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Zip Code: Enduring in God’s Presence

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” Ephesians 6:10 ESV

When filling up my gas tank, when traveling out of state, there is a question the gas pumps asks me after I insert my credit card. “What is your zip code?” After identifying that the card that is being used is the one issued to me in my zip code, it allows me to purchase the fuel I need to keep going down the road to my destination. The same thing applies to receiving mail addressed to me. It must have my zip code. It identifies where I live, and I am able to receive the mail addressed to me. Your zip code is important and when it comes to spiritual warfare, it has everything to do with receiving the power to make it to your destination as well as God’s Word to remind you of your victory in Him.


"Tear down!" "Take up!" "Put on!" "Pray without ceasing!" "Go!" "Watch!" These are just a few of the commands we see in the Bible giving us direction as believers.  All of them good things to do. The one that nudged me to write this devotion is, "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might." We can be strong in a lot of things, but the one that truly matters is being strong in God and who God is, where God is. To be strong in the Lord is to live in His zip code.


This command comes from the section in Ephesians 6 entitled, "The Whole Armor of God". In spiritual warfare, this is a good command to pay attention to. In fact, looking at all the commands that I wrote at the beginning of this devotion, it would be good to do all of them. One thing that we will never escape on this side of heaven is the war against our flesh, hearts, and our minds. It's constant. The enemy never lets up. The struggle is real. It is the enemy’s goal, not just to overcome us, but to literally wear us down to the point that we give up or just simply stop paying attention.


I was reflecting on this during one of my struggling seasons where it seemed like the enemy was giving me all that he had. I was simply looking for rest because I was worn out. I was tired of the constant drip of conflict. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually empty inside, and I asked God how I can keep going when it seems like every time I turn around there is a battle, or a decision to be made that will affect me and others. Can I just simply find those green pastures and still waters and rest? 


In my many experiences of pressing seasons in my adult life, I have learned that when I begin to feel like this, I have a decision to make. I can live in my struggle, or I can live in God’s zip code. I can continue to feel sorry for myself and look for the vacation away from it all, or I can turn to the one where I can find shelter. That doesn't necessarily take away the conflict or the decisions to make, but simply gives me the power, the stamina, the strength to continue to move forward in my life with Jesus. 


This does not come from me doing more of the commands in my flesh. This comes when I choose to abide in the shelter of the Most High. I stay in His zip code. I'm amazed at what God can do through me and for me when I come to rest in His presence while at the same time doing the tasks that need to be done in the season I find myself in. Notice Paul says to be strong in the Lord. The keyword there is "in". I am reminded of the Lord's prayer and the part where it says that God prepares a table for me in the midst of my enemies. It is at His table where I find His rest. It is at His table where I find my nourishment. And it is at His table where the conflict continues, but it is His strength that keeps me strong to endure the trial at hand. The battles that I face and the seasons of hardship that come my way are designed by the enemy to take me out. But it is these same seasons that God uses to bring me close to him. The key to victory is choosing what zip code I choose to live in . 


How often in the middle of our difficult times in life do we choose to isolate ourselves and live in our own strength? I do it all the time until I catch myself worn out, complaining about everything, stressed to the max, and wondering why no one understands where I am. And it is here when I can sit still long enough to hear God say to me, "Be strong in Me!" "Tear down!" "Take up" "Put on!" in the Zip Code of the Lord.  The power of the battle I face is determined by the ZIP Code I choose to face the battles in. 


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