By Whitney Hopler, Crosswalk.com
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Dudley Rutherford’s new book Walls Fall Down: 7 Steps from the Battle of Jericho to Overcome Any Challenge (Thomas Nelson, 2014).
One of history’s greatest victories happened when faithful people followed God’s guidance during the battle of Jericho, and the city’s massive walls fell down so they could take the land he had promised them. Just as those ancient people marched around Jericho’s walls for seven days, the biblical story reveals seven spiritual principles that will help you today to overcome any type of obstacle you face in your own life – from your relationships to your finances.
Here are seven ways you can rely on God to help you break down and overcome the challenging obstacles that are standing in your way:
Focus on God’s power rather than on the size of your problem. No matter how big your “wall” seems as it looms over your life, be assured that you can shrink it down until it falls down completely when you trust God to help you overcome it. God is much larger than any obstacle you’ll ever face. So rather than look at the wall that’s standing in your way right now, look at God, who stands ready to help you overcome that obstacle. When you focus on how great God’s power is, you’ll be able to see your problem from the right perspective and gain the confidence to know that you can handle it with God’s help. Keep in mind that God – your Creator – knows every detail about what you’re going through, cares deeply about it, wants to help you, and is capable of doing anything to help. Choose to see your obstacle as an opportunity to cultivate your character and increase your faith while you trust God to lead you through the process of overcoming it.
Trust in God’s plan even when it doesn’t make sense. God’s plan for your life may seem unconventional and mysterious from your limited human perspective. But whenever you decide to trust God’s plan, you can count on God to deliver on his promise to bring all of your circumstances – even the toughest challenges – together to accomplish good purposes. God’s plan for your life is in your best interest, so choose to follow it faithfully by seeking God’s help to solve your problems rather than trying to solve them in your own limited strength. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you cast aside your fears by recalling God’s love during moments when you need courage to move forward with his plan for your life. The more you focus on God’s love, the less afraid you’ll feel. As God reveals his plan to you, simply follow it as well as you can day by day. Be willing to say “yes” to whatever God asks you to do – even when it doesn’t make sense – and you’ll make real progress overcoming your challenges.
See the supernatural in all situations and pursue holiness. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you recognize the extraordinary ways that God is working in all of the ordinary situations in your life. Every day, try to grow in holiness, because as you do you’ll become stronger and better able to overcome your challenges. Place your relationship with God at the center of your life and invite God to empower you as you practice spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Bible reading, and worshiping in church regularly. Approach your life each day with faithfulness and zeal to discover and fulfill God’s purposes for you, confident that God is with you every step of the way.
Surround yourself with other believers committed to the same goal. Other Christians who are also working to overcome their own challenges can lift up your spirit, remind you of the truth, and cheer you on toward achieving your goal. Choose to be in a culture of people who are committed to matters of eternal importance. Help each other set aside sin and disagreements to unite as pure people set apart for God’s plans.
Keep putting one step in front of the other consistently to make progress. Every day, choose to take whatever next steps the Holy Spirit leads you to take. Don’t give up when you’re frustrated that your progress is slower than you’d like it be. Instead, remind yourself that God works on an eternal timetable, and pray for the strength you need to be patient and persevere. Ask God to help you avoid becoming distracted, and to encourage you whenever you feel like quitting so you can carry on. Since consistent, faithful steps ultimately lead to victory, eventually every step you take will result in something worthwhile.
Usher in blessings by obeying God’s instructions every step of the way. Expect God to reward you for your faithful obedience along the journey of overcoming your challenges. When you obey God in small ways, God will lead you to a greater level of faith and responsibility, so that you’ll keep growing spiritually and be able to move forward to victory over the challenges in your life. Do whatever you sense God telling you to do – from staying in your marriage when you feel like giving up, apologizing to a friend you’ve hurt, or forgiving a friend who’s hurt you, to getting out of debt, giving more money to your local church, or moving to a different job that’s a better fit for you.
Get ready for a season of joy. Seek to learn all of the valuable lessons that God wants to teach you as your walls of challenges gradually break down, confident that at the end of your journey you’ll experience a season of joy. Notice the hopeful signs that God gives you along the way, and when you do, praise God for who he is and what he’s doing for you. It’s only a matter of time before God gives you a great victory!
Adapted from Walls Fall Down: 7 Steps from the Battle of Jericho to Overcome Any Challenge, copyright 2014 by Dudley Rutherford. Published by Nelson Books, an imprint of Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tn., www.thomasnelson.com.
Dudley Rutherford is the senior pastor of the 10,000-member Shepherd of the Hills Church, which the mayor of Los Angeles has called “the most racially diverse church in Los Angeles.” Dudley and his wife, Renee, and their three children reside in Porter Ranch (Los Angeles). His other published works are Unleashed: The Church Turning the World Upside Down, Proverbs in a Haystack, Romancing Royalty, and Keeping a Smile on Your Faith.
Whitney Hopler, who has served as a Crosswalk.com contributing writer for many years, is author of the Christian novel Dream Factory, which is set during Hollywood's golden age. She produced a site about angels and miracles for About.com. Now she writes about the power of thoughts on her “Renewing Your Mind” blog.