I invite you to kneel at the foot of the cross and gaze upon God’s sacrifice for you and all mankind. Gaze upon the one that paid your total sin debt by shedding His blood for you; He offers an invitation to you and to whosoever will that may come to Him seeking forgiveness. God is offering you and the world a precious free gift of salvation. All you need to do is reach out in prayer and take it.
Won’t you bow your head and pray this prayer by faith? Lord I know that I am a sinner. I am tired of the beatings that Satan has laid on me with sin. Please be merciful to me a sinner! I put my complete confidence and trust in you as my personal Lord and Savior. Please cleanse away my sin with the blood that you shed for me. I invite the Holy Spirit into my heart to guide me in the paths of righteousness. I too wish to have my faith stand firm on you “The Solid Rock” that I may fight the battle as a good soldier of the cross to win the souls of my family and friends for your glory and praise so that they too will be lifted from the road to perdition.
If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to wash away all of your sin with His blood, and to come into your heart to be your Savior, then we praise God for you.
You should write down the:
of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.
Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067 to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk.
Thank you, and may the Lord richly bless you!