By now if you having been hanging in there and following the Back 9 posts, you know we are almost done with our series on understanding the steps involved in reaching your God-designed “STRENGTH ZONE”. The one thing I can attest to is that on the FRONT 9 I lived in my created Strength Zone but sometimes lived outside of it. My plans for the BACK 9 are to NEVER depart from the Strength Zone of life.
We have covered much ground and have now reached the “N” in Zone. N is for NO! You cannot say yes to both man/world and to God. It has to be NO to man/world and Yes to God. Let’s examine two scriptures to understand exactly what it means to say NO to man.
Galatians 1:10, “Am I now trying to win the approval of man, or God? Or am I trying to please people. If I were still trying to please people, I would NOT be a servant of Christ.” And 1 Thessalonians 2:4, “On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.”
Both of these verses challenge us to be servants of Christ and not focus on seeking/winning the approval of man. God’s created “Strength Zone” for any Christian means to be on the “front lines,” just like a Navy Seal. It means denying self, to the point of doing the perfect, pleasing will of God and disregarding the “world.” This can ultimately mean “Standing alone, when there is no one else standing!” The great news? You may be standing alone humanly, but you have the Creator of the Universe standing with you! If you love God with all your heart, soul and mind, (Luke 10:27, Mark 12:30, Matthew 22:37 and Deuteronomy 6:5) then “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged……” Deuteronomy 31:8. In the book ,”The Lone Survivor,” it is clear that Marcus Luttrell, is living in his God-Created Strength Zone, he is left humanly alone, but God is with him and the he lays it out in his book, it will be very interesting in the next couple of weeks when the movie comes out, if Hollywood reveals how Marcus testifies to God and all that God does for him, I don’t won’t to spoil the movie, but super natural things happen that are God, All God, no doubt about it!.
It is so easy to get caught up in the “ebb and flow” of the world. We are bombarded with it! I have personally had to make some choices that would seem to be hard but actually have been very rewarding! Choices such as being careful and thoughtful about:
what I listen to (music),
what I watch (tv and movies),
what I think (taking every thought captive)……that has been one of the hardest…..paying careful attention to where I let my thoughts go!
I have had to lovingly confront and label what I see. I have also immersed myself in the written Word, great music, great books, and surrounded myself with sharp people (positive, Christian, smart, unselfish, humble and successful) and gotten very still before a Holy God. Saying NO to man/world in the last 6 years of my life has EXPLODED ME into my God-created Strength Zone in a way that words cannot adequately describe.
First and foremost…..it was the steps of Obedience in the z-O-n-e…….. and the N-NO…… that took me back to the ZONE where I had operated for many years in the Front 9, but had somehow wandered….away from! So much so, that I have dedicated the Back 9 of my life to sharing Christ, and using my spiritual gift of Encouragement to urge people of all ages to live, operate and enjoy their God-created “Strength Zone!” Rick Warren calls it your “Shape”!
We are not perfect in character, no not one of us—but we can be in the perfect position—–a position we can choose—-the position of choosing to say “YES” to God—–no better place to be.
What will you choose today? What actions will you take to make that choice? It comes down to this….we can choose to say NO to man/world and we can choose to say “YES” to God….or not. God gives us that choice!
Joshua 24:15, “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”