We begin our study and discussion of chapters 5 & 6 today in Without Rival by Lisa Bevere.
So, how are you handling your rival??? If you don’t think that you have one today just wait, for it’s there but hasn’t shown its ugly face – yet. Rivals live where humans live, at work, in church and yes even in our homes.
Whether you are struggling with not being heard, not being understood or not being treated well, you have a choice. I know we don’t always feel like “counting it all joy” when our rivals are kicking the doors in, but rivals are placed in our lives for good reason. God uses our rivals to teach us about ourselves, to expose those corners of our spiritual house that are off-limits. I like how Lisa puts it, “rivals expose our junk”. No one is immune to the influence of rivals. They transcend the full spectrum of humanity, irrespective of social status or spiritual stature. The Apostle Paul himself spoke in his letters of his struggles he was facing in dealing with his rivals.
Open your spiritual eyes and you will see what’s really going on around you. “For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12, NLT) Discipline yourself to respond to the challenges that rivals pose by running straight to God for strategy from heaven. And yes, I know it can be difficult but we are daughters of an unrivalled God who will use every opportunity to teach us to be more like Him. When Joseph addressed his brothers long after they betrayed him he portrayed unconditional dependence on God to carry him through the trials that life had dealt him: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good. . . ” (Gen. 50:20, NKJV)
The rivals I’ve had in my life have taught me about my insecurities and weaknesses but also reinforced in my spirit the need for dependence on the Holy Spirit. And in those times God used people that I would not have naturally chosen to be in my life to help mature me in order to be used for His purposes.
We can walk through each day being used by God to love those around us. And when we run up against difficulty we can run and hide or have the courage to stand in such a way that demonstrates His character, for it’s in His character that we find the strength to persevere, to overcome, to the praise and glory of His name!
Please choose one of the questions from our conversation cafe and answer it in the comment section below!
- What has a rival shown you about yourself?
- Have you changed perspective on your rivals changed?